Thursday, July 19, 2012

Review: Hemlock

by Kathleen Peacock
Published May 8th, 2012 by Katherine Tegen Books

Mackenzie and Amy were best friends.
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 boy-friend, 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.

Rating: 3.75 stars

Hemlock is a book that, from what I’ve seen, has received some mixed reviews. Some people gush about how amazing it is and absolutely love what the author’s done with the whole concept of werewolves. Others, on the other hand, have deemed this book to be a stereotypical YA paranormal romance, with nothing new to offer.
My position? Well, I’m somewhere in the middle.
Not terribly helpful, I know… but here, let me explain:

I’m not an avid werewolf book reader, but out of the ones I have read, I can honestly say that Hemlock’s take on werewolves is very unique in YA. It was fresh and new and very interesting to read about. In the world of Hemlock, the existence of werewolves is common knowledge, and because of people’s fear of them, those who are infected with the Lupine disease  is sent into these awful camps where they’re treated as sub-humans. There’s a civilian organization called the Trackers who enforce all the “rules” regarding werewolves. These people are brutal. Like a you-want-to-kick-them-where-the-sun-don’t-shine kind of brutal.

The biggest hook for me, the thing that kept me flipping page after page, was definitely the mystery. That aspect of the book was really good! I love a good who-done-it kind of mystery that generates so much suspense that I’m half tempted to just flip to the end and find the answers!  The urge to find out who the murderer was and what secrets were being kept will keep you glued to this book!

As for the characters, I think Kathleen Peacock gave a good variety of personalities to tell her story. With regards to Mac, the main character, I liked her, but I didn’t really love her. Or, I guess to be more specific, I just didn’t really connect with her like I wanted to. It’s not that she was annoying or poorly written, but sometimes, she did things that I didn’t particularly agree with and couldn’t help but think that she just didn’t think things through.

*SLIGHT spoilers in the next paragraph, so read at your own risk!*
Mac’s two best friends, Kyle and Jason were good characters that made up the other sides of the love triangle, providing a nice contrast to one another. Oh yes, did I forget to mention that there’s a love triangle in this book? To be honest, I was not crazy about the love triangle—I mean, I could see each boy’s appeal, but I just didn’t get what made them both so enamored with Mac, so willing to risk everything for her. And I already have a feeling that there’s going to be a lot of relationship angst in the next book. *Sigh* Upchuck.
Strangely enough, Amy, despite being deceased, was a character that really interested me. I almost wish that the author could write a prequel focusing on Amy’s story because I would LOVE to read about her relationships. Especially the one with a boy that, to me, could give Kyle and Jason a good run for their money on the swoon-worthy scale. I honestly think her love story would make a better book thank more love triangle angst.
*END OF SPOILER section*

All in all, I liked this book. Didn’t really fall out of my chair over how amazing it was. But I didn’t despise it either. Will I be reading the sequel? Yes. I’m definitely anxious to see where Kathleen Peacock takes us in this world of werewolves and Trackers. 

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