Elizabeth Lim’s 2019 Spin the Dawn is the first volume in her Blood of Stars series.
Master Tailor Tamarin had four children; he expected his sons, at least, to become tailors as well. But his three sons have no talent or taste for tailoring. Now, his daughter Maia would make a fine tailor — if she weren’t a woman. In the Empire of A’landi, women are considered unsuited for anything save marriage and motherhood. Her role in the family business is both vital and never publicly acknowledged.
Master Tamarin is shattered by grief when his wife dies. Two of his sons die in the on-going civil war. One returns home, lame and broken. When the imperial court summons Master Tamarin or his deputy to serve the court, there is no male to send. But if no one reports, the whole family will be punished harshly.
Maia has the skills and the courage to act. She disguises herself as her brother Keton and travels to Emperor Khanujin’s court.
Maia has misunderstood the nature of the court position available.