Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock (REVIEW)
Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock
Series: Hemlock (#1)
Genre: paranormal, romance, Young Adult
Release: May, 8 2012
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books/HarperTeen
416 Pages pages
Source: Random Act of Kindness
GOODREADS || AUTHOR'S SITE
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.
HEMLOCK didn’t come so much recommended to me as mentioned repeatedly by other bloggers, friends, and casual acquaintances. It was quite by happenstance that I received an ARC thanks to the graciousness of Rachel at Fiktshun (thank you thank you thank you!). I am admittedly not big on paranormal romance YA, preferring my paranormal romance to be adult and complete with sexytimes, but I have to admit, HEMLOCK was a lot better than I expected. While it didn’t meet all of requisites for a five star book, it brought plenty of thrills and surprised me immensely.
Following Mac, a teenage girl living in the sleepy town of Hemlock, we are dropped into a world where werewolves exist and are persecuted for their infections. Mac’s best friend was killed by a werewolf, and now Trackers, an anti-werewolf militia, have shown up looking to capture any wolves they find. Mac is drawn deep into the fight as one of her best friends is wrapped up into the Tracker world, while another harbors dark secrets of his own.
HEMLOCK has one great thing going for it. While it seems predictable, the ending totally threw me through a loop. There wasn’t much foreshadowing towards the big reveal, which annoyed me, but I did enjoy it. The suspense that built with each reveal just kept me reading. After about 50% in, I couldn’t put this book down and was hooked. There was action, there was drama, there was kissing and backstabbing and revelations. It was very soapy at times, but the action and tension was ratcheted up to 11 and I found I couldn’t put the book down until I was at the end.
Mac was not my favorite heroine of all time. She was pushed as strong and heroic, but she came off as wishy-washy. Maybe it was something to do with the writing, but maybe not. She was indecisive and at times foolhardy. Some of her choices were silly, her decisions ill-planned, and her conclusions frankly ridiculous. Likewise, her love interests were at two ends of the spectrum. We have Jason, a reclusive alcoholic still recovering from the death of his ex (Amy, Mac’s BFF) who joins the Trackers to seek revenge, and Kyle, the boy next door with some dark secrets.
TEAM KYLE! Okay, I hate picking teams, but it was all about Kyle for me. Jason was too unstable for me to want anything to do with him, while Kyle was sweet, caring, protective, and even-tempered (mostly). Jason is portrayed as a damaged bad boy with care in his heart, but his actions were downright irresponsible and foolish, even more so than Mac and her silly notions to go down dark alleys at night.
One thing I took issue with was the lack of foreshadowing towards the conclusion, as well as overabundant foreshadowing towards other reveals. The plot alone basically leads you to some conclusions, which left me disappointed for some twists.
But I kept reading, I kept biting my nails in anticipation, and I kept rushing headlong towards the end in excitement. And WHAM! That conclusion was a good one. The reveal, the fight, the teary ending. Peacock in her debut proves that she knows how to pace well and build tension to an utterly dramatic ending.
VERDICT: Although wishy washy with characterization and foreshadowing, HEMLOCK is a dramatic nail-biter that will leave you craving for more the moment you reach the last page. Recommended.
♥♥♥♥ – FOUR HEARTS
FOREIGN COVER COMPARISON
The UK Cover of HEMLOCK, renamed DEADLY HEMLOCK.
I have to admit, I don’t care for the American cover because the girl looking sad in a prom dress doesn’t fit the story, but a girl running through the woods in a red coat (Little Red Riding Hood pun?) from a wolf made out of branches all Blair Witch-style? I like!