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The Bird and the Blade

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  3,099 ratings  ·  792 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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Average rating 4.04  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,099 ratings  ·  792 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 sho
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 open
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
Dec 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020-favorites
Wow, this was so beautiful... 😢Sometimes you stumble upon a book that no one is talking about (a book many have never heard of) and you read it, and fall so in love. Fuck..this was amazing.

The Bird and the Blade is now one of my favorites books of the year. Maybe Of all time! Where do I even start?

The Bird and the Blade, by Megan Bannen is a retelling of "Prince Khalaf and the Princess of China," which was later turned into a famous Opera (Turandot), by Giacomo Puccini.

The Bird and the Blade f

I really don't like to dump a book. However, if while reading I am fantasizing about the next books on my list and panicking as to whether or not I'll have time to read them or not, then all signs point to 'this book is not for you.' I was hesitant to pick this one up in the first place, only because it's marked as 'fantasy' and 'young adult'. While fantasy can delight me from time to time, young adult novels often leave me struggling to engage. This became evident with this book as I got de
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
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
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.

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.

Blog | Bookstagram | Instagram | Twitter
Clem (the villain's quest)

“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 doome
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 bloom
Cindy ✩☽♔
Oct 19, 2017 marked it as to-read
Can't tell if the synopsis implies a love triangle or not...
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Vicky Again
May 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, wishlist
btw if you want some uber hilarious bonus content from the author on this book, check out this post

This book has ruined me.

The standards for YA fantasy just shot up to the moon after this book. Because this was extraordinarily heart-wrenching as well as engaging and absorbing and completely amazing.

I am wrecked. This book was glorious.

The first sign that this was just an amazing read was that I devoured the whole thing in one day. This is a 400+ page book and I just blew through the ARC so quick
aug 2019 - I noticed this is on Kindle Unlimited right now if anyone is interested. Pretty annoying to someone who paid full price for it, but good for you I guess?


Ohhh wow I'm still in a daze from that ending! Sooooo good.

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.
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.
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,
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 dnf
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
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.
nuin giliath
Not including the "Year in Review", this is apparently my 🎊 100th book review 🎉 (or at least that is what Goodreads tells me and since I don't care to count for myself, we'll go with that). So that's exciting. 🥳

Let me preface this review with a visual depiction of what I looked like by the end:

The Bird and the Blade is the book you read when you want to feel like a Mongol lord has plunged his hand into your chest cavity and ripped out your heart. Because that's what it feels like and that's what
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
joanna ☽ the little brown fairy
ouch, there goes my heart. full review to come soon
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
♠ TABI⁷ ♠
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
"For the first time in over two years, I believe the world is not an entirely terrible place simply because this one decent person lives in it."


First off, who let me get this invested in the lives of fictional characters?? This book absolutely DECIMATED my feelings . . . and yet I love it even more because of that fact?? WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?? I swear I'm only like this about books, since I'm a little pickier about continuing to love things in real life that have decimated my feelings.

Sophie "Beware Of The Reader"
Short review right now as I am still wipping my tears and blowing up my nose...

Most of the book was a three stars for me, despite once more the extraordinary narration of Emily Woo Zeller because it was a little bit too sweet. The female character was a little bit shy and not really a warrior nor a great beauty not ....
She was like a little mouse but strangely touching too.

Most of the story happens while they are traveling and if there are attacks etc. it felt kind of ...boring.

But when we get a
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.
Apr 06, 2019 added it
Shelves: 2018-releases
I have an extreme combo of thoughts on this one, which are:

1) I probably would've DNFed it if I hadn't been reading it while traveling, when I couldn't burn a read, because the modern language in a book that's supposed to be set in the 1200s is wildly distracting, and it's the kind of thing that makes a book feel lacking in research.

2) I'm really glad I didn't, because it ended up being one of my favorite fantasy reads in a good, long time. I absolutely loved the execution of the story itself, a
Wow...this book was definitely something else.

Things I Absolutely LOVED:

- It's a retelling of one of my favourite operas, TURANDOT! And wow, that opera has a problematic storyline, because it's basically about a guy whose kiss is so magical it can turn the bad girl good, which is like the PG-rated version of a common pornographic power fantasy. This book fixes that. Among other things.

- It draws on the legends behind TURANDOT to place the tale in a setting that is a complex and enthralling blen
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Megan Bannen is the author of SOULSWIFT and THE BIRD AND THE BLADE, a Kirkus Best Young Adult Book of 2018 and an Indies Introduce selection. An avid coffee drinker and mediocre ukulele player, Megan lives in the Kansas City area with her husband and their two children. She's a full-time writer, but her librarian heart will always belong to the reference desk. You can find her online at www.meganb ...more

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