May 19, 2012

Review: Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock


Author: Kathleen Peacock

Release Date: May 8, 2012
Review Source: Katherine Tegen Books (Publisher)
Format: ARC paperback

Goodreads Description:
Mackenzie and Amy were best friends. Until Amy was brutally murdered.

Since then, Mac’s life has been turned upside down. She is being haunted by Amy in her dreams, and an extremist group called the Trackers has come to Mac’s hometown of Hemlock to hunt down Amy’s killer: A white werewolf.

Lupine syndrome—also known as the werewolf virus—is on the rise across the country. Many of the infected try to hide their symptoms, but bloodlust is not easy to control.

Wanting desperately to put an end to her nightmares, Mac decides to investigate Amy’s murder herself. She discovers secrets lurking in the shadows of Hemlock, secrets about Amy’s boyfriend, Jason, her good pal Kyle, and especially her late best friend. Mac is thrown into a maelstrom of violence and betrayal that puts her life at risk.

Kathleen Peacock’s thrilling novel is the first in the Hemlock trilogy, a spellbinding urban fantasy series filled with provocative questions about prejudice, trust, lies, and love.

I want to start by mentioning how much I love this cover! It's dark and beautiful especially with the vines and the girl kneeling in the woods. Also, they had vines on each new chapter page, which was a little something extra that I adored.

I want to mention that I'm not a huge werewolf fan. I don't go out of my way to avoid them, but I just haven't found any that I was really into. Until I read Hemlock that is. The story is intense and full of twists. There were times when I actually had my mouth hanging open and I was saying things like "No way" out loud while I read. I was guessing up until the very last chapter who the killer was. I love mysteries and stories with great twists - this book did not let me down in that aspect.

The characters are believable, likeable, and well rounded. It's easy to identify with Mac and feel for her situation. What would you be like if your best friend was murdered? There are a few other situations that come to light in the book that make you empathize with Mac even more (I won't go into detail here due to spoilers). The romance part of the book was good. A love triangle of sorts - but really messy. It wasn't really sappy or cliched though, so I thought it was well done. The setting and the story building were wonderful. The story uses such great descriptions that you have no trouble dropping yourself into that world.

I thought it was really interesting how the author made being a werewolf into a medical condition - Lupine Syndrome (or LS as it's called in the book). There were great moments of social prejudice that reminded me of the Nazis with their concentration camps. The fact that LS was a known medical condition made the plot more interesting. The werewolves still had to hide, but not because nobody knew they existed. They had to hide so they wouldn't be caught and/or killed. I thought it was something a bit new for the genre and I liked the way it was presented.

There's so much going on in this book - love, friendship, betrayal, secrets, etc. It's a lot deeper than just a werewolf book. I got to the end and was so sad because I wanted more! I wanted to know what happened next. Then I found out that it's just the first in a series. Needless to say, I am now eagerly awaiting the next installment. I highly recommend Hemlock to werewolf fans and fans of YA paranormal in general. It's an awesome read! 

 Disclosure: I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

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