Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Book Review: Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock

Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock
Series: Hemlock Trilogy, Book #1
Published: May 8th, 2012
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
404 pages (hardcover)
Genre: Young adult paranormal mystery/romance
Acquired this book: Gift from Molli at Once Upon a Prologue
Warning: May contain spoilers
{GoodReads || Purchase this book: Book Depository || Amazon}

Synopsis: 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.

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

Hemlock is a dark and compelling story with a bit of everything - action, suspense, and romance - woven with a dynamic cast of characters.

I’ve read several werewolf novels, and I particularly liked the concept of Hemlock - werewolves were people infected with lupine syndrome from either a bite or a scratch, and if they were identified as being infected, they were sent to internment camps for the rest of their lives so they couldn’t infect anyone else. I thought it was an interesting, unique spin on werewolf lore. I loved that the weres were ‘out’ - people knew about them, and that they were a real threat. I also thought the Trackers were a great addition - the bad guys that were supposed to be good guys, saving people from werewolves, but they had their own menacing and often deadly agenda. Their presence added to the overall dark and tense feel of the book.

As for the characters, they really made this book. Mac was a very genuine, relatable character. Her emotions really rang true, whether it was fear, worry, happiness, or love. My heart ached for her as secrets and lies were uncovered, and she had trouble knowing who to trust or what to do. She was strong, smart, independent, stubborn, and loyal, and I really felt like I connected to her.

The other characters were just as compelling - Jason, Amy’s haunted and broken boyfriend; Kyle, Mac’s best friend who has a secret of his own; Tess, Mac’s cousin/guardian; and Amy, who despite being dead was a large presence in the story through memories and Mac’s nightmares. She was Mac’s best friend, but Mac slowly learns that there were a lot of things she didn’t know about Amy, and it added to the mysterious feel of the story.

While I’m not one of those people who is fanatically opposed to love triangles, sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t; in the case of Hemlock, it definitely worked. Although I was rooting for Kyle from the beginning, there were moments when things were revealed that almost had me wavering. Both Jason and Kyle have their good points, but I think Kyle - sweet, protective, and loyal - is the type of guy Mac needs in her life. She’s certainly strong enough that she doesn’t need anyone to save her or ‘take care of her’, but I think if she did, Kyle would be the perfect choice. As for the love triangle itself, I think it was really well done. It wasn’t forced or irritating the way some triangles are, and the romance wasn’t in your face - it felt natural.

A fantastic debut in a trilogy that’s sure to be a hit, Hemlock is gripping and memorable, and is sure to enthrall fans of paranormal, romance, and mystery.

On a side note: I’ve been trying to get my mum to read YA for quite awhile now. When Hemlock arrived, she read the synopsis and thought it sounded really good, so as soon as I was finished reading it, she read it and loved it. I’m still in shock!

Have you read Hemlock? What did you think? How do you feel about love triangles? What are some of your favourite werewolf books?



  1. Great review, I loved Hemlock too :] In some ways it reminded me of WWII (like the themes of prejudice, how the Jews were treated vs. how the werewolves were treated).

    And that's so awesome that your mom loved it! I wish my mom would read YA lol

  2. PERFECT review! It's kinda cool how closely our thoughts on this one line up. KYLLLLLLE. :D

    But yeah I loved the world-building in this one and I am DYING for book 2.

  3. This one sounds unique. Not the whole werewolf thing but the take on it. I might just have to try it.

  4. Is Hemlock part of a series? Oh wait, yes "fantastic debut in a trilogy". Never mind

    It looks all right - I love your review, but I'm just getting tired of the same old love triangles and supernatural creatures, you know?


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