, 400 pages Expected publication: July 30th 2019 by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
This was seriously the best surprise ever. I didn’t have high hopes of being approved to get such an anticipated novel, so I resigned myself to sobbing into a printed out copy of this cover. I mean, look at this COVER!
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for allowing to read this in advance and let you all know about this stunning debut novel. They made it so I did not have to sob into paper any longer.
This novel follows Maia, who is the daughter of a tailor and a pretty good tailor in her own right. When the chance to work in the royal palace comes to her door, she impersonates one of her brothers in her sick father’s stead. This is where the Mulan similarity comes in. Once she arrives, she discovers that she has actually to compete to win the title of the imperial tailor. This is where the Project Runway aspect comes in.
And then it becomes it’s very own story.
The first half is what the pitch described. We have competition. We have a girl disguised as a boy. But wait…oh wait. Maia has some magic scissors, yo, and grapples with using them to create the clothing the would-be-queen wants. And just when you think the love interest is going to be obvious…I am suddenly GOD SMACKED.
The second half is almost an entirely different book, which I loved. I felt like I was getting two in one. Maia sets off on a journey with someone (I won’t say who because I am not about that spoilers stuff) and learns that she may not be who she thought she was. Holy crap, this half of the book was intense and filled with so much action and so much romance; I was drooling onto my Kindle. I was utterly shocked at the turns Elizabeth Lim took me through. Make more books like this and I shall fill my shelf with them.
This story took me by surprise. I was expecting something cool and ended up with something extraordinary. Lim’s writing is fluid and easy to read. There were next to no info dumping and flowery descriptions that made me want to roll my eyes. It was all so perfect. The character of Maia was determined and prone to faults but knew just when to make amends with that and move the eff on with life. She reminded me a lot of Fallon from The Valiant series; strong and devoted.