Happy Book Birthday to The Bird and the Blade by Megan Bannen! If you’re looking for a beautifully written YA Fantasy than you’ll love this one. Go on the long journey across the desert where secrets will be revealed, love grows, and sacrifices are made!
A big Thank You to Fantastic Flying Book Club for picking me to participate in the Bird and the Blade Blog Tour! I’ve really enjoyed working with them and can’t wait to see what other tours they’ll be hosting in the coming months! If you haven’t checked out their blog yet, you are missing out!
About The Bird and the Blade
Title: The Bird and the Blade
Author: Megan Bannen
Pub. Date: June 5, 2018
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
As a slave in the Kipchak Khanate, Jinghua has lost everything: her home, her family, her freedom … until she finds herself an unlikely conspirator in the escape of Prince Khalaf and his irascible father as they flee from their enemies 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.
“it looks like two men, two horses, two camels, one not-exactly-a-slave girl, and a drunk snake have decided to journey north…”
Jinghua is surprised when the man who showed her kindness is none other than the youngest prince. A year later she finds herself bound to him by secrets and a surprising loyalty for the young man. She is smart despite her father’s constant disappointment in her inability to be the princess he demands her to be. She believes in her inadequacy until one day when she’s 14 years old and meets a man who will inevitably change her life. Over the course of the book Jinghua’s character development progresses at just the right pace. She goes from being invisible to being seen and heard. As a young woman in China she doesn’t have a say in anything so when she builds a friendship with a king and a prince she finally finds her place, and is respected.
Khalaf is the third prince who will most likely never become king, until he goes to battle and in an instant he becomes next in line for the throne he never really wanted. He loses his brothers and entire kingdom in a matter of days. He is an academic who can also hold his own in battle. His father told him to train not only in battle but education and when he is the only one of his sons to survive he realizes his father doesn’t have faith that he can rebuild the kingdom they’ve lost. The journey through the desert forces them to see that although they are different in many ways, the love they have for their kingdom and their people, are the same. Megan did a great job in portraying the tension and differences between the father and son duo.
The banter between Jinghua and Timur Khan is some of the best you’ll find in YA Fantasy! The two of them have this dynamic where she calls him an old goat more than a few times daily and he tells her to go suck her used tea leaves. It’s definitely a love/hate relationship. The humor between the two of them made the story feel more authentic, especially having to be stuck with each other in the middle of nowhere for the unforeseeable future.
This story was well rounded, had great character development, and the switching between past and present was very well done! I thought this book was so magical and a great start for debut author Megan Bannen! I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us next!
About the Author
Megan Bannen is a librarian and the author of THE BIRD AND THE BLADE. In her spare time, she collects graduate degrees from Kansas colleges and universities. While most of her professional career has been spent in public libraries, she has also sold luggage, written grants, and taught English at home and abroad. She lives in the Kansas City area with her husband, their two sons, and a few too many pets with literary names. She can be found online at www.meganbannen.com.
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