Official Review: Vengeance Blooms by Chloe Hodge

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Official Review: Vengeance Blooms by Chloe Hodge

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[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Vengeance Blooms" by Chloe Hodge.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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Enter the land of Everosia, where amulets and incantations, wizards, dwarves, elves, and dragons enchant. Beware of toxic venom, vile reptiles, and suspiciously wary soothsayers. As ancient tongues and owl omens uncover long-guarded secrets, quest seekers will discover their true destinies as threats begin to swirl around them. Written by indie author Chloe Hodge, Vengeance Blooms is a YA fantasy novel that’s filled with magic, mystery, mischief, and the olden days of yore. It is the 1st book in the Guardians of the Grove trilogy, and sets quite the scene for spellbinding sequels.

Orphaned Ashalea Kindaris is the sixteen-year-old, silver-haired elvish maiden at the center of this tale. When her parents are gruesomely ripped from her life, she vows to avenge their deaths by any means necessary. As she transforms into a fearless huntress under the tutelage of Magicka training master, elder wizard Wezlan, darkness descends around them and her true quest becomes known. As writhing masses of malevolent shapes, shadows, unspeakable monstrosities, and clawed phantoms surround her, will she be able to escape the clutches of her never-ending nightmare? Will golden beacons of light, unlikely alliances, a budding romance, and contemplative moon gazing rescue her from crippling despair?

Everosia is home to 3 elvish cities and their surrounding villages, and mages train at the esteemed Renlock Academy. The Gates surround a portal in Everosia’s inner sanctum, a portal that serves as a gateway to other dimensions. All races of the realm protect this gateway, and these Guardians of the Grove must combat the added appearance of temporary portholes that have allowed proliferating evildoers to trickle in. Ashalea is tasked with recruiting the newest order of these Guardians. Formidable adversaries are encountered, and tenuous allegiances are made with the Onyxonite clan of assassins. An over-sea journey to the Isle of Dread leaves bodies in its wake, and a fiery conclusion literally fans the flames for subsequent travails. Throats will be slashed, blood will be spilled, but will evil eventually lead these characters to victorious conquest or irreversible ruin?

The realistic relatability of the characters and Hodge’s immersive worldbuilding are both riveting in every regard. The descriptive prose is poetically lovely in examples like: “a speckle of freckles and green eyes that spoke of darker stories.” Carved jade staffs with emerald jewels hold old men upright, and hollowed out trees provide enchanted shelters for woodland dwellers of the realm. But the inevitable fight scenes and bloody battles are just as verbosely vibrant in passages like:
“Monster after monster spat out from its mouth, twisted creations from other dimensions. Where claws raked and rendered, swords slashed and stabbed... Bodies melted into a sickening slosh.”
There is thoughtful inclusion of an illustrated map at the beginning of the novel that helpfully depicts the land of Everosia and all of its subtle nuances, and charming art designs encircle each page number and chapter heading. Pebbled pathways beckon, crystal quarries glisten, water sprites frolic, and pearlescent water dragons shimmer beneath the surface. But towering castles also conceal dungeons, underground sewers, and murky cesspools, where beggars live in abject poverty and ever-flowing excrement.

Themes of torture, parenticide, and mutilated carnage abound, and brothels, corsets, and cleavage make a titillating appearance too. There are a few mentions of flirtatiously provocative innuendos and some brief scenes of fiery lust. Only scattered, borderline profanity is present, so this young adult series would be appropriately suitable for the target age group. This 365-page story is written in British English, and while I found the contents consistently riveting, I did encounter some typographical mistakes and mild grammatical errors throughout. Readers will encounter charming personalities, witty banter, humorous antics, and moments of personal growth and self-discovery. Thrill seekers will delight in joining this cast as they creep down corridors, descend into cursed pits, and wield weaponry with great aplomb. But elves of any age still seek reassurance, and they are just as likely to succumb to shaky moments of arrogance and annoyance. I loved everything about this book, and I'm not normally a fan of the genre.

Renewed vitality is sought and loyalties are tested as heroic acts of self-sacrifice separate the saviors from the sheep. Since the aforementioned errors snuck in just under the quantitative threshold, I can gladly award this book a rating of 4 out of 4 stars. This dark fairytale has all the hallmarks of becoming a fan-favorite epic fantasy trilogy! I eagerly await the release of book two in the series, set to publish later this year. Where else will the story take us, as these Guardians assemble and unite?

******
Vengeance Blooms
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Post by SunVixen »

"The realistic relatability of the characters and Hodge’s immersive worldbuilding are both riveting in every regard."

The realistic relatability of the characters and the immersive worldbuilding are very attractive to me. As I got it, this book is also written in very colorful and vivid language.

Thank you for great review.
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Post by JKO »

I am glad you enjoyed this book. It doesn't sound like my cup of tea. I will pass on this one. This is a well-written review. Thanks.
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Post by NatRose »

Wow, your of Everosia makes me want to pick up this book right now! That combined with quality world-building, relatable characters, and good writing might have earned this novel a place on my TBR. Thanks for the wonderful review!
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Post by RetiredOBNurse »

As I read this review, I felt like I had entered “The Land of Oz”! I have always loved the movie “The Wizard of Oz” as it takes you to a whole different world like I envision Everosia must be. And Ashalea must survive within this realm of torture and fear but yet beauty abounds it seems. Sounds quite exciting in so many ways. So many colorful descriptions of this world and it’s inhabitants have made your review so interesting and fun to read! I enjoyed it immensely, thanks!
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Post by J_odoyo »

Sounds like an engrossing YA fantasy novel. I like books filled with magic, mystery, mischief, and the like. Thanks this wonderful review.
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Post by AvidBibliophile »

SunVixen wrote: 06 May 2020, 04:56 "The realistic relatability of the characters and Hodge’s immersive worldbuilding are both riveting in every regard."

The realistic relatability of the characters and the immersive worldbuilding are very attractive to me. As I got it, this book is also written in very colorful and vivid language.

Thank you for great review.
The characters truly are a group of individuals that you’ll find it easy to sympathize with and root for. And the fantasy world they live in has enchantment shining through every crack, crevice, and portal! Hope you get the chance to check it out sometime, I appreciate you coming by.
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Post by AvidBibliophile »

JKO wrote: 06 May 2020, 06:51 I am glad you enjoyed this book. It doesn't sound like my cup of tea. I will pass on this one. This is a well-written review. Thanks.
This sort of make-believe tale isn’t for everyone, but I still appreciate your comment and feedback!
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NatRose wrote: 06 May 2020, 07:09 Wow, your of Everosia makes me want to pick up this book right now! That combined with quality world-building, relatable characters, and good writing might have earned this novel a place on my TBR. Thanks for the wonderful review!
Everosia drew me in like a moth to the flame, and the action takes off from the very first page. Fantasy fans will delight in meeting such a myriad sampling of magical beings, and this title is even free right now on Kindle Unlimited! I so greatly appreciate your kind comment and feedback. :)
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Post by AvidBibliophile »

RetiredOBNurse wrote: 06 May 2020, 08:58 As I read this review, I felt like I had entered “The Land of Oz”! I have always loved the movie “The Wizard of Oz” as it takes you to a whole different world like I envision Everosia must be. And Ashalea must survive within this realm of torture and fear but yet beauty abounds it seems. Sounds quite exciting in so many ways. So many colorful descriptions of this world and it’s inhabitants have made your review so interesting and fun to read! I enjoyed it immensely, thanks!
The inhabitants are magnetically charismatic, and the darker parts are balanced well against a backdrop of sparkles and shimmers, humor, and sweetness. The pages transport you to another realm entirely! Thank you immensely for your complimentary comment and impressions.
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Post by AvidBibliophile »

J_odoyo wrote: 06 May 2020, 09:04 Sounds like an engrossing YA fantasy novel. I like books filled with magic, mystery, mischief, and the like. Thanks this wonderful review.
Engrossing in every regard! The magical enchantment, mysterious quests, and malevolent mischief practically leap off the pages. I appreciate you taking the time to come by!
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Post by Gianina Buda »

If merely reading your review made me forget what time of day it is and where I am (just kidding, I'm home, just like the rest of the world...), I can't even imagine how absorbing the actual book must be. I am also not necessarily a fan of the genre, although a good book is a good book, irrespective of whether the protagonist is human or elf. Thank you for the entertaining review!
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Post by AvidBibliophile »

GiaB wrote: 06 May 2020, 13:34 If merely reading your review made me forget what time of day it is and where I am (just kidding, I'm home, just like the rest of the world...), I can't even imagine how absorbing the actual book must be. I am also not necessarily a fan of the genre, although a good book is a good book, irrespective of whether the protagonist is human or elf. Thank you for the entertaining review!
Haha, I fully understand that same sense of "escape-while-sheltering-in-place." This protagonist actually being an elf honestly slipped to the back of my mind a few times, until she did something magical or when her silver hair fluttered in the breeze to expose her pointy ears! I was intrigued throughout and couldn't wait to encounter the next wizard or odd creature or dark nemesis that might come along. I hope this book can get some deserved exposure, and since it's free right now through Kindle Unlimited, maybe it can :D I so appreciate you stopping by to read and comment.
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Post by JM Reviews »

This sounds like a thriller. I like the creativity of the author, and how he came up with such a setting. I'll give it a try. Thanks for the review
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Post by AvidBibliophile »

JM Reviews wrote: 08 May 2020, 02:45 This sounds like a thriller. I like the creativity of the author, and how he came up with such a setting. I'll give it a try. Thanks for the review
Thrilling in many regards and so thoughtfully and intentionally creative! This author has a knack for magical storytelling. Thank you for the comment!
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