Spin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars #1)

Content Overview

Overall Content



Alcohol, Drugs, Smoking


Intimacy, Sex, Immodesty


Violence, Weapons, Blood, Crime


Potentially Intense Themes


**As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. 

Spin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars #1)

Elizabeth Lim

Project Runway meets Mulan in this sweeping YA fantasy about a young girl who poses as a boy to compete for the role of imperial tailor and embarks on an impossible journey to sew three magic dresses, from the sun, the moon, and the stars.

Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she’ll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There’s just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.

Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia’s task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise.

And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor’s reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.

Steeped in Chinese culture, sizzling with forbidden romance, and shimmering with magic, this young adult fantasy is pitch-perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas or Renée Ahdieh.

-Excerpt taken from Goodreads.

Check Goodreads to see the book’s ratings.

My Opinion

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5) Mulan is one of my faves. From her ability to blend in with the guys, to holding her own then showing up the guys! What a girl. 

This had minimal comparisons to the movie. There are instances of dressing and hiding her gender, as well as trying to act like a man but very few similarities past that.

I didn’t love Maia as much as I would’ve liked. She was not a protagonist I rooted for. She didn’t hold my attention. Eden was more interesting but we learned so little about him that his character development was lacking. I would’ve liked more on him. However, I believe little info was on purpose and I expect more from him in book 2.

The romance seemed to start abruptly before I realized there were enough feelings to pursue each other. He felt much older and more mature which is why I think it felt out of place.

The book was terribly long. Longer than it needed to be. It didn’t feel like the tough Mulan we all love. I wish there would’ve been more scenes that made me admire her but I found myself growing bored. It was an entertaining read but it was not enough for me to continue with the series. 

Detailed Content Review







D***- 2


Religious Cursing





Derogatory terms etc-

Demons breath is used as a curse. 

Alcohol, Drugs, Smoking

Men get very drunk and vomit the next morn. 

A group drinks wine. A young woman drinks and likes that she doesn’t worry so much. She gets drunk. 

Intimacy, Sex, Immodesty

*No LGBTQ+ aspects included*

A young woman’s brothers joke about her being the emperor’s concubine. Later, a man asks if she’d like to be one? He could put her on a list. 

A man touches a young woman’s thigh and asks if he can have a kiss. 

A young woman’s chest bandage (to hide her breasts) is exposed when they pop her shirt open. Guards rip her shirt and bandages off to whip her. She tries to keep her chest covered. 

A man kisses a young woman. He rakes his hands through her hair.

A man kisses a young woman and each freckle on her face. They spend their days kissing while riding on horseback. 

A man jokes about having 8 children as he kisses a young woman. 

A young woman unbuttons a man’s shirt and the man kisses her. She places her hand on his chest and kisses his neck. She takes his shirt off. They kiss, exploring with tongues. They lie down “flesh upon flesh” and “melted into each other.” No more details, sex is implied.

Men say lewd words and make kissing noises at a young woman. A man comes behind her and covers her mouth, pulling her hair down to him. “Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve felt a woman?” 

A man kisses a young woman. She wraps her legs around him as he lifts her up and he kisses her face, neck and breasts. 

A young woman kisses a man. 

Violence, Weapons, Crime, Blood

A man brings a heavy object down on a young woman’s hand, breaking it. She passes out. 

It is rumored that a man poisoned and killed another man. 

A young woman is sentenced to 40 lashes of whipping, then to be hanged. Guards kick her and hit her then chain her to the wall. They lash and she screams and almost passes out many times. 

A young woman sees an old battlefield with swords and bones littering it. Bodies still have arrows sticking out of them. She respectfully looks over a body of one soldier.

Many men attack two people. The man shoots an arrow and kills two. Arrows are shot at them. 

A young woman sees a man slowly form into a demon with claws and red eyes. It grabs her by the neck and threatens to give her over to more demons. She stabs him.

A man shoots 3 men, killing them. 

A man holds a knife to a young woman’s throat. She twists out, jabbing him with her elbow and knees him in groin. A man shoots a man. A man holds a sword to a young woman. She stabs him in the thigh. 

Dozens of ghosts attack men, “folding over them” until their screams stopped. 

Potentially Intense Themes

A family gets notice their sons have been killed in the war. Another comes home paralyzed with “ghosts in his eyes.”

A young woman tries to escape a room that is on fire. 

A pack of wolves attacks a young woman. She climbs up a tree as they bite at her. Then they tear into each other, blood covering them. 

Birds attack many men. 

**As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. 


  1. You know – sometimes I wish they would just stop comparing books to other books & movies. Most of the time it’s not accurate anyway. I have seen so many positive reviews of this – thanks for writing yours 🙌🏻

  2. I completely agree with this review! I guess it’s similar to the Mulan story but I didn’t realize it was supposed to be some kind of retailing

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