The Bird and the Blade – A Mongolian Epic
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.
Blurb taken from Goodreads.
I ADORED this book!
I really loved reading this and wanted to savour every moment, and definitely recommend it if you enjoy historical fiction and epic stretching stories.
The setting is fascinating, the Mongolian empire and the wild landscape, the culture and the brutal raw reality of such a frightening war torn time.
The romance in this is quiet and slow, in the absolute best of slow burn ways, and I wanted to savour every single moment. I LOVED it and found it very very romantic to read.
My only issue with this novel (and it wasn’t a huge issue because I still absolutely adored it!) but I did find some of the language so slang-ish and modern that sometimes it ripped me out of the story and setting. Characters speak in such a casual modern way and the protagonist’s inner dialogue was the same. I found it a little jarring while I was reading, but I do feel like this is a personal taste thing. Most of the time the language is very haunting and moving, and that is why I found it extra jarring when it wasn’t I think.
And finally, without going into spoilers …. that ending was …heavy.
I feel like I loved it though, even though I truly didn’t see it coming. It certainly added a haunting gravity to the novel.
Overall, an absolutely beautiful reading experience.
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Lee Evie is an author of historical fiction set in old Korea, during the Joseon dynasty.
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