The Judas Blossom (The Nightingale and the Falcon #1)

Stephen Aryan

Adult Historical Fantasy

An imaginative and sprawling epic fantasy reimagining of the Mongol Empire’s invasion of Persia, following the lives and treacherous journeys of four key figures in the heart of war.

1260, Persia:

Due to the efforts of the great Genghis Khan, the Mongol Empire covers a vast portion of the known world. In the shadow of his grandfather, Hulagu Khan, ruler of the Ilkhanate, is determined to create a single empire that covers the entire world. His method? Violence.

His youngest son, Temujin Khan, struggles to find his place in his father’s bloody rule. After another failure, Temujin is given one last chance to prove himself to Hulagu, who is sure there is a great warrior buried deep inside. But there’s something else rippling under the surface… something far more powerful and dangerous than they could ever imagine…

Reduced to the position of one of Hulagu’s many wives, the famed Blue Princess Kokochin is the last of her tribe. Alone and forgotten in a foreign land, Kokochin is unwilling to spend her days seeking out trivial pursuits. Seeking purpose, she finds herself wandering down a path that grants her more power than a wife of the Khan may be allowed.

Kaivon, the Persian rebel who despises the Mongols for the massacre of his people, thirsts for revenge. However, he knows alone he cannot destroy the empire. When given the opportunity to train under the tutelage of Hulagu, Kaivon must put aside his feelings and risk his life for a chance to destroy the empire that aims to conquer the world.

Family and war collide in this thrilling and bloody reimagining of the Mongol Empire’s invasion of Persia.

-Excerpt taken from Goodreads.

Check Goodreads to see the book’s ratings.

My Opinion 

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5) Military fantasy is a unique sub-genre of fantasy and I’ve found a good handful of these in the last few years that I really love. The fighting is done as in ancient times with weapons, but rarely highly technological weaponry. However, in a lot of the military fantasy (this included) magic is involved. When you throw in all the elements that magic can entail, the story can get so much more exciting.

“Our powers do not make us better than anyone else,” Katarina said. “Just different.”

There were a lot of characters in this one so I kept track and took notes so I could connect each one. I believe this helped me follow the story line better. But beyond that, the characters were fascinating. Many are working to free Persia that has been taken over. Then we have the opposite side trying to take over more and more land. The part I loved were the Persians and their tenacity. I don’t want to go into it too much because it was my favorite part and was seen throughout.



At the same time the Persians are being duplicitous, the Kahn family is at each other’s throats. They feel the need to keep Genghis Kahn’s vision alive by ruling the world. The only way they see to do it is by conquering and killing.



The ending was fabulous, especially after getting to know the characters and their intentions. That ending made me excited for book 2!

General content summary: F words= 8, some language, man has multiple wives and concubines, war (injuries, fire, killing, weapons, blood, beheading, details and some gore), weight shaming, mob attack (arrow killings, some details, limbs cut off), a man gives his brother a woman to take her virginity (few details), sometimes more than one wife joins a man in his to be intimate, physical violence (choking, blood, threats of rape, knife), whipping as punishment (some details), family killed as tax punishment, knife and sword deaths, intimacy (few details), poisoning death, battle (death, weapons, blood, some gore, killing), m/f kissing, f/f kissing and relationship, corpse recently dead and blood, beheading (few details), alcohol (multiple), evidence of torture (injuries), a building is burned with people inside, genocide, hangings (some details).

Thank you to Angry Robot Books for the copy!

**As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. 

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