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.
When I was growing up I loved to watch the Disney movie Mulan over and over again. When this book was compared to a Mulan retelling with fabric and fashion I was really intrigued.
The book started off interesting enough with the main character Maia trying to make it in a world where only men can be masters of their craft. She has heart and drive to take care of her family while her brothers go off to fight in the war. What does one do when all the men are gone to war and there is only a female left to be the namesake of the family business?
Maia steps up to dress as a man in order to have the honor of trying to become the master tailor for the emperor. She works hard to impress with her fashion choices and sewing abilities but there is more going on than she realizes. The story starts off with a competition between different tailors but soon turns into more than that when Maia is challenged to make three wedding dresses for the emperor’s new bride. From this point on in the story we get to go on an adventure to try to capture the sun, moon and stars.
I have to say that I did like Maia because I found her to be fierce but loving, she was a good main character. While I really enjoyed the first half of the book, the rest of the book wasn’t really to my taste. I have read a lot of fantasy/adventure books this year and I’m just getting a little tired of the quest for power idea. I expected something a bit different from this book. So while the magic was interesting and I really liked Maia I just didn’t like the adventure parts of this story. Going around in deserts, forests and old palaces just doesn’t interest me anymore. If you are looking for an adventure book I would say this is a fair one that many will appreciate and have fun with. It also leaves room for the series to grow which is appreciated.