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Publisher's Summary

If Memoirs of a Geisha had ninjas....

In the legendary Floating World, wars are waged with wit, the strongest soldier can be bound with threads of silk, and flesh is the currency by which life, death, and freedom can all be purchased. 

Half-elf Jie doesn’t mind her temporary assignment as a Night Blossom in the most sought-after house. It’s perfect cover for her real work as an assassin in the emperor’s service, and keeps her close to one who matters most. Her life belongs to her clan, but her heart lies with clan junior, Lilian. 

Lilian’s talents trade stealth for sensuality, poison for poetry. With looks as sharp as any blade, she can coax information from any man, and still leave him paying for the pleasure. She’s enthralled many a noble, none more important than the warlord who can calm a brewing insurrection. Only her sweet whispers can secure his obedience to the throne. 

But now, his increasing abuse has Jie seeking a new assignment for Lilian - even if it means their separation. When killers target clan sisters, and the seeds of rebellion find fertile soil in the Floating World, Jie must choose between loyalty and love.

©2019 Dragonstone Press, LLC (P)2019 Dragonstone Press

What listeners say about Thorn of the Night Blossoms

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Beautiful prose and well-written tale

Kang paints a beautiful picture. Though the content is borderline... Kang finds a way of making it so beautiful. I’ve said beautiful a lot, but it’s the word that comes to mind. This is short, but very worth it. Naudus performed it with elegance and grace. Snag it and thank me later.

1 person found this helpful

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background

this listen gives some background into Jie past. Worth listening and/or reading to get more insight into Jie's life.

1 person found this helpful

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Courtesans, duplicity, spies, and deadly assassins

Jie was my favourite character from the authors other series, “The Dragon Songs Saga” and this story has further cemented her place. I loved how the descriptions and characters draw you in from the beginning and how it shows a different, yet related, world to the stories in the prior series. This book tells of Jie’s younger years, her place in the ninja-like Black Lotus Clan and her apprenticeship as a courtesan in the Floating World (which is fascinating in itself). The author creates an intriguing, beautifully rich world of courtesans, duplicity, spies, and deadly assassins. The narrator does an excellent job of making you feel the emotions in this story and makes the characters easily recognisable by voice. It is a captivating read full of action, surprises, intrigue, betrayal and friendship. The author brings the Floating World to life, showing both the beauty and the depravity, the rivalry, and the bonds. I love how Jie’s youth and naivety shows in this story, while still keeping sight of the older, more mature Jie we know from the other series. You can also see how Jie’s time in the Floating World helped shape her in the future. My heart ached for both Lilian and Jie and the consequences of the decisions they both made. This is a great story with heart wrenching moments, thrilling fights, surprising twists and characters that have depth. I look forward to the next book in this series.

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A Fantastic Surprise

This is not the genre I usually enjoy, however I have read other books by the author and wanted to give it a shot. Girls are trained as courtesans and assassins. The cover of being a courtesan allows the girls to learn deadly secrets. Set in a courtesan house, there are a lot of scenes and settings that should be uncomfortable and yet are written well for the type of story this is. Jie is different than the rest of the girls in the story. She is half-elf. She is twenty and still a virgin. She is also confident in her own abilities and generally to impatient and mistrusting to ask for help. Her closest confidante is her courtesan sister Lilian who she might also be in love with. When Jie is caught in an ambush, it is Lilian who comes to her aid. Lilian has always been there for her. Not knowing who the target of the ambush was, Jie begins spying on different factions in the Floating World, trying to determine the culprit and the intended victim. Is she the target? Is it Lilian? Is it the whole house that is at risk? With lots of action and suspense, betrayals and surprises, this was a great story. I look forward to the rest of the series. Also, the narrator was fantastic. I haven't heard Natalie read before and hope I will again soon. Content warning: violence, sexual situations, rape. None of these are explicit, but there is some detail and if you're sensitive to them, this isn't the book for you. I received a free copy of the audiobook from the author and have reviewed it willingly.

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Really enjoyed this.

Jie is well created character with faults one can relate to. However, being half elf and an assassin in the floating world make her unique and of course her prized possession a hot commodity. Bring in Lilian, another one of her clan members and you get taken through a loop on the outcome of the story. Who is an ally and who is the enemy? Jie must learn the truth. I can't wait to read/listen to the next book.

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What Lies Beneath the Surface

Jump right into this beautifully rich and intriguing world of deadly courtesans and assassins. For a short work, JC Kang deftly creates a real depth of the characters jumps out and is perfectly shaped with Natalie Naudis' narration. You can feel the need to fit in and break out of the restrictive barriers of the society as a whole while understanding why traditions exist. Sharpen your blades and your wits during this romp through the palace intrigue.

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Courtesan Assassin

An interesting tale of oriental epic fantasy highlighting female assassins posing as courtesans. The story was short, interesting, and fresh in a sense that I've not read anything like it. I enjoyed the new take, and have always wanted to find Epic Fantasy from a different perspective than Eastern/Western European. And it's short, so you can get through it fast. The audio book was well done.

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Great start for the series

Pretty good start to this series of novellas. The fight scenes are amazing, described in such a way that makes everything move like a movie in your head. I couldn’t get a good grasp of the world or the Clan, though, so I’m hoping to see more of that in the next books. Overall a good Asian-inspired fantasy with fantastic action scenes. I received a free copy of this book on request. I've left this review voluntarily and without bias.

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Complex and Intriguing!

This was my first JC Kang's book. Thorn of the Night Blossoms is the first book in the Scions of Black Lotus Series. This novella is a great introduction to the Series. The world building is original, complex, and intriguing. The characters are great, but I had difficulties to connect with them. Natalie Naudus did a great job with the narration. Looking forward to listen to the second book in the Series, White Sheep of the Family, to know what happens next. #AudiobookUnleashed

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Thorn of the Night Blossoms

Assassins and spies are hiding in plain sight. Just be careful who you trust... The background is presented and the stage is set for what is sure to be a great series with a strong female lead. JC Kang did a fantastic job with world building and introducing the characters. Plenty of action! Natalie Naudus brought the story to life. I thoroughly enjoyed her performance. I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and I have voluntarily left this review.

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  • Andrew hall
  • 10-02-20

Blades, blossoms, and brilliance.

TLDR: Like the daggers wielded by the book’s protagonist, this novel is short, sharp, and stabs you in the gut when you least expect it. This Asian Epic Fantasy based around geisha spies may not be long, but its content has been distilled down to something intense and entertaining. This audiobook is short. Like, 2 hrs 51 mins short. I’m a big fan of epic, expansive fantasy novels with page after page of content that deeply develop characters and plots within an enthralling backdrop, so I was a little worried when I saw the short runtime for Thorn of the Night Blossoms. Now though, as well as providing me with a thoroughly entertaining listen/read, this book has completely shattered the paradigm by which I fashion my first impressions, so in this case, I shouldn’t judge a book by its thickness. Thorn of the Night Blossoms follows our protagonist, Jie, a half-elf geisha/spy who is facing the unfortunate reality that her clan may have more use for her on her back in the pillows as a titular Night Blossom than on her feet with a blade. This snapshot into historical Asian culture—where prostitution is a dignified and often almost revered profession—was a wonderful breath of fresh air from the usual seedy underworld perspective that ladies of the night are portrayed in from a western perspective. As too was the book’s entire portrayal of Asian culture in general. Most of the fantasy I ingest is nothing but flashy knights and—if I’m lucky—original takes on western themes and lore. This glimpse into not just the lives of the Night Blossoms but also the entire culture within which they exist was as intriguing and interesting as it was entertaining. Too often the exhibition of other cultures in fantasy can be a trope-tastic mess that merely hopes to add a little spice to what can all too often be the overused pallet of western fantasy staples. Here though we are treated to a lovingly crafted meal where what would usually be used as exotic flavourings in more traditional fantasy instead forms the base upon which this fast-paced and entertaining story is left to simmer. The story itself follows Jie as she tries to investigate an attempt upon her life and quickly evolves into a labyrinth of intrigue and sharp blades, with the duality of her outward profession as a Night Blossom waring with her secret nature as a deadly spy. The conflict between her true face and that which she must wear in public is a brilliant plot device. We know full well that, should Jie wish it, she need not take any of the berating and backstabbing heaped upon her by her competitors and superiors in her life as a provider of pleasure, but her need to protect her own and her clan sisters’ anonymity as spies constrains her actions in what is a deliciously infuriating manner for us listeners/readers. The characters that the book has time to portray in detail are expanded into living, breathing people, and the story is full of enough action to keep me listening and enough twists to keep me enthralled. Now, I’m big on universe building, and simply put, this book does not have the time to go too deep into the lands and lore much beyond the Floating World where Jie and her sisters practice their arts. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as the limited information that is provided is done well. There are a couple of exposition-heavy knowledge dumps at the beginning, but then we simply do not have the time for extensive ‘show, don’t tell’ lore expansion. Once the ground rules are set, we are then drip-fed enough additional information about the wider world that I was left gagging to listen to the rest of the series to see this vibrant land in greater detail. All in all, I enjoyed this book a great deal. The pacing was great, the description was beautiful, the story was well written and at times hard hitting, and the writing style and cultural perspective was different enough from my usual fantasy bread-and-butter to keep me glued to my headphones without losing me in a sea of new concepts. This is a good book. As for narration, Natalie Naudus did a great performance. There wasn’t a huge roster of characters for her to sink her teeth into, but those that were there were done wonderfully. In particular, her portrayal of some of the back-and-forth between rival Night Blossoms gave a succulent level of spite that was a joy to listen to. Personal Score: 4 stars Professional Score: 4 stars

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  • Helen
  • 04-18-20

Fabulous storyline

I Enjoyed this audio book very much Hopefully they will be more audio books Must read on your list

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  • Ryan Pascall
  • 04-09-20

A fun and cleverly written tale of intrigue.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I was dubious at first as books like this can often offer a poor portrayal of women but this wasn't the case at all here and the characters were all well conceived and treated with a good degree of respect. As a tale of political intrigue, revenge and assassination the story could well have been bogged down with huge swathes of exposition but this was avoided and only that which was necessary was given to avoid overloading the reader. As for the action, I really enjoyed how Jie attacked crucial parts of an enemy to disarm, disable and weaken her foes and it made the scenes very enjoyable and visceral without feeling like it was trying to be gory for the sake of ticking a box. My only quibble is how the narrator, while excellent, often stated the names of characters very fast and, where they had more than one name, it was easy to confuse one with another. This aside, I did really enjoy this story and look forward to reading the next ones.

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  • Rob Hayes
  • 10-18-19

Assassins & pleasure houses mix surprisingly well

A short tale (novella length) about assassins posing as prostitutes in an Asian setting. This one really drops you in it. There are a lot of terms and names flying around in the first chapter. So many that, without any prior knowledge of the setting (I think this is part of a much larger world the author is creating), it took me to the end of the first chapter before I had my bearings. Things were a lot smoother after that once I had gotten my head around what everything is called and the like. We follow a half-elf assassin named Jia who is posing in a pleasure house to gather information and the like for her clan. She's head strong and loyal and and suffers from bouts of overconfidence that may well jeapordise everything. It's a novella so there's limited character development but what we do get is very good. The plot obviously whips along at break neck pace, and so a lot of the information we need is dropped as exposition. It stands out a bit, but then it's a novella so you have to expect it. It was fun a listen and the narrator did an excellent job. I'm looking forward to novellas 2 and 3... and luckily I was provided with all three so I'll be jumping straight in to book 2. I might do a longer review once I've gone through them all. 3.5 stars.

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  • mags
  • 10-08-19

brilliant book

I read this series first, but hearing them on audible gives a new view of them. This is the first of "scions". very good series, fully up to standard expected od J C Kang.