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The Hidden Blade

(The Heart of Blade Duology #1)

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  1,076 ratings  ·  164 reviews
In the waning days of the last dynasty, in a quiet, beautiful corner of imperial Peking, a young girl's blissful ignorance is shattered when she learns that she is the illegitimate daughter of an English adventurer and a Chinese courtesan. What future is there for such a girl? But a mysterious figure steps forward and offers to instruct her in the highest forms of martial ...more
ebook, 350 pages
Published July 20th 2014 by Sherry Thomas
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Heidi J. If anything, I would recommend reading MY BEAUTIFUL ENEMY first. MY BEAUTIFUL ENEMY is a standalone - I read it first and fell completely in love with…moreIf anything, I would recommend reading MY BEAUTIFUL ENEMY first. MY BEAUTIFUL ENEMY is a standalone - I read it first and fell completely in love with it. THE HIDDEN BLADE fills in the backstories of the characters, which are fascinating and heart-shattering in their own right.(less)

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3.90  · 
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 ·  1,076 ratings  ·  164 reviews

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Boom. Favorite shelf. This book...WOW.
Jan 01, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-releases
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

The Hidden Blade by Sherry Thomas
Book One of The Heart of Blade duology
Publication Date: July 20, 2014
Rating: 3 stars
Source: eARC from NetGalley

Summary (from Goodreads):

In the waning days of the last dynasty, in a quiet, beautiful corner of imperial Peking, a young girl's blissful ignorance is shattered when she learns that she is the illegitimate daughter of an English adventurer and a Chinese courtesan. What future is there for such a girl? But a
Jul 31, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 Star Review: The Hidden Blade by Sherry Thomas

Often I don’t find myself that pulled towards short stories or novellas, but Sherry Thomas completely captured my attention while reading The Hidden Blade.

“You don’t know men. The pain of death never stopped any man from sniffing roadside blossoms.”
Ying-ying turned on her side and rammed an elbow toward Amah’s solar plexus. “Then I will kill him in truth.”

It reminded me a lot of Wu Xia films like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. There’s actua
Nenia ✨ Literary Garbage Can ✨ Campbell

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I'm supposed to be working on a major assignment right now that's due tomorrow and then going to bed, because I have to wake up at 3:00AM for an overnight shift at work, but I haven't done any of that because I've been too busy reading this book.

THE HIDDEN BLADE is a genre-defying novel, which is the only explanation I can comprehend for why this only has 600 ratings instead of 6,000. BLADE is being tagged as a romance, but the love in thi
Lauren Stoolfire
I wouldn't exactly say that historical romance is my go to genre, but The Hidden Blade by Sherry Thomas really surprised me. As it turns out, it was exactly up my alley - think Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon meets Downton Abbey. I particularly enjoyed getting to know her cast of characters as they face the challenges coming to them. Both Ying-ying and Leighton are equally fascinating and are equally well-developed as they each feel like they could walk right off of the page. The diversity in thi ...more
Wicked Incognito Now
This novella is dubbed as a prequel to Sherry Thomas's new novel My Beautiful Enemy. The release date tomorrow (August 5, 2014), so I decided I needed to read this "prequel."

I was astounded to discover that this is actually almost novel length at 272 pages, much longer than most novellas. Also, this prequel doesn't tell the story of the main characters' parents, but the backstory of the main characters themselves. In fact, this prequel reads more like Part I of an epic romance novel--the kind o
3.5 stars (I would’ve given a solid 4 stars to this if only I hadn’t been so bored for most of the first half.)

Despite this being very YA (almost middle-grade at times), this story managed to feel quite grand and epic in nature, spanning the globe from England to China.

It’s a prequel to My Beautiful Enemy, which follows the hero and heroine throughout their respective childhoods. Their lives are told via two completely separate storylines, with a connecting thread that develops later in the sec

You know how some book's synopsis sometimes seem to have been "changed at birth", when you compare them with the actual book?
Well, not this one! ;)
This story really is a mix of "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon" with "Downton Abbey", or some other Regency inspired series.
I loved "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon"!
Downton Abbey? Well I have seen some episodes, but I am not crazy about it.

In this tale the author gives us the background of the main character's lives who will "star" in "My beautiful en
Dec 13, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. An interesting book that had kind of a YA feel. There is virtually no romance in it, however the two characters who grow up throughout this book apparently do have a romance together in the sequel, My Beautiful Enemy, which I do intend to read.

We follow two parallel stories - a clever and likeable English boy, Leighton, who is bullied and mistreated by a nasty uncle. And Ying-ying, a half-Chinese half-English girl. She is the daughter of a beautiful Chinese concubine. Her father is no
Aug 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical

What a wonderful, wonderful book!

Pay attention: this is not a romance novel! The hero and the heroine NEVER meet! But still it is wonderful , wonderful tale of courage, love and friendship!

I found particularely interesting the setting in China with all the ritualistic ceremony, behaviour, strange habits.

I loved both the hero, Leighton, and the heroine, Ying Ying (Cathrine)!

Leighton because he was so serious, so clever for a boy his age. Also his understanding and non-judgement towards his
Aug 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hr-european
Absolutely beautiful. Loved the characters, the side characters, the setting.

Dec 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book was obviously a prequel, but it had such lovely writing and so many feels that I loved it. Both were kids but surrounded by so much suffering. Some people skipped it but if you want to understand why they are like this in the next book, you need to read this. It had a lot of heartbreak but that's life for you..

Definitely recommend it if you're feeling like reading something different than the typical HR. Don't know anything about chinese culture and wuxia so don't know if Sherry Thomas
John Hennessy
I was recommended this book having read the author's Luckiest Lady in London (review to come at some point!) but also because the one recommending it to me knew I had a background in martial arts, to put it mildly.

Sherry Thomas has a writing style that I can only believe creates a sense of sheer wonder for readers, but partial envy for other authors who read her works. Truly, this is an author who can craft a story with such style and panache, that sometimes you have to take a step back from wha
Jul 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Well. It's a mixed bag of good, mostly, I'd say.
That is, it feels like a mixed bag, with one part of the narrative as the young English guy on an adventure (which reminded me of AHorowitz's Alex Rider novels), and the other part as the young Chinese girl getting involved in a martial-arts-ish narrative.
The timescale is also grand; at times, the transition between paragraphs involves months or years, as well as tedious development occurring whenever a character's narration slips to the background
Aly is so frigging bored
Jul 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, historical
This was a bit depressing, but lovely nonetheless.
Oct 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
3.75 stars rounded up to 4
Wow. This is NOT a romance, but a full-length prequel to one. The heroine and hero never met. In spite of that I loved that this story was told.

I’ve always marveled at Sherry Thomas’s use of the English language and the fluidity by which she wielded it here in The Hidden Blade is nothing short of amazing. I was transported to China and England and India and wherever Leighton and Ying-ying went. She engaged all the senses - sight, sound, touch, taste, and yes, even smell.

Ms. Thomas writes with
I received this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Hidden Blade will take you on a journey from the exotic far east, Peking, to the lush countryside in England and lands in between. It is the odyssey of two young people in different countries with parallel lives of heart-ache, adversity, determination and desire for a better future.

Ying-ying learns the disturbing details of who her father was...not only is she illegitimate but the daughter of a foreign devil, an Englishman. Wha
Apr 11, 2015 rated it liked it
This book had so many great reviews on amazon I decided to give it a try since I love Sherry Thomas historical romances. This book was the longest prequel without a plot I have ever read. It should have been reduced to a novella to introduce the backgrounds on the characters which was the sole purpose of the book. I usually devour books. I love binge reading but I had to force myself to keep coming back to this book day after day until I finished it. The only reason I continued to read was so th ...more
Ahhhhhh! AHHHHHHH!
More coherent review later, it's 12:30 AM and I've just read the entire story in one sitting.
Aug 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
So this was a little slow but it was good. As others have said it did have an epic feel to it. It spanned over years revolving around the main characters from the second book as children with all the tragedies that obviously changed their course in life. All of these events leads to a connection that was this amazing twist of fate. And that connection, (view spoiler)

Ying-Ying's story focused on her secret training in martial arts wh
Aug 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing

For those of you who have been a fan of Sherry Thomas's historical romances and for those of you who love her for her YA fantasy this is the best of both worlds.

The Hidden Blade is a YA historical adventure spread across England and China, and it's gorgeous! On one side there is a quiet British boy, Leighton Atwood, whose dad commits suicide shamed and blackmailed for his love of another man, Herb. Leighton is suddenly taken away from a loving, carefree family and put into care
Aug 29, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
The beginning of this book was tough to get through. The book is divided between Ying-Ying who lives in China and Leighton who lives in England. Both are children in this book, which is a prequel to a Regency romance where they meet as adults. After the 25% mark, it got better and easier to read.

Slight spoilers ahead.

The ending was a bit too "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" for me. Not bad, but I flipped past all of it. Also, what's up with the dumb white guy who doesn't know when to stay inside
Jun 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
I was reluctant to read it, not sure if what I enjoyed about Sherry Thomas's historical romances would translate well into another genre. And yet, it was fun in a very different way. This novel is odd on a certain level (perhaps in part because I kept expecting certain things to happen in this book, and nope, that's the sequel, I'd been misled by blurbs!), but none more so than because much like the author combines some elements of YA and romance here (it is a prequel to the romance, right?), sh ...more
❀Aimee❀ Just one more page...
We begin with two children, a boy in England and a girl in China with very different lives. Readers quickly learn how both are initially living sheltered from the reality of their family lives. When they are awakened from their naivety, circumstances shatter each their lives.

In their own way, each uses their own ingenuity to find a way to survive in their difficulties. They each find people in their lives to mentor them as they grow through their challenges.

Their worlds and circumstances, year
Christine Blackthorn
Aug 17, 2014 rated it did not like it
It is a very slow introduction to what will clearly be an intricate story of betrayal and adventure. I like series of books, I like intricate adventure - but I prefer if the first book in a series has an actual story. I waited each page for me to sink into the characters and the story to start. Aside from one instance when the young boy does something utterly honourable the characters left me cold. It says a lot when the end of a book promises you a look into the real action yet to come and you ...more

I know it's the prequel to My Beautiful Enemy but like, wow. (This could be a movie btw.)

Also CW: suicide of secondary character at beginning of book
A Reader's Heaven
(I received a free copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.)

In the waning days of the last dynasty, in a quiet, beautiful corner of imperial Peking, a young girl's blissful ignorance is shattered when she learns that she is the illegitimate daughter of an English adventurer and a Chinese courtesan. What future is there for such a girl? But a mysterious figure steps forward and offers to instruct her in the highest forms of martial arts--a path to a life of strength and
May 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
What beautiful storytelling!

Don’t know how to describe this book without somehow doing it an injustice. So I’ll try anyway.

Officially this is book 1 in a historical romance duology. What that comes down to is that this first book is basically a heartwrenching prologue in which we follow the hero and heroine in their youth in which they both Suffer with a capital S. The hero grows up in England, the heroine in China. Both the descriptions of their lives, especially the setting in China is amazin
3.5 out of 5 stars. This book contains Sherry Thomas' usual beautiful and lyrical writing. I found Leighton's story heart rending. I found Ying-Ying's story not quite as emotionally compelling, but it was also interesting and engaging, and I wanted to see how her situation was resolved as well. I did love that she was being trained to be a martial arts adept so that she could take care of herself as a lone - and poor woman - with no family to protect her in the waning days of Imperial China. The ...more
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Mar 20, 2015 07:09AM  

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Because actual world domination is too much trouble, USA Today-bestselling author Sherry Thomas decided that her goal is life is to write every kind of book she enjoys reading. Thus far she has published romance, fantasy, mystery, and a wuxia-inspired duology. Her books regularly receive starred reviews and best-of-the-year honors from trade publications, including such outlets as the New York Tim ...more

Other books in the series

The Heart of Blade Duology (2 books)
  • My Beautiful Enemy (The Heart of Blade Duology, #2)