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The Bird and the Blade

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  2,001 ratings  ·  541 reviews
As a slave in the Kipchak Khanate, Jinghua has lost everything: her home, her family, her freedom … until the kingdom is conquered by enemy forces and she finds herself an unlikely conspirator in the escape of Prince Khalaf and his irascible father across the vast Mongol Empire. On the run, with adversaries on all sides and an endless journey ahead, Jinghua hatches a schem ...more
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published June 5th 2018 by Balzer + Bray
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4.04  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,001 ratings  ·  541 reviews

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Emily May
Jan 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
“Should you fail to answer correctly each riddle by the end of seven minutes, you shall forfeit your life. Do you understand?”

Mongolian fantasy with ghosts and riddles, anyone?

Well, this was pretty damn fascinating! I've been putting this book off because I've been so disappointed with almost every YA fantasy novel I read lately, but this was like nothing I've read before. It's a strange and stunning combination of the Mongol Empire, the Italian opera Turandot, and Persian fairy tales.

I shoul
Aug 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
wow. thank goodness this is a standalone, because i dont know if my heart will ever recover from that ending.

i randomly picked this up at the library because (1) i saw it on a recent GR list and (2) the font was big, meaning i could speed read through it and if i didnt like it, no real time wasted. so imagine my surprise when i found myself taking my time with this, soaking up every word. because this story felt like a gift - one i didnt want to take for granted.

this story was rich with histori

ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

“Now, cold and exhausted, a girl disguised as a boy, tottering after the losing end of a battle, I have to second-guess that assessment. It seems to me that I’ve made some choices—some very bad choices—that have led me to this moment.”

The Bird and the Blade is a completely enthralling and heart-breaking YA fantasy debut. I enjoyed this so much, and I was completely teleported and captivated every time I opened this
Aug 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Hamad by: Becky
This review and other non-spoilery reviews can be found @The Book Prescription

“God does not judge you according to your appearance and your wealth, but He looks at your heart and looks into your deeds”

🌟 So I haven’t heard a lot about this book, I thought for a moment that it wasn’t even out because it does not get the hype it deserves. I saw Becky talking about this many times in her posts which I am thankful for. I considered this a recommendation and went into it not knowing much.

🌟 Then I saw
3.5 stars.

This is a retelling of Turandot.

An opera, ladies and gentlemen.

That’s a first for me. I read retellings of fairytales often enough to consider it one of my favourite genres, but I admit I know nothing about operas.

But that’s okay. You can still understand the story perfectly. And I did. It really isn’t that complicated. The setting is original and the culture different, but it comes down to kings (‘‘kahns’’) fighting for power and a certain prince who wants to save his and his father
may ❀
while everyone else is having a 'spooky' or 'haunted' themed month in october, im going more for the puffy-eyed, runny-nose aesthetic with my 'crying' theme

so far its going great 🙂

4.5 stars
Sylvia Mercedes
I knew I was going to love this book. I just knew it. I mean, unless the actual writing turned out to be subpar, there was simply no way this book wasn't going to be a favorite.

But . . . even though I knew I was going to love this book . . . I HAD NO IDEA JUST HOW MUCH I WOULD LOVE THIS BOOK.

Here's the thing--I was an honest-to-goodness outcast in high school. Not because I was rebellious or reclusive or anything. Mostly it was because I just didn't like the right things. Even the other outcas
Jan 25, 2018 rated it did not like it
EDIT: Originally, I did not rate this book anything. But after seeing the amalgam of 5 stars, I thought I'd put my #ownvoices review in here (as well as the fact that now I have to explain why I gave it this status in the first place). I'm happy you liked the book, if you did, but I don't need to be told how to read.

My full review of this can be found on Happy Indulgence, over here. This is a review not from an objective point of view, but from an #ownvoices reader who is Chinese and read about
Aug 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book. This book just took my heart and chewed it up and spit it out. I don't know how to go on from here. There is a hole in my chest where my heart used to be!!! I WAS NOT PREPARED FOR THIS!!! But omg it was soooooooo good. Love story for the ages.
I will write a full review here soon once I can get my emotions in check!
Full review can be found on my blog, here.

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Clemlucian (🏳️‍🌈the brooding villain)

“I thought I could guard my heart, but I might as well have tried to damn a river with a handful of pebbles.”

SYNOPSIS: Based on the play and opera Turendot, The Bird and The Blade tells the tragic story of a young slave of the name of Jinghua as she follows her young master in exile after his home is snatched away from him. Through their tumultuous travels, they both learn to know each other and eventually grow fond of each other. But they know that their affection is doomed from
Merphy Napier
Nov 14, 2018 rated it really liked it

I read this story just because I knew it was supposed to have a tragic end, for that, I was not disappointed. I think the ending of this book was brave and beautiful.

So this story is really a romance in a fantasy setting, the entire plot and driving storyline hinges on our MC's undying love for the man who owns her (she's a slave). I think the plot is very interesting and when the deeper elements of the story and the characters are revealed, I thought all that was done very well as well.

Apr 19, 2018 marked it as to-read
so what's with YA fantasy novels always being titled [random word] and [random word]. we have the wrath and the dawn, the rose and the dagger, and now the bird and the blade. if i had to describe myself using this format i'd say i'm The Sad and the Lazy
Cindy ✩☽ Savage Queen ♔
Can't tell if the synopsis implies a love triangle or not...
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Mlpmom (Book Reviewer)
Loved this so much! Review to come closer to release date.



I honestly can't remember the last time a book tore my heart out and stomped on it as hard as this one did.

I can't remember the last time I cried, truly cried and didn't want to stop because of the emotions that I felt not only all through this story, but especially at the end.

Oh my poor heart and soul. I may never be the same again.

Filled with beautifully rich history and a strange friendship that b
Vicky Who Reads
May 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs, favorites, wishlist
btw if you want some uber hilarious bonus content from the author on this book, check out this post

EDIT: after seeing some other reviews for this, I would like to note that I am #ownvoices for this and despite the ending, I really loved the book. For me, was a big metaphorical middle finger to white people by taking their opera and putting an all Asian cast in while still sticking so closely to the original narrative. So in short, I still loved it.

5 stars

This book has ruined me.

The standards fo
Ohhh wow I'm still in a daze from that ending! Sooooo good (although I'm sure a lot of people will beg to differ on that lol).

The storytelling style and pacing with the flashbacks totally worked for me with this one. I really liked it.

Something I REALLY didn't like though was the modern phrasing in some of the dialogue that felt super weird and out of place in this story. It was just really. . . weird.

Also, a lot of the humor missed the mark for me -- it was kinda corny. Like, I liked Timur's
Rachel E. Carter
Mar 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: to-buy-paperback
The kind of book I can only read once but will remember always. Wow.
The first thing you have to know about this book is that is a tragic love story IT WILL MAKE YOU CRY AT THE END AND IT WILL LEAVE YOU HEART BROKEN. And this is not a spoiler because you know this since the prologue. You know since page one that they won't have a happy ending.

Khalaf is a prince trying to save his kingdom and the only way he can do that is by marrying a powerful princess: Turandokht. But she has a rule, she won't accept a husband unless he can solve three riddles she invented her
May 19, 2018 marked it as abandoned
Recommends it for: Fans of The Wrath and the Dawn
Recommended to Tatiana by: kirkus
I've been very happy to see so many YA fantasies inspired by a multitude of different cultures and historical settings hit the shelves. I just wish more of them were written better.

Riddles and Mongol Empire and 12th century and Turandot - are all fascinating subject. But in the world of YA, as it often happens, they are underserved by average writing, superficial use of historical/cultural context and in the case of The Bird and the Blade - dull protagonist (a starry-eyed, smitten girl).

A Thou
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Gah this book made me cry. I loved the setting and characters soooo much! I honestly am not knowledgeable about the history (during -13th century and having to do with Mongol Empire) but this book led me to google. Plus, I really enjoyed reading the author’s notes!

TBatB is really beautifully written, fast paced and tense! Some of the language used is a bit modern but I loved this aspect because it helped me relate to the characters as well as had me laughing at parts. The characters are funny,
joanna ☽ the little brown fairy
ouch, there goes my heart. full review to come soon
Jul 22, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 1-star
The Mongols can keep their nasty cheese curds to themselves.
I wipe a ticklish strand of hair out of my face. Even caked in sweat and dust, the baby-fine wisps defy gravity.
He may once have ruled over his own sprawling piece of the Mongol Empire, but, from my perspective, he's just my grumpy old goat.
... dying feels imminent. It's breathing down my neck like an eager, wet puppy.
I pull Timur toward a food cart that wafts of duck-filled heaven.

Yeah, I can't with this writing. DNF @
Dani - Perspective of a Writer
Check out more reviews @ Perspective of a Writer...

Jinghua is a slave in the Kipchak Khanate… and the unlikely conspirator in the escape of Prince Khalaf and his father. Wanting to use the opportunity to return home this becomes increasingly hard as she falls hard for Khalaf. It’s made worse since he seeks to restore his kingdom by forging a marriage alliance with Turandokht, the daughter of the Great Khan. All suitors must solve 3 impossible riddles to win her hand—and if they fail, they die. W
Jeremy Martin
Jul 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Holy moly did I drink this up or WHAT. Megan Bannen is an author that I will be following very eagerly for the rest of her writing career. Which I hope is forever and ever.
Aug 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, favorites
I finished this last night and couldn't even have begun to get my thoughts together to write a review. I just stared at my wall and thought about this book inside my head for awhile. I am dead. This is the best book I've read this year. This is one of the best books I have ever read.

How is this the first book this author has written? How can someone write something this amazing? I wanted to keep reading but the book ended. Why did this book end?? I wasn't ready for it. How do I move on with my
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
DNF 65%
I can't do it, and let me say that my decision to set this book aside has nothing to do with the quality of writing, the premise, or world-building. Those are all incredibly well done, and I really have to give compliments to the voice. It's humorous and light and genuine, one of the best I've read in a while. The reason I am giving up is because I find the narrative to be very problematic.

This is a re-telling, or telling, of the opera Turandot. I am not familiar with the opera apart from
Apr 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
You know those books that grip you from the very beginning and just won't let go? Those books who have such captivating characters? Those books that you still think about even though you finished it a while ago? This is that kind of book.

As soon as I read the synopsis of this book, I knew it was going to be great, and I wasn't let down in the slightest. Even from the very beginning I was entranced and literally did nothing except read for an entire day. (no regrets)

Khalaf is such an intriguing
Heather (The Sassy Book Geek)
Review Originally Posted On The Sassy Book Geek

**** Thank you to Balzer + Bray for providing me with an ARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review ****

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I ended up enjoying “The Bird and the Blade”, it’s a more subtle YA Fantasy but packed a lot of punch nonetheless. And it is more YA Fantasy than Historical Fiction since there are some more fantastical elements and this isn’t supposed to be an accurate retelling of history, historical figures, or
Dec 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-reads
Actual Rating: 4.25 stars

Well, this book is going to haunt me for a while. It was a gut-wrenching read and left me tearing up at the end (and I never cry over books!). Megan Bannen crafts a beautiful, 13th century Mongolian inspired setting with gripping characters and an enthralling spin on the opera Turandot. After staying up late to finish this book (because of course nessun dorma when they read this book), one of the first things I did the next day was go back and reread the beginning. I ado
Khadidja ~on hiatus~

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Megan Bannen is a librarian and the author of THE BIRD AND THE BLADE. In her spare time, she collects graduate degrees from Kansas colleges and universities. While most of her professional career has been spent in public libraries, she has also sold luggage, written grants, and taught English at home and abroad. She lives in the Kansas City area with her husband, their two sons, and a few too many ...more
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