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Publisher's Summary

A sweeping and tragic debut novel perfect for fans of The Wrath and the Dawn and Megan Whalen Turner.

The Bird and the Blade is a lush, powerful story of life and death, battles and riddles, lies and secrets from author Megan Bannen.

Enslaved in 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 scheme to use the Kipchaks’ exile to return home, a plan that becomes increasingly fraught as her feelings for Khalaf evolve into an impossible love.

Jinghua’s already dicey prospects take a downward turn when Khalaf seeks to restore his kingdom by forging a marriage alliance with Turandokht, the daughter of the Great Khan. As beautiful as she is cunning, Turandokht requires all potential suitors to solve three impossible riddles to win her hand - and if they fail, they die.

Jinghua has kept her own counsel well, but with Khalaf’s kingdom - and his very life - on the line, she must reconcile the hard truth of her past with her love for a boy who has no idea what she’s capable of...even if it means losing him to the girl who’d sooner take his life than his heart.

©2018 Megan Bannen (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Beautifully written retelling of a world renowned opera

Overall: 4.5/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫
Steam: 💋 only
Feels: 😔💗😫😭
Tear jerker: ✅
Paranormal/Fantasy: ❌
Location: Various; China, Mongolia - Kipchak Khanate and several others
Character age range: Late teens
Lead: Jinghua
Love interest(s): Khalaf
HEA: ❌
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~QD Book Info📚~
Kindle Unlimited: ❌
Audible: ✅ - narrated by Emily Woo Zeller
Series: ❌ - stand alone
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~QD🔥~
Sex/kink type: None - 💋 only
Possible triggers: violence/gore, homicide, slavery, kidnapping, torture, self-harm
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~Review🖋~
This book was a beautifully written retelling of a famous (and tragic) opera. The author writes in a lyrical prose that transports the reader into a picturesque world so vivid I thought I might be able to reach out and touch it. The dialogue is endearingly honest; I was a pendulum swinging between feeling anguished and laughing at Jinghua’s inner-monologue. The end is as tragic as it was in the opera, if not even more so, and despite knowing the ending, I sat there sobbing nonetheless. Brava, on an impressive debut novel!
✨About the Audible version: The audio book is amazing. I alternated between reading and listening. Emily Woo Zeller narrates the hell out of this book. It was such a joy listening to her!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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So Many Twists

I love this book. It had tons of great twists. When I thought I had it all figured out I was wrong. The world was easy to understand and get lost in. The cast is small but somehow the world feels very big.

The narrator does a great job distinguishing between characters.

My only -highly subjective- issue is that sometimes the main character’s internal contemplation of her love is overbearing and sappy.

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Wow!

I didn’t think I would like this book, but I instead loved it! The plot and historical setting were both really gripping. The characters felt very real and deep. The ending... THE ENDING had Me ugly crying. However, even that was beautiful done, so I can’t be mad at all. I definitely recommend this one!