The Bird and the Blade by Megan Bannen
Published by Harper Collins
Release date: June 5th, 2018
Top 3 Genres: Young Adult, Historical fiction, Romance
My rating: Set it on fire/If you have nothing else to read/you need to read it/Run and buy it.
Source: ARC by Harper Collins
To buy the book: CA • US
Add to: Goodreads
Hello everybody, today I am presenting you a book pretty different from what I use to read: The Bird and the Blade. Different, but so so good!
« 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. »
First, let me start by saying that I had no knowledge of the opera Turandokht that inspired the book, so this review is just about the story I learned through the book! And what a story!!
A beautiful and poetic setting
It is not often you can dive back into the past of Asia, the 13th century, the time of China great dynasties or Genghis Khan. This book does it. And so beautifully! All the complexity (sometimes too much) of the Mongol empire, all the beauty of green Lin’an. The author really worked on the historical and cultural side here and it was felt through all the book, building a rich and dense world it was a pleasure to dive in! We step right into a world of war and blood (tw for some violence), where only the stronger can survive and win… but also, sometimes, the smarter.
For me, the storytelling really had an Arabian Nights vibe that I really appreciated, the way the story unravels slowly, rhythmed by deadly riddles.
Few characters but powerful ones
Jinghua, Khalaf or Timur, our main characters are built with a lot of depth, and they keep growing through the book. We learn everything about them, the good, the bad, and it’s impossible not to want to hear all their story. Like in a tale, their destiny drives them far away, with a terrible quest to accomplish.
These characters are also full of flaws, and it makes them even more realistic. I dare you not to cry at the end of the book! But I also dare you not to love it!
Finally, Jinghua is the narrator here, and what a narrator! She is full of doubts but also bravery, she doesn’t know where she is going, but she goes there anyway. And finally, she is full of humor and self-derision! I LOVED it!
A romance that will change your world
I won’t say much cause I do not want to give any spoiler, but if you are looking for a love story, this one will not disappoint you. It is a love you do not often in books that is portrayed here. It’s beautiful and fragile and imperfect but also powerful and infinite. It is as the love of two young persons facing hell together can be. And it is a love that can also lead to tragedy. But no matter what, it is worth reading about it!
In a few words
I do not have the words to tell the beauty and uniqueness of this book, how it captivated me like a beautiful and dark tale. I can only tell you it is a story you need to read!
See you for a cup!