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Monday, May 7, 2012

Review: Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock

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 usually avoid werewolf books, so it says something that I was intrigued enough by the premise of Hemlock to pick it up. Though, I admit, the title might have been one of my deciding factors. And that the cover model is wearing a purple dress. I do have a penchant for purple...

Luckily, I ended up enjoying the werewolf aspects of this novel quite a lot... perhaps more than any other werewolf novel I've read. Definitely enough that I'm excited to continue with the next installment and maybe enough that I'll give some other werewolf books a chance. 

In Hemlock, werewolves are public knowledge... and most of the public isn't a fan. The disease that afflicts those who shift into wolves is known as lupine syndrome and is remarkably easy to spread. In a supposed effort to slow and eliminate the spread of the disease, those infected are sent to camps reminiscent of internment camps. The public, and the reader, are only given a vague impression of what goes on in these camps, but I'm hoping that this idea will be further explored in the second book.

The novel centers on Mackenzie, a girl dealing with her best friend's murder by a werewolf. Amy's death was one of four among a series of attacks and the person, or wolf, behind the gruesome murders is still free. Mac can't stop dreaming about Amy and believes the only way to stop her from haunting her sleep is to find out what happened the night her boyfriend found her torn apart in an alley. It doesn't take long for Mac to discover that people - and werewolves - are not at all what they seem... 

Add to the mix that Amy is the daughter of a Senator. Making what might have been a small story into a media frenzy... especially when the Senator, a previous supporter of werewolf rights, completely reverses his stance, going so far as to invite an extremist group known as Trackers into the small town of Hemlock. The Trackers are there under the guise of looking into Amy's death... and crack down on local werewolves. The law stands aside as the Trackers overwhelm Hemlock, recruiting local teens and going to whatever means necessary to root out those hiding their abilities. It doesn't take long for Jason, one of Mac's best friends, Amy's boyfriend - and the one that found her dead - is lured in by the extremist group by the idea of violent retribution.

Though I thoroughly enjoyed the paranormal parts of this novel, there were some other aspects that seemed forced to me. As much as it pains me to say it, I wasn't invested in Hemlock's romantic plot lines. The love interests were all right, but neither really popped for me. I really liked them as characters and can't wait to see how they develop in subsequent novels, but I couldn't bring myself to care who Mac ended up. I'm very hopeful that I'll see some kind of spark or more chemistry in the next book, but, as of right now, I was a bit bored every time there was a romance related scene. I just wanted to learn more about the werewolves and the murders and skip the love scenes.

Despite the fact that the romance missed the mark for me, I really did enjoy Hemlock. The mystery was intense, the paranormal aspects well developed, and discussion of how the public was handling (or not handling) the spread of lupine syndrome was extremely interesting. It appears there will be a change of scenery for book two, and, I won't lie, I wish I had it in my hands right now!

HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Books, May 2012, Hardcover, ISBN: 9780062048653, 400 pages.

Can't afford to run out and buy yourself a copy of Hemlock when it releases on May 8th? Here's you chance to win my arc! Enter below using the handy Rafflecopter form!

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  1. Great review by the way.... This book looks very interesting and cover is so beautiful... Thanks for the amazing giveaway....

  2. I'm definitely intrigued by this novel. Glad you enjoyed it. While you may have been disappointed in the romance aspect, I'm glad. There sometimes is just too much of it in YA. Sounds refreshing!

  3. I am like you, in that I don't read a lot of werewolf books. I've read a couple but that's it. And I am also a sucker for purple and blue on covers so that is part of what made me look into this book further.

    I always get a little sad when I hear the romance isn't amazing but I am excited to try this one out! Great review!

    Thanks for the giveaway! :)

  4. Thanks for the give away I love your reviews

  5. I had problems with the romantic lines, too. While I was so rooting for Kyle and Mac, it was the fact that there was a love triangle dangling that annoyed me. It was typical paranormal romance "Oh! I didn't know everybody loved me!" *eye roll*

    great review, though! I so agree. :)

    Ashelynn @ Gypsy Book Reviews.

  6. That's great that you loved the werewolf aspect in the story, but it is sad to know the romance wasn't all that good. I'm a sucker for romance in paranormal, so it is a little disappointing. I am still excited to read Hemlock though, your review made it sound very interesting. :) Great review!

  7. I would love to read this story. It sounds very good. I love reading paranormal books. Please enter me in contest.

  8. This sounds interesting. I've been reading a lot of contemporary lately, but I enjoy paranormal too.

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. I'm not very into werewolf books, but like you, the title and cover has me interested. Great review! I'll looking forward to this now.

  11. Great review. I've never been big on the werewolf genre either, but little by little it's growing on me. There's something about this cover draws me in too. ;)

  12. Great review, werewolf books are among my fave genre so I have had my eye on this for a while, interesting that the romance aspects didn't have you hooked, I do like a good romance in a novel!

  13. I haven't read to many reviews on this book yet I am still intrigued. It stinks that the romance wasn't there for you but I am still curious on this story. I generally like werewolf tales so I can't wait to see how this turns out.

  14. I think the problem we all have is not with werewolves but with good writing. Good writing makes the most unlikely subjects exciting.

  15. I don't think I've read a werewolf book before but I've heard this is the type of book that will change people's opinion of them because it's THAT good. I have this on my shelf for review and I'm looking forward to reading this one soon. Hopefully it lives up to the hype! I like purple too ;)


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