The kingdom is at war, and her brothers must go fight. Maia is left alone with her father, as her mother died when she was young. As her father is ailing, he cannot work and thus, they would starve. Maia instead takes on the work, running the shop and doing the tailoring. The war is barely ended with peace won by the emperor agreeing to marry the daughter of his rival. When the imperial tailor dies, Maia’s father is called to the imperial city to work for the emperor, based on some work Maia had done with her skill. Instead, Maia poses as her brother, Keton, and travels in his stead.
Once she arrives, she enters a contest with eleven other men who will compete at difficult tasks to become the imperial tailor. The competition is high stakes with short time allotments and increasingly strange requests (much like PROJECT RUNWAY)- as well as competitors who are willing to sabotage and maybe even murder to win. Reluctantly aided by the scissors gifted to her from her father and the imperial enchanter, Edan, Maia is eager to prove herself and her skills to win the competition.
However, her trials are soon to become even more difficult when the bride-to-be requests dresses of legend that would require Maia to undergo impossible tasks and face incredible odds to create them- but the alternative is too terrible to imagine.
What I loved: The world and character building in the book are incredible. Maia leaps off the page, as do the many other characters that appear- her family and the people at the imperial court- they are all so beautifully crafted that they are easy to imagine. With lyrical prose, this world blooms before our eyes as Maia must compete and then accomplish the impossible.
With the addition of a forbidden romance, this book completely enchanted me from start to finish. I loved it at the expense of sleep, and I have absolutely no regrets. With feminism, adventure, danger, and sacrifice, this book is simply gorgeous. The plot is unbelievably engrossing, and the writing style is simply perfect. Information is revealed in a seamless way to keep the reader engaged without bogging down any part of the story with details. With magic, myths, and romance, this book is other-worldly amazing.
Final verdict: Fans of Sarah J. Maas, Renee Ahdieh, Rae Carson, and Sabaa Tahir will revel in this incredible new YA fantasy. I highly recommend for anyone of any age looking for an extraordinary read. This book builds a new world and characters who quickly intrigued me and became close to my heart- readers will not regret picking up this gorgeously lyrical and lush YA fantasy/adventure!