The Vengeful Half

The Vengeful Half

This novel contains interior comics and art by the author.Olivia might look human, but she’s grown up with a heavy secret: her mother is a potion-maker who fled her home in a parallel world, the Hidden Lands. Alfred is the blind, charismatic young heir to the illegal potions trade. When Olivia's mother is kidnapped by the magic dealers with whom she once made a bad bargain...

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Title:The Vengeful Half
Author:Jaclyn Dolamore
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Vengeful Half Reviews

  • Jaclyn

    My new novel is out today and I feel fully justified in giving it 5 stars because I reread this book three more times just for fun before I started sending out review copies...the last time it was just mine.

    I've had a hard time letting this go. I am consumed with feelings. I've spent a long, looong time with these characters and this world.

    This is the first book I've released that is 100% me. I had a blast drawing comics and illustrations that are peppered throughout the book. All of my passions

    My new novel is out today and I feel fully justified in giving it 5 stars because I reread this book three more times just for fun before I started sending out review copies...the last time it was just mine.

    I've had a hard time letting this go. I am consumed with feelings. I've spent a long, looong time with these characters and this world.

    This is the first book I've released that is 100% me. I had a blast drawing comics and illustrations that are peppered throughout the book. All of my passions and interests have contributed to the world. It has humor and my favorite romance I've written and doll people and so many quirky pop culture references and complicated magical organized crime families. I loved every minute of writing it and I hope you'll love it too. =)

  • Cherry (_forevermint)

    I’m not a difficult reader to please, so if you give me a cool new fantasy world with interesting characters and laugh out loud moments? I’m beyond happy. The Vengeful Half was enjoyable in so many ways. It was a great book to read just before bed to wind down after a long and exhausting day. Despite the seriousness of the events and the high stakes, Jaclyn Dolamore entertains with her witty sense of humor and unique brand of comics. The story could have been read without the comics, but the exp

    I’m not a difficult reader to please, so if you give me a cool new fantasy world with interesting characters and laugh out loud moments? I’m beyond happy. The Vengeful Half was enjoyable in so many ways. It was a great book to read just before bed to wind down after a long and exhausting day. Despite the seriousness of the events and the high stakes, Jaclyn Dolamore entertains with her witty sense of humor and unique brand of comics. The story could have been read without the comics, but the experience is so much more fun with them added to the story. It’s probably why I enjoyed reading about the characters so much.

    The world building was well thought out and embedded throughout the story which was great. There are three races in the Hidden Lands, the Miarlems with telepathic abilities, the Daramons who are the superior sorcerers, then there are the Fanarlem–dolls with souls inside of them. But it’s not all unfamiliar because there’s a lot of American pop culture thrown into the mix. In a kind of crazy way it made everything more believable.

    Overall, the characters are well-developed and interesting to read about. Olivia and Alfred are the main stars of this novel and it’s no secret the two begin to develop feelings for each other. What I enjoyed was how the whole romance aspect didn’t drown out the main plot of the story but helped it in some ways. Olivia is a fresh new face in the sea of young adult heroines. Her greatest weakness is that she "enjoys being boring". When I read that, I kind of loved her already. She’s also sensible and resourceful, handling situations responsibly despite all that’s going on in her life. Alfred on the other hand, might as well be a prince, being an heir to a wealthy family and all. Even if that wealth is built on illegal potions trade. Despite what his family does for a living, Alfred is kind, thoughtful and reliable. Beware of this one though, he’s a sweet talker. Once you meet him, “bellora” might become your favorite word. There are tons of other awesome characters in this story that I would love to go on about but this review would never end. Just know that even the side characters are fun and lovable (i.e. George & the Alamonts).

    When the author, Jaclyn Dolamore, contacted me saying she was looking for reviewers who enjoy anime & manga, I was thrilled to be getting her book before it came out. In case you didn’t know, I’ve loved anime ever since I was a little girl thanks to shows like Sailor Moon and Pokemon. The Vengeful Half was humorous and charming in a way that was reminiscent of my favorite mangas/anime. If you like manga/anime, this is an epic blend of young adult fiction and entertaining illustrations that’s a must read! And even if you’re not familiar with anime or manga, I would still recommend The Vengeful Half because it’s full of hilarious comics, unpredictable twists and charming characters.

    *this is a variation of the review posted on

  • Rick Silva

    Prose novel with comic segments and sketches drawn by the author at the end of each chapter.

    Olivia and her mother have been living in hiding in various locations around America, but their past finally catches up to them, as Olivia's mom is abducted by agents from the Hidden Lands, a dimension of magical beings living in a world that has absorbed a great deal of 20th Century Earth technology and culture.

    When Alfred, the eldest son of a powerful Hidden Lands crime family, offers to bring Olivia to

    Prose novel with comic segments and sketches drawn by the author at the end of each chapter.

    Olivia and her mother have been living in hiding in various locations around America, but their past finally catches up to them, as Olivia's mom is abducted by agents from the Hidden Lands, a dimension of magical beings living in a world that has absorbed a great deal of 20th Century Earth technology and culture.

    When Alfred, the eldest son of a powerful Hidden Lands crime family, offers to bring Olivia to the Hidden lands to help her mom, Olivia is thrust into the midst of ancient conflicts between powerful forces, including a mysterious telepath who seems to know secrets from Olivia's past lives.

    This was a good mix of powerful fantasy with intrigue and romance. The world is intentionally excessively pretty, but it holds many dark secrets beneath the glittering surface, and there is a great deal of background development that adds depth to the story.

    The characters are likeable, and there is a lot of light humor and fun, but the ending packs an emotional punch.

    The comic segments of the book are mostly short asides that flesh out scenes that got a mention, but were not actually played out in the prose, along with some sketches that give visuals to the characters or add to the worldbuilding. The art style fits nicely with the flavor of the world.

    This was fun, and it had quite a bit going on, with plenty of potential for further stories.

  • Devyn

    I received this book from Goodreads.

    It has been so long since I have read a fantasy that actually

    like fantasy.

    It was like I was asphyxiating and suddenly someone pumped the room full of oxygen.

    The Vengeful Half has all the wonder and strange curiosities my wonder-lusting heart could ask for. I could feel all the thought that went into this book- all those hours of imagining and dreaming sunk into the ink on ever page.

    It is truly a one of a kind unique book all on its own. Add some art, in

    I received this book from Goodreads.

    It has been so long since I have read a fantasy that actually

    like fantasy.

    It was like I was asphyxiating and suddenly someone pumped the room full of oxygen.

    The Vengeful Half has all the wonder and strange curiosities my wonder-lusting heart could ask for. I could feel all the thought that went into this book- all those hours of imagining and dreaming sunk into the ink on ever page.

    It is truly a one of a kind unique book all on its own. Add some art, including brief comic strips, and -boom! One helluva tale!

  • Zippergirl

    The Vengeful Half is a fairy tale with no fairies; less grim than the Brothers Grimm. Pointy ears and portals to Atlantis and nothing here to scare fraidy-cats or violate pubescent minds. If you enjoy stories with 'Rodents of Unusual Size' and 'Pits of Eternal Stench,' you've come to the right place.

    The illustrations are cute/funny sketches by the author, who also drew the cover art. I thought all the characters pretty much looked the same, like mini-Vulcans. I did love when Jaclyn (the author

    The Vengeful Half is a fairy tale with no fairies; less grim than the Brothers Grimm. Pointy ears and portals to Atlantis and nothing here to scare fraidy-cats or violate pubescent minds. If you enjoy stories with 'Rodents of Unusual Size' and 'Pits of Eternal Stench,' you've come to the right place.

    The illustrations are cute/funny sketches by the author, who also drew the cover art. I thought all the characters pretty much looked the same, like mini-Vulcans. I did love when Jaclyn (the author and artist) popped in, à la Alfred Hitchcock, and explained how the Hidden Lands came to her twenty years ago after watching a particular Tim Burton movie, with drawings of some of earliest incarnations of several main characters. The second book in the series is coming this summer.

    The Vengeful Half is fantasy-lite, not a lot of real highs or lows, but a congenial little diversion.

    I received this book from net galley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  • Marguerite

    3.5 Stars.

    The Vengeful Half was a delightful, and often hilarious read, interspersed with cute, amusing drawings by the author. The fantasy world and magic system was unique, though as a reader, a little confusing to understand without having to flick back. The plot certainly travelled in directions I had not considered and the ending was bittersweet, but still promising future adventure.

    Breaking it down even more, I found the MC, Oliver, very fascinating, though on another level, I feel like I

    3.5 Stars.

    The Vengeful Half was a delightful, and often hilarious read, interspersed with cute, amusing drawings by the author. The fantasy world and magic system was unique, though as a reader, a little confusing to understand without having to flick back. The plot certainly travelled in directions I had not considered and the ending was bittersweet, but still promising future adventure.

    Breaking it down even more, I found the MC, Oliver, very fascinating, though on another level, I feel like I don't know her at all, which I think might be the point as this series has another three books of character exploring to undertake. Alfred has to be my favourite character, followed by George - the banter between those two had me in laughter constantly. I really liked the diversity of Alfred being blind, which doesn't happen often, and I felt that he was more awesome for his attitudes towards being blind than less. Estra, Anubis and Lester were very interesting and I wouldn't mind a book just on them as a family!! Seriously, Anubis as a 'cute' Grim Reaper had me laughing (especially with the drawings!).

    The plot moves quickly and jumps from one action scene to another, which did feel a little choppy at times. As I mentioned earlier, I didn't know what to expect next and the story definitely took some unexpected and fascinating turns. Overall, the plot was fast and enjoyable.

    I really liked the idea of the fantasy world, but even by the end, I just didn't feel like I understood it - I'm still super confused about how what relates to who, especially as Oliver (and the other characters) would go on like they know everything and expect the reader to know as well, but particularly early on, I had no clue at all - I little more background would have helped. I would just start thinking that I had the general idea, then another term would pop up and I'd be confused again. The world probably could use a tiny bit more fleshing out, in my opinion, as it just didn't feel immersive enough. This was the case very much at the beginning - when magical terms and cultures were being thrown around, I had no idea what was happening.

    I LOVED the author's little comics and drawings - they were adorable and certainly add to the book (I was surprised that how I imagined stuff was often different from what the author had thought and depicted in her drawings)

    Overall, The Vengeful Half was a unique fantasy book, with magical cultures, people and a world that I certainly haven't come across before. The characters were fun, and the tone of the novel, in general, was light-hearted. The drawings add to the book, and I am certainly keen to read on. Certainly a recommendation to anyone who enjoys a read with magic and lots of laughter!

    *Thank-you to Catlord Press and Net Galley for this ARC. I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review*

  • Maranda  @ Melange of Reviews

    Olivia grew up in America and knows little of the Hidden Lands. After her mother is abducted she is forced to trust two strangers to help her. They take Olivia to the Hidden Lands to find her mother. Atlantis, a city in the Hidden Lands, isn't quite the fantasy world Olivia always pictured. There are cell phones, airplanes, and a surprising amount of American pop culture.

    I quite enjoyed the technologic

    Olivia grew up in America and knows little of the Hidden Lands. After her mother is abducted she is forced to trust two strangers to help her. They take Olivia to the Hidden Lands to find her mother. Atlantis, a city in the Hidden Lands, isn't quite the fantasy world Olivia always pictured. There are cell phones, airplanes, and a surprising amount of American pop culture.

    I quite enjoyed the technologically advanced magical world. I enjoyed most of what I saw of the Hidden Lands actually. I was surprised by how a book touching on issues of racism and mind control could be such a light read. The second you hear three warring races or slavery you expect a book to be heavier. The hilarious comics and dialogue made a read full of substance somehow feel like a fluff read. Yes, there is a plot, it's a great plot, but it's never mentally taxing.

    Jaclyn Dolamore talked about first inventing the Hidden Lands in 1993. The world was so well built that I actually wondered if it was based in some mythology I didn't know much about. (Seriously, I googled Miralem expecting mythology and got some Bosnian dude instead.) There was so much thought put into the past of both the characters and the history of the Hidden Lands that you can't help but be impressed. I complained early on about giant info dumps but there isn't another way to present this much lore.

    I really enjoyed the cast of characters, they all had varying personalities that seemed to leap off the page. The characters each had quirks and strengths that made them feel real to me. Olivia is a home schooled, antique-loving girl who longs for family and a sense of belonging. Alfred is a prideful, blind, history buff who's only wish is to take over his fathers potion-making industry. They have a bit of a budding romance which was well done in my opinion. Too often the romance overshadows the plot, I would just read romance if I wanted a romantic focus. It also didn't fall into either hate turns to love or love at first sight, these are both annoyingly overdone, again in my opinion. The non-main characters were just a fully thought out. George is a pop culture loving sanarune who is just the best friend a guy could ever have. Thessia is a beautiful, equal rights activist with more going on than there seems on the surface.

    Lastly I was happy to see that actions had effects all throughout the book. Not just on the character in question but those around them as well. All too often books have the mentality of all cause to further the plot but no effect ever. (For example, cheats on husband, gets caught, very little reaction, they stay together. That just doesn't happen!!) In The Vengeful Half effects were still taking place from actions years before, kind of a driving factor for the entire book. I respect and enjoy that. It takes a lot of effort to analyze what's being done at every step and what the ramifications will be. When the effort is taken you get a book that seems seamless, everything just flows and is.

    Overall I found the book to have a great setup and characters. I think this series will be a blast to finish and things can only get more interesting from here. I will definitely be reading the second book in the series and can hardly wait! Thank you Jaclyn Dolamore for contacting me about reading this book, it was right up my alley and I had fun.

  • Kirsten Tattersall

    4.25/5 stars. I received this book from the author through LibraryThing in exchange for an honest review. This was not a serious book, almost in the sense that it didn't take itself seriously. Not at all, and I think that's the reason I was able to like it as much as I did. There were a few "serious" bits, but not so much that it can't be considered a light read. One of the coolest bits of this book were that one of the POV characters is blind, and to him and the other POV character, it wasn't a

    4.25/5 stars. I received this book from the author through LibraryThing in exchange for an honest review. This was not a serious book, almost in the sense that it didn't take itself seriously. Not at all, and I think that's the reason I was able to like it as much as I did. There were a few "serious" bits, but not so much that it can't be considered a light read. One of the coolest bits of this book were that one of the POV characters is blind, and to him and the other POV character, it wasn't a huge thing. It was just a thing.

    To be honest though, I wasn't a huge fan of the main characters. They were a bit flat and this book did suffer from a bit of insta-love, although it was more along the lines of infectious infatuation. I would have rather had the book be about Lester or Anubis, or really any other Fanarlem in the book. I'd read the heck out of a book with a POV from one of them. They were just so lovable seemed more real than the actual POV characters.

    Overall it was an enjoyable read and I will be picking up the second one when it comes out, because sometimes you just need a book that isn't serious.

  • Kristen Burns

    *I received a free ecopy of this book via YA Bound Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.*

    This book was well-written enough I think, but the problem for me was that it wasn’t at all what I was expecting from the blurb. I was expecting a kidnapped mother, a girl whisked away to some other realm, lots of action and adventure and maybe some semi-dark and emotional scenes as she searched for her mother and pieced together clues, ran from and/or battled the villains, and got

    *I received a free ecopy of this book via YA Bound Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.*

    This book was well-written enough I think, but the problem for me was that it wasn’t at all what I was expecting from the blurb. I was expecting a kidnapped mother, a girl whisked away to some other realm, lots of action and adventure and maybe some semi-dark and emotional scenes as she searched for her mother and pieced together clues, ran from and/or battled the villains, and got to know the mysterious guy she had no choice but to trust if she ever wanted to see her mother again… but it wasn’t like that. Yeah her mother was kidnapped and she went to another realm, but her mother was just taken to a cushy prison where Olivia stayed in the apartment with her, so there was no searching or action or adventure, and then the whole book ended up being about politics. A small fraction of the story involved Olivia’s telepathic powers and a villain, but it was mostly about the families who controlled Atlantis and manipulated and schemed to get what they wanted. I

    enjoy politics depending on the book, even though it’s not generally my thing, but I’m sorry to say I didn’t find the manipulating and scheming in this one to be very exciting.

    There were also a couple chapters in the middle that I found strange in which the author interrupted the story to talk about her inspiration and the like. Honestly I was never very into the story to begin with, but, if I had been, it would have completely thrown me out of it.

    I did like, however, that there was a blind character. Some of the impact of his blindness was diminished by his telepathic ability that allowed him to kind of “see” a room and the things around him in a different sort of way, but the telepathy only worked for short periods of time, and it wasn’t perfect. He still tripped and ran into things sometimes, he still needed to take someone’s arm sometimes, he used a text-to-speech program for text messages on his phone, he read in braille, he couldn’t drive, etc. So there was at least

    acknowledgement of his struggles. And it was also nice that he didn’t really see it as a disability. Rather, he saw as just a part of who he was, and that was why he didn’t want to get rid of it even when he had the chance.

    So overall, this wasn’t a book that sucked me in, but I appreciated getting to experience the POV of a somewhat blind character, and it might be more a more enjoyable story to readers who do like reading about politics.

    Anyone looking for a YA fantasy story with a focus on politics rather than action. Anyone who wants to read about a blind POV character.

  • Yzabel Ginsberg

    This is one of those overdue reviews, since I've had this book on my tablet for quite a while. I remember requesting it partly because of its cover (the paperback one -- by comparison, the Kindle cover on Amazon is pretty bland), which seemed quite ominous to me. What can I say, I'm weak when faced with a certain type of cover.

    The plot was intriguing, for sure. A hidden world full of family secrets, alliances to be had, strange m

    This is one of those overdue reviews, since I've had this book on my tablet for quite a while. I remember requesting it partly because of its cover (the paperback one -- by comparison, the Kindle cover on Amazon is pretty bland), which seemed quite ominous to me. What can I say, I'm weak when faced with a certain type of cover.

    The plot was intriguing, for sure. A hidden world full of family secrets, alliances to be had, strange magic (the doll people and the potions), ancient feuds, revelations aplenty, and a hidden enemy who's been bidding her time and is now bent on getting what she wants: possibly revenge... or something else? There's almost too much going on at times. At first I thought it would be more a quest-like story, with Olivia going after her mother and braving danger to save her. It didn't turn out like that, but that was alright, the kind of plot and intrigue it led to was pretty fine with me as well.

    The characters: we have that girl, Olivia, who knows she's from another world/civilisation, without having been brought up in it, which leaves room for showing this land to the reader, without necessarily having to explain *all* of it, since Olivia already knows part of it and we can dispense with. We have Alfred, rich heir and future boss to a crime family, who's blind almost since birth and goes his way without whining about this—he's used to it, he has trouble with some things but has found ways to cope. Alfred also has to constantly remind other people that he can do, not everything but a lot of things: a conundrum close, I think, to quite a few double standards going around disabled people (pitied and treated like children almost, or blamed for "not making enough efforts" by many, instead of being considered as human beings first and foremost...). There's also Thessia, Alfred's fiancée, who could have been a nasty bitch and/or a jealous whiner, especially since she fits the too-beautiful-to-be-true girl, and turns out to be an idealist, an activist, and, well, a fairly decent person to be around, even though she has her downside (Atlantean rich society seems to be hell-bent on having its girls marry rich heirs, and gods forbid they want to have a career of their own...).

    So, all in all, a lot of interesting things here. Unfortunately, a lot more annoyed me, causing me not to enjoy this story in the end.

    From the start, something kept nagging at me, and it took me a while to put my finger on it. At some point, the author mentioned when the story originated (more about that later), back when she was still a child or teenager; I think this was what I "felt" about it, for having gone myself through the same conundrum of taking a story I first created when I was 12 or so, and trying to trim it and make it something worth reading. This was something I found extremely hard to do, because what we perceive as wonderful plot twists and concepts when we're younger aren't necessarily good things to leave as is... yet "upgrading" them is easier said than done. And so, I had that strange feeling that I was reading something I might have written when I was younger, and my reaction to it was a little similar. It's hard to explain. I could sum it up with "this feels like a very early work, and it needs more editing."

    Another thing that bothered me, when it comes to this theme of parallel/hidden worlds, is how close to ours the latter was, when a parallel world could pave the way to so many other things. Let me develop a bit more by giving a personal example: I grew up in France, with a lot of dubbed TV shows originating from the USA, and at the time I had that fascination for the USA. If I wrote a story, I set it in some imaginary US town. Not my home country, no, it wasn't "good enough": it had to be like the USA, feel like the USA, whatever. Obviously it didn't occur to me at the time that Stephen King, for instance, set his stories in his country because that's what he knew, and that I was under the impression everything was better there only because I hadn't been exposed to shows from other countries. (Bear with me, I was 12-something.) And somehow, the way Atlantis people lived reminded me of this: their world felt like it hadn't been so much evolving as trying to mimic Earth's, and more specifically, well, you guess it. "Everything's better if it looks like our world." Kind of like being promised a walk in quaint little streets with exotic market stalls, and finding yourself in a mall instead—Atlanteans driving Ferraris didn't exactly impress me. I'd stand with Olivia on that one, who was expecting a high fantasy world at first and found a place with chocolate and soda cans instead.

    (To be fair, though, all this might still hold more appeal to a teenage audience than it did to me: I also remember thinking "those are plot devices/themes I would've used myself, since I loved them, when I was in my teens." I had that thing going for telepathy and psychic powers in general, and parallel worlds, and "aliens/people with powers coming from those worlds to live hidden on Earth". I seriously doubt I was the only one.)

    Third annoying bit: the somewhat sexist, somewhat dismissive way a few characters tended to act. Alfred disappointed me towards the end when it came to Thessia (pretty assholish move to make if you ask me, and then she's left to go away with the equivalent of "kthxbye see ya later, ah women, they always need some time to calm down huh"). Or what I mentioned above regarding heiresses only good enough to marry—any female character with a position/job of her own seemed to be either a villain or a reject/castaway/fugitive, as if no "proper woman" could hold her own. Although was pointed as backwards thinking, I felt a dichotomy, a certain hypocrisy in how it was mentioned, yet the people mentioning it still kept buying into the patriarchal model nonetheless.

    Fourth: so many tropes. So, so many. You've got it all: pretty boy with a beautiful fiancée against which the main character feels so plain (but still becomes a love interest fairly quickly); people who were supposed to be dead but aren't; telepathy/psychic powers being used and thrown in in vague descriptions, solving things a little too easily at times; mandatory love triangle; elite school in which talking to The Wrong Person will turn you into a black sheep, instantly, just add water. It felt like a soap opera at times, and since I'm not particularly keen on those, it didn't help.

    On the fence: the drawings, comic strips and short inserts. I didn't care about the style, but I can certainly understand the appeal, and who would fault an author for including those and being enthusiastic about it? Not me! However, I think they disrupted the flow of the story in some cases, either by revealing too much about the characters at that specific point or by just being there in the middle (did we really need pictures of the various soda brands?). More annoying though were the written inserts: in between two chapters, we get a bit (twice!) about how the story was born. Not uninteresting, yet... this could and should be put at the end, otherwise it's either disruptive or meant to be skipped, which would defeat the whole point.

    Conclusion: could've been for me, but... nope, sorry.

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