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.
I think the magic scissors is what drew me to this book. While I don’t sew myself, I am always awed at what sewing can create. And adding magic to that just makes it 10x cooler haha.
This book is fast. So much happens in such a short amount of time. I thought the whole book would be about the competition between the tailors who were competing, but that section is only about a third of the book! While I feel like this could have been stretched out in 2 books, maybe even 3, it didn’t read squished or rushed. It felt natural. I would have liked for some things to have been slowed down and looked at a little more closely. I think at some instances the message of the situation was buried under the fact that a whole big thing happens in around two pages. I would have liked certain world elements to be explored more and for certain situations to have been more center stage.
I did enjoy the romance aspect, though I did feel like it was rushed. Maia and her love interest didn’t interact very much, but I felt like the story just assumed they had enough development and put them together. I think this could have be caused by the hazy passage of time. Months pass over the course of the book, but it doesn’t really feel like it. I wouldn’t have been surprised if had found out that the book had only taken place over the course of a few days. Their development was mostly through small lines telling the reader that they talked a lot during their journey. I just would have liked to see more.
The world building was really unique. I haven’t seen a magic system quite like this. It’s very restricting, which I’m not used to seeing. The world was easy to get to know. It’s explained in such a way where your given little snippets here and there, but they all fall into place and everything comes together nicely.
I feel in love with Maia’s character. She was wonderful. She made such big sacrifices and I really, really felt for her. She knows what she wants and her world is doing everything in it’s power to keep it from her. She was strong, passionate, and loving.
I really, really loved the sewing aspect of this. I’m a sucker for pretty clothes, even if I don’t particularity enjoy wearing them haha. And while the focus is more on the creation of them, everything about it was so gorgeous and easy to picture!
While I would have liked for this book to be spread out a bit more, I still really, really loved it! The world was easy to be in and the characters were incredible to get to know!
Thank you for reading!