Hello everyone! Hope July is treating you better than it is me. I have slipped up with my blogging schedule yet again, but I’ll definitely try to make up for that from now on. Today I have got an exciting blog post lined up – my contribution to the Spin the Dawn Blog Tour organised by Caffeine Book Tours, managed by Shealea @ Shut Up, Shealea. I could not have been more grateful to hear that I was chosen for the blog tour and would like to thank my lucky stars and Shealea for the opportunity! I have decided to talk about my favourite book covers of the year and, as is my brand, will be featuring the best from Asian books that released in 2019. I also have a small review up at the beginning before I dive into my list and I really hope you enjoy! A more elaborate review in my usual style will be up on my blog soon and I will be linking it here when I have posted it.
Spin the Dawn weaves the tale of Maia, the most skilled tailor in her kingdom and her adventures as she sets out to become the Master Tailor of A’landi. This has the classic girl-disguised-as-a-boy trope but it subverts it beautifully and I really enjoyed that aspect of the story. The plot is richly layered with plenty of subplots that were handled skilfully – court politics, mythology, magic and romance. It was a book that held my interest from beginning to finish and I sacrificed a large amount of my sleep to finish it off within 24 hours. I’m a sucker for stories that involve some element of travel and magical quests, so this satisfied my craving for more such stories. As an Asian, I loved seeing the influence of Chinese culture and role on this narrative. Overall, I really enjoyed the book and would urge anyone looking for a diverse, unique fantasy to pick it up! For my detailed review, check out this post (link to come).
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.
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.
About the Author
Elizabeth Lim grew up on a hearty staple of fairy tales, myths, and songs. Her passion for storytelling began around age 10, when she started writing fanfics for Sailor Moon, Sweet Valley, and Star Wars, and posted them online to discover, “Wow, people actually read my stuff. And that’s kinda cool!” But after one of her teachers told her she had “too much voice” in her essays, Elizabeth took a break from creative writing to focus on not flunking English.
Over the years, Elizabeth became a film and video game composer, and even went so far as to get a doctorate in music composition. But she always missed writing, and turned to penning stories when she needed a breather from grad school. One day, she decided to write and finish a novel — for kicks, at first, then things became serious — and she hasn’t looked back since.
Elizabeth loves classic film scores, books with a good romance, food (she currently has a soft spot for arepas and Ethiopian food), the colour turquoise, overcast skies, English muffins, cycling, and baking. She lives in New York City with her husband.
Blog Tour Schedule
The Prize: Finished hardcover copies of Spin the Dawn to three lucky winners (thanks to Knopf Books for Young Readers)
There will be an exclusive giveaway for Twitter chat participants, so don’t forget to tune in tomorrow!
Let’s get to all the visual goodness I promised in the intro. There have been so many amazing book covers this year that look magnificent with Asian art or illustrations and photos of Asian people front and centre that they make my Asian heart burst with joy! While I slightly prefer illustrated, artsy covers over those with actual people, I love how this kind of representation is becoming more mainstream and will change so many readers’ lives forever from a tender age.
1. Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim
I would be lying if I said that part of the reason I was drawn to this book wasn’t because of the gloriously detailed and stunning cover of this book. It immediately arrests the eye and represents the story very well, so this gets a 10/10 for cover design from me.
2. Descendant of the Crane by Joan He
Another beautifully illustrated cover that screams Asian fantasy and has an unusual colour that jumps out from the rest. This was another book that intrigued me because of its cover and is just as gorgeous on the inside.
3. The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad
I have had to stop myself several times from just ordering this book on a whim and break my book buying ban. The fantasy fan in me finds these kinds of covers irresistible and I’ve heard such rave reviews that I’m itching to pick it up!
4. The Dragon Republic by R. F. Kuang
The overall design is minimalist yet striking, with a lot of intricate details in the illustration. There is something so different and bold about this fantasy cover that leaves an impression on the mind.
5. Game of Stars by Sayantani DasGupta
Yes to more brown girl representation on fantasy covers, especially in kidlit books! Sayantani continues to be blessed by the book covers gods with another eye-catching and appealing cover for the second book in her excellent series for a middle grade audience.
6. There’s Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon
Sandhya Menon’s books have all had some of the most aesthetically pleasing and distinctly Indian covers but Sweetie outshines them all. Not only is there fat rep but it looks so good with the riot of colour and perfectly captures the essence of the story!
7. Ruse by Cindy Pon
Another cover with an Asian girl that also looks absolutely fabulous and stays true to the genre of the book! Sci-fi books very rarely feature POC on the covers but this series has some of the best futuristic-looking designs I’ve seen.
Are you looking forward to the release of Spin the Dawn? What other Asian fantasies would you recommend? Which diverse book covers of 2019 have appealed to you the most? Let’s discuss in the comments section below!