Book Review: Thorn of the Night Blossoms

Thank you to the author and BOMM Tours for providing me with an ARC of this one in exchange for participating in a tour on Instagram for the book and reading/giving my honest feedback about the book. And can I just start by saying LOOK AT THAT COVER?!?! It is seriously on another level. I am so smitten! It has been very fun to include this one in my bookstagram feed.

Title: Thorn of the Night Blossoms (Goodreads, Amazon)
Author: J.C. Kang
Genre: Fantasy Novella, LGBTQ+
My Rating: 4 / 5 stars
Content Warnings: violence, gore, sex work (portrayed in a positive light), rape (sex that is coerced magically)

This is my first foray into J.C. Kang’s work, and I have to say, I didn’t know what to expect. What I got more than satisfied me! This story is a novella so it is quite short. I tend to prefer more character development than is possible in a novella (which pretty much has to be more plot-driven, at least for a story like this to work). That said, I was pleasantly surprised that some of the relationships in the story did, in fact, have some depth to them. I was especially intrigued by the relationship between Jie and Lillian (I won’t say more to avoid spoilers). Jie is headstrong and stubborn, and Lillian is sensual and brilliant, and I liked them both. I don’t think I got to know them well enough to say I *loved* them though. I did really like the Chinese-like mythology and the really fun quick-moving martial arts sequences in many of the scenes. I feel like this would be a great movie!

A quick synopsis: this is a story about a half-elf assassin (Jie) who works undercover in a pleasure house in order to gather intel for her clan (the Black Lotus). Her friend, fellow member of her clan, and lover Lillian is also undercover and is the premiere courtesan of the house. She is tasked with keeping a warlord happy and preventing an insurrection that would be bad for the Black Lotus.

TL;DR: This novella is short and action-packed. Don’t expect depth of character or super complex plot lines. But: it is a novella filled with female spies and with a F/F romance at its center. So what’s not to love?

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