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 scheme to use the Kipchaks’ exile to return home, a plan that becomes increasingly fraught as her feelings for Khalaf evolve into a hopeless 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.
The Bird and the Blade is a lush, powerful story of life and death, battles and riddles, lies and secrets from debut author Megan Bannen.(Goodreads)
I just can’t…
I received this book in a subscription box. I didn’t know much about it, but since I’m trying to get through my TBR shelf and I saw that I could listen to the audiobook, I listened. I cannot begin to express how glad I am I did. This book sneaks up on you in a way that no other book has done for me in a while.
When it started out Jinghua was just sort of meh for me. I felt like she was missing some backbone and I just wanted her to be better. Well, trust me when I say she gets better. And Khalaf is a book boyfriend in the making for sure.
I also really loved the insights into Mongol culture that this book provided. It was by no means a history lesson, but I did not know much about this nomadic culture before and now my interest is definitely piqued.
At first, I thought the switching between present and flashbacks would get tedious, but it didn’t and was truly the most effective way to tell the story. If I had to say one bad thing about this book, it would be that the beginning is a little slow, but stick with it because oh my goodness the ending is amazing.
One of the best books I’ve read in a while.
Buy it from Amazon