Title: The Bird and the Blade
Author: Megan Bannen
Performer: Emily Woo Zeller
Length: 10 hr, 17 min, 3 sec
Publishing Date/Publisher: 2018 by Harper Audio
Review: This book surprised me. I checked it out on my OverDrive app on a whim because it was available. I gave the brief synopsis attached to it only a cursory glance, so I knew very little diving into it. Very quickly into the reading, I knew that the story sounded vaguely familiar. As I listened a bit longer, I realized that it was an adaptation of a story I had heard before. Although I had some inkling of how it would end, I was intrigued to hear the story from the point of view of a slave girl.
What immediately drew me into the story was how cleverly the author organized it. Each part of the tale peeled back a new layer, and details that had at first seemed minor carried greater significance as more back story was revealed. By the end my heart was pounding and although I knew the outcome, I was still eager to see exactly how it played out.
My favorite part about the novel was how carefully the relationships were developed. The story is told from the point of view of Jinghua, a slave girl with a mysterious past. Jinghua is plain in appearance, but others value her for her intellect and spirit. She is beautiful on the inside, if not on the outside, and her actions throughout the story reflect that.
If I were to read this book again, I would probably read it in a different format. The performer had a tendency to exaggerate the waviness of her voice during dramatic scenes. I found this distracting, so I think I would have enjoyed the story even more if I had been reading it in a physical format.
I was so impressed with this book. It is a story of loss and love and sacrifice. It contained all the elements of a great story, and it was beautifully written. It is hard for me to believe that this was a debut novel. I look forward to whatever else the author has in store.