May 22, 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.

In this world, werewolves have become a real "threat," the outcome of LS, or Lupine Syndrome. The government announced the reality of what was only seen in horror flicks, and as a result, a subtle war began. People who are infected are no longer seen for the life they've led, but exiled to atrocious prisons that sound like they could rival Nazi concentration camps ~ unlivable.

The hate against werewolves accelerates as a string of messy murders, clearly the work of tooth and nail, put the town of Hemlock on high alert and within radar of the Trackers, an anti-werewolf group.

Peacock works some magic in creating a believable world in which werewolves exist. The fear that any one you know could be infected is tangible, and instead of favoring werewolves like many other YA novels, you tend to have a bad taste in your mouth at first and instead of being in awe, you cringe at werewolves' capabilities.

That prejudice changes and transforms into a love/hate relationship through the eyes of Mac as she tries to unravel the mystery behind her friend's death. Mac discovers truths she could have never imagined, which is saying something because finding out werewolves existed must have been the shock of a lifetime. She tears away the safety of her illusions, losing her old life but finding something much more real and valuable in the process.

I smell a love triangle forming, and so far I'm a big fan of Kyle. He's complicated but steady, and though he makes mistakes, his sincerity and strength melt away any resentments. Jason's a little snot, in my opinion, who barely redeems himself in the end. I get he's the tortured, broody, sexy, ripped guy constantly adorning a leather jacket, which is usually my type, but Jason deserves a double slap in the face and possibly a low-blow to the groin. However, he did his job perfectly in regard to his role in the story, and I'm curious to see what road he and Mac take in the following book.

Amy, Mac's brutally murdered friend, is one of the most interesting characters in the book. Although she's gone, the story wouldn't accelerate without her as her 'ghost' becomes an extension of every other character. In a way, everything evolves and results because of her.

As is customary in a series, the ending left us with a few unanswered questions, but this cliffhanger wasn't too much to handle, thank goodness. I loathe gaping cliffhangers, but this one left just enough closure and satisfaction, allowing room for curiosity.

I loved this book. Kathleen's writing style and character development is grasping, and as an aspiring writer, I found myself taking notes. They mystery, hints of romance, betrayal, and life-threatening situations makes this a page-turner and a must-read.

***I'm giving away a copy of this marvelous novel! Enter here!***

Happy Reading Everyone :)

~ Keely ~

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