Novel Review | The Flower of Alosha by Jang Ryang



There will be spoilers for the or novel series The Flower of Alosha.

Content Warning: There may be references to male , pedophilia (not involving the main couple), mentions of molestation (not involving the main couple), murder, rape (including gang rape), drugging, blackmail and extortion, mentions of execution/capital punishment, mentions of chronic illness, excessive drinking or possible alcoholism, blood, homomisia, missing persons, sexism, classism, sexual harrassment, power imbalance, ableism, manipulation, obsession, orphans, violence, sexual assault, mentions of torture, mentions of war, strangulation, mentions of attempted suicide, suicide, death, overdose, mentions of homelessness, mentions of mental illness, mentions of child abuse, animal death, fat-shaming, self-harm, pregnancy (including teen pregnancy), possible miscarriage, mentions of abortion, slut-shaming, gaslighting, and hauntings, mentions of enslavement, self-deprecation, ritualistic sacrifice, dark magic, forced pregnancy, theft, gossiping, superstition, birth, confinement, incest, sex work, and mentions of cheating, as it appears in the novel or novel series.


Kay is living his best simple life as the vice captain in Lablen. He's a bit of a womanizer, enjoying the company of women, though never more than one at a time. This does come at a price, earning him the ire of his captain, who often longs for the very women that Kay ends up with. It is an annoying but small problem in his life, so Kay is relatively happy at the end of the day. But Kay's simple world is rocked when none other than the Grand Duke, Zigryl Rhyner, arrives in this small, cold region of the empire unannounced.

Zigryl is well-known for his chaotic and cruel nature, and though he isn't the emperor, his brother, the emperor, who has been ill for some time, has no successors. So, he has all the power of the emperor without the shackles of the crown. What is a man with such power and freedom doing in this snow-covered rural region of the empire? As it turns out, Zigryl, alongside his attendant Schumann, isn't here for Lablen but for the subregion of Edor, which is well-known for being dangerous and near-impossible to reach thanks to the surrounding Forest of the Dead. They are after something called the Alosha's Flower, and they need a guide to get there.

Unfortunately for Kay, as soon as Zigryl lays eyes upon him, the Grand Duke wants Kay and only Kay for the journey ahead. Kay, unable to deny the wants of someone with such power, has no choice but to acquiesce. Kay anticipates this mission will only take a few days, and then he'll be able to return and live his everyday life back in Lablen. But what Kay doesn't realize until it's far too late is that Zigryl wants Kay as a guide and a bedmate, and once he gets a taste of him, he has no intention of letting Kay go.


This is dark. Super dark. I'm on a roll with these super dark titles. If you liked No Reason, you'll probably like this. It's as if the harshness of No Reason had a baby (ha!) with Who's Your Daddy?. There is noncon all over the place. Of course, there is noncon between Kay and Zigryl, but there is also a subplot where there are ghosts in Edor, including that of a young girl Kay estimates to be about 15. Kay ends up being momentarily transported into her experience, where he is then gang-raped within her body. It's a very painful, visceral experience that even now turns my stomach. It could've been powerful, seeing her revenge fully play out after being so brutally assaulted, but, unfortunately, after her revenge begins, Kay, Zigryl, and Schumann leave, and it's never brought up again. So much time is spent on Edor and the Forest of the Dead, but it's abandoned entirely once the main cast leaves. And really, that's how most of the plot points are — hollow and superficial. It often feels like it loses the plot, abandoning the story of Edor and rescuing Lablen. The zombies and monsters are all but forgotten, which was disappointing since they seemed like such important aspects of the story early on.

Cover art for The Flower of Alosha by

On a more positive note, I will say that the ‘romance' in this is a bit more palatable and present than in No Reason, though barely. Kay's character is out for one thing: survival. All of the characters are defined by very basic wants. For Kay, it's survival. For Schumann, it's wealth, and for Zigryl, it's the freedom to continue doing as he pleases. These very basic motivations guide the characters throughout the story. Schumann will only do something for the right price, which a grand duke has no problem paying. Zigryl is hunting down the flower and causing immense havoc and chaos because he wants freedom from ruling as the Emporer and just loves the destruction he leaves in his wake. Finally, though Zigryl is a threat to everyone, he's a port in the storm for Kay when everything else is crashing down. So, while Zigryl has done nothing but torture and rape him, Kay willingly runs to Zigryl as his main protector. It never really manifests in love from Kay's side, more in a relationship of convenience (and coercion, of course), which I actually appreciated. It was a much more realistic evolution of their relationship than Kay just deciding he loves Zigryl despite how cruel he is. Kay just needs a protector, and who is better than Zigryl? It could've very easily gone the Stockholm syndrome route, but it didn't, which was rather refreshing.

I also like that Kay's motivation for protection stems from his past as the sole survivor of his family's massacre. Unfortunately, though, the introduction to this information is lackluster at best. We're just given all of Kay's past in the most anticlimactic way, and the main story ends soon after. The world feels so expansive, but so little of it is actually explored. There is a moment in the novel when Kay, while pregnant, plans to return to his homeland, which I was super excited about. That would've made for a much more interesting exploration of his past, especially since it hadn't been revealed that he was a noble before his family's destruction. We could've gained insight into how they lived before the empire took them over and maybe could've seen Kay reliving some childhood memories as he traveled through familiar areas. But we, unfortunately, don't get any of that. Zigryl just tells us that he had a background check done on Kay, what he found out in that check, and then that's it. That's the extent of the exploration. It was so disappointing and just reflected more of that superficiality in various plot points.

Then we have the very last extra, dubbed the “Hidden Chapter,” featuring Schumann, a greedy magician who I actually really liked throughout the story. He seemed so charismatic and firmly planted in his motivations (wealth), which I appreciated. He often seemed like the rock among these flighty and unpredictable main characters. I loved him, and when I realized he was getting his own ‘romance' in this series, I was excited. Until I saw it was with his half-brother. I have to make this clear: I am not here to tell you that you are wrong for liking incest in fiction. If that's your thing, cool beans, but for me, there's nothing that turns me off more than real incest. I don't mind pseudo-incest titles, especially when there is some foundation for it, but this real incest just came out of nowhere. I do love how this romance didn't play out with mutual love, much like Kay and Zigryl's relationship, and was entirely predicated on Schumann wanting his brother's wealth in exchange for his ‘love.' But I still wasn't fond of the incest out of nowhere. I wish this had some kind of foundation interlaced throughout the main story, but here we are.

Before I close out, I want to touch on the quality of the writing. It feels very clunky, often intermingling multiple POVs within a single paragraph, which makes it hard to follow. The first sentence might be Kay's thoughts on something, and then it will talk about Zigryl feeling some way about it. Then, close out the entire paragraph with Schumann's thoughts. There are also many times when words are misspelled or sentences are broken into fragments without much meaning. One particularly unfortunate section is towards the end when “ladder” is misspelled as “latter” multiple times. I'm prone to my fair share of grammar and spelling snafus, so I try to show grace, but the multiple POVs in the same paragraphs mixed with the grammar and spelling mistakes just make this a challenging read overall. With translated titles, it's hard to say how much is on the original versus how much is on the translation, but either way, it is tough.


This was a pretty big disappointment for me. I was really looking forward to this title because I had heard so many interesting things about it, including some of my favorite things, like and male pregnancy. While those things are present, which is great, other major story elements are abandoned or cast off. Pair that with muddled writing, and it just doesn't turn out the way I wish it would have. I still think this is interesting, and some people probably would enjoy it, but it ultimately wasn't for me.

Have you read The Flower of Alosha? If so, what do you think? Do you agree with my assessment? Do you not? Let me know, and comment below!

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2 thoughts on “Novel Review | The Flower of Alosha by Jang Ryang”

  1. “but there is also a subplot where there are ghosts in Edor, including that of a young girl Kay estimates to be about 15. Kay ends up being momentarily transported into her experience, where he is then gang-raped within her body.”

    Woah. That feels… well, that has to be a lot, and just seems more exploitative than doing anything truly meaningful. I guess you could say that about any noncon “romance”, but especially so here. The world sounds interesting though and that cover art is gorgeous.

    Multiple POVs in paragraphs?! Oof. I have to admit I end up shying away from BL novels because either you have the MTLs of unlicensed works or some struggles with translation qualities. That and it is a notably different writing style than western fiction – which isn’t a bad thing at all, it just takes some time to adjust to. I’m still slowly getting through TCGF.

    • That moment still disturbs me so much. The difference, I feel, between this traumatizing moment and “romantic” noncon is the purpose each plays within the narrative. For the scene with the young girl, it plays no role at all with the overarching plot. It could have if the entire Edor plot hadn’t just randomly been abandoned. Seeing her revenge play out in full, having Kay and team try to save Edor and maybe quell her rage in some way might have made the scene more powerful and, in turn, given it purpose, which would’ve made less exploitative (still gross and horrible, but at lease purposeful). With “romantic” noncon, it typically will change one of the characters, their relationship, or something else, giving it meaning to the overall story. Context is key, and the context for the poor girl scene is horrific and nothing else. It could’ve been left out and absolutely nothing about the novel would have changed.

      Reviewing translated novel is so difficult for this reason. I, of course, presume a translator is going to give the most honest depiction of the original message, but it’s still filtered through their lens, and, thus, their bias. So, when I have complaints or issues with a translated novel, I have a hard time being as candid as I might be with another medium because I don’t know how much of the issues are with the author, the translator, or even the editor. That’s not to say manga, manhwa, etc. don’t also have this issue, but novels are more text-heavy, and so there is a higher rate of error, at least in my opinion.

      I totally feel you on adjusting to the various writing styles with danmei, korean novels, ranobe, etc. I love TCGF (and SVSSS), but they’re both slow-going for me for that very reason. I can’t wait to review them, though.


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