The Bird and the Blade

The Bird and the Blade

by Megan Bannen


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062674159
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 06/05/2018
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 79,338
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.60(d)
Age Range: 13 Years

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. 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

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The Bird and the Blade 2.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous 8 months ago
I wish I could give this book 0 stars! The description of this book made it sound incredibly interesting and engaging. But what was the book truly like? It was a book filled with undeveloped, boring characters with the personalities of paper cups. The book spent around 40 pages on the riddles (Roughly) and THAT'S IT! All the rest of the book is hyping up for a romance that was never developed and listening to the MC complain about how ugly she is. Also, you will have to sit through about 50 random poems that are just in the book to take up space and add more pages to this already pathetic excuse for a book. I would give this book 0 stars even before I read the ending, but it made me hate the book even more! SPOILERS AHEAD: Who in their right mind would write a book from a first person perspective and then make her main character kill herself? The ending was unbearably awful and I found myself counting down pages till the ending of the book, just waiting for the sweet release of the last page from this bookish hell. This book is not worth your time and is a complete waste of money as well! Don't buy this book unless you have a plan to wash your money down the drain, bore yourself out of your mind and want to have this book leave an awful taste in your mouth.
Anonymous 6 months ago
What I liked: Nothing What I didn't like: Everything
Anonymous 6 months ago
This book is awful! I would've rather watched the kissing book 50 times in a row then read this trash book
Anonymous 6 months ago
This book is terrible and shouldn't have been published in the first place! One of the worst I have read in a while!
NovelKnight 11 months ago
I don’t know what I expected with The Bird and the Blade but what I got was WAY better than I thought possible. Y’all. I loved this book. LOVED IT. It’s tragic and packed with emotion and written in a unique style that immediately grabbed my attention. For the record, I had no idea that this was actually a retelling of the Italian opera Turandot. Set in the Mongol Empire, the story follows a prince, Khalaf, who seeks the hand of the Princess Turandokht. To win her over, he must solve her 3 riddles. And there’s more to it, but I wouldn’t want to spoil this book for you because it stuck close to the opera’s overall story arc from what I’ve read. But this story isn’t told from Khalaf’s view, or Turandokht. No, it comes from a slave girl, Jinghua, the last of the Song dynasty. She ends up in the charge of Khalaf and his father Timur, who she describes as an “old goat” which I think is a pretty accurate description, as they head to the Mongol capital to solve Turandokht’s riddles. Except... they’re already there. So I don’t like summarizing in reviews but I wanted to mention that bit because this story alternates between sections of Jinghua, Khalaf, and Timur traveling to the capital and already being IN the capital as Khalaf starts solving riddles. I was hooked. You’re thrown in enough to make things interesting but Bannen brings you back to catch up to where the story kicks off. And those flashes forward in time only serve to heighten the tension because you sort of know what’s going to happen, but not really. So then you’re anticipating the fate of everyone (which makes this book great for reading in one sitting, BTW). But let me jump back to the characters for a minute. Jinghua is in the lead and she has this secret that I started guessing about the halfway point but remained a mystery until near the end. It serves as the basis for all of her decisions and the closer you get to the reveal, the more everything starts to fall into place. The Bird and the Blade is an intricate riddle of its own, each piece so thoughtfully interwoven to deliver the final blow at story’s end. That said, I will say I wasn’t a HUGE fan of Jinghua immediately falling for Khalaf because it read pretty insta-lovey and not in the good way, but it also worked in a way, adding that flare for the dramatic that I realized once I finished was present throughout the story. Because the ending. No matter how much you hope and dream for something different, remains true to the opera and that is all I will say on that note. It was heartbreaking and painful and so perfect but also a part of me wishes that Bannen had gone a different route. Which isn’t a comment against her writing, simply my own wishful thinking. After finishing The Bird and the Blade, I read the author’s note and was curious about Turandot, and I found that it’s kind of an awful opera in everything that it stands for. So when I went to review this book, I was torn because it did stay true to the opera in many ways (both good and bad) that I don’t necessarily agree with. But. I decided to treat this book as it was when I picked it up, with no knowledge that it was a retelling, so my feelings on this book are from my initial reaction, for full transparency. I picked up this book because I happen to love the Netflix Original series Marco Polo, set in the Mongol Empire, but I stayed for the writing and execution of a masterfully crafted retelling. Hands down, one of my favorite reads of the year!
Disturbia0509 12 months ago
I am completely shocked that this book does not have more hype. It was beautiful.  I did not know, until after I started it that it's a retelling of the opera, Turandot. I don't really know anything about that opera, well I didn't. This story takes place in the Mongolian Empire, which was new for me. I don't think I've ever read a story in this era, especially since it's the 13th century!  Jinghua is the main character, who is a slave to the Kipchak Kanate. Although, you start to realize there is a lot more to her. She's got a lot of secrets from her past and Bannen really makes you wait for it. I was so ready to know more about what was really going on.  Khalaf is pure good. He is so kind and I'm so sad that he ends up with the life he's dealt. I know that not every story is a happy ending but he deserved it.  Timur, who is Khalaf's father, definitely won me over. I really disliked him at first. How could he not love and respect Khalaf? He's like the best man ever! Then as the story goes, you learn a lot more. Some men really like to hide behind a facade. He reveals much more to Jinghua and then he actually starts show he cares. I loved his relationship between he and Jinghua. Their banter was always funny too!  The plot is so good. The story jumps back and forth between the present and past. The beginning is a bit slow, most of it is them traveling together. You really get to see the relationship between Jinghua and Khalaf really grow. I think that Bannen did a really good job with the history in this book. I felt like I've learned a lot but I wasn't sitting in a lecture. I advise you to read the author notes after! There's a couple of chapters of information and it's really enlightening.  "And Apples Always Apples" The ending broke me. If you can't stand a book without a happy ending, do not read this. Even though, it broke my heart and made me shed some tears, it was beautiful. It was so well done and it's definitely going to stay with me for a long time. I really enjoyed this book and I recommend it, if you can stand a book without a happily ever after!  I want to thank Edelweiss and Balzer + Bray, HarperCollins for an e-ARC of this book. 
BenT-Gaidin More than 1 year ago
Let me tell you a thing I wished I'd known -- this book is a tragedy. The story is a retelling of the fable about the princess with three riddles, only willing to marry the prince who answers them and killing all others, from the point of view of the slave girl accompanying the prince; it's also based on the opera Turandot, which I had not previously heard of, but which might have warned me of the coming doom. As it is, the jacket text told me that the slave girl is the key to the prince answering the riddles, that she's come to care for him, even as he seeks to marry someone else. It is a gorgeously written book, set in a loosely historical 13th century as the heirs of the Khanate feud among themselves for control of their empires. It also had me wondering the entire time how it was going to solve the puzzle it had set up: Would the prince answer the riddles and refuse the marriage, to stay with the girl he had fallen for? Would the princess accept the girl as another wife of the prince, once they'd both proven their cleverness? Would the girl answer the riddles instead and marry the princess herself? What I didn't expect -- and this is the largest of spoilers, but also I feel unfair to not warn a reader of -- is that the slave girl's refusal to betray the prince, and her loyal suicide, would lead to winning the princess's heart for the prince and an eventual golden age for the empire under their joint rule. Knowing that this is a tragedy, and that our viewpoint character is doomed, I would praise this book highly for a lush, historical portrayal of this fable. If you come in not knowing what's coming, though, it's hard to expect that the reader won't be disappointed.