Kenneth Oppel has done it again. He has to be one of the most versatile writers out there: every book he writes is different from the last, and they are all solidly good to fantastic. Bloom is on the fantastic side of the scale. It's the most entertaining plant-based apocalypse since Little Shop of Horrors.
There has needed to be a book about invasive aliens ever since the gardening world decided that's what they should call introduced plant species that run rampant over native species and become impossible to eradicate. Oppel has obviously had to deal with invasive aliens, because he understands how terrifyingly inimical to human life they can be. I know from personal experience that Himalayan blackberries have an intelligent malice and are actively hostile; so is Scottish broom. In Eastern North America I think it's kudzu. Alien plant species taking over the planet is an entirely plausible scenario!
I love that Oppel sets Bloom on Salt Spring Island, iconic home to the most down-to-earth, organic, genuine, eccentric collection of farmers and artists in Canada. It just makes the wrongness of the black spiky grass that appears everywhere overnight that much more offensive. (Side note: I read a review that thought the community's swift and organized response to the crisis was unrealistic, but it didn't read that way to me at all. That's kind of how we do things here.)(*Waves Canadian flag a little bit.*)
I love the way he uses allergies: I don't want to say anything spoilery, but I think he also has personal experience of how disabling they can be!
Kudos for all the present, supportive and intelligent parent figures—they're actually involved in solving the problem but there's a plausible reason why the three teen protagonists have a key role.
Bloom is not as creepy as Nest, which was quiet, slow-burn, seriously-mess-up-your-head horror. Bloom is fast and loud and full of peril that can be attacked with chainsaws. (I love that everyone on Salt Spring Island knows how to use a chainsaw!)
Great fun! Hmm. Need a fun vegetarian meal for my food analogy—is that a contradiction in terms?! Maybe veggie pizza! Yes, with those banana peppers to give it some spice. And now I'm going to listen to the Arrogant Worms Vegetable song.