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. ~From GoodReads
Did it pass my "ONE HUNDRED PAGES OR DIE" test? Definitely.
HEMLOCK is a dark, twisty tale of secrets and betrayals. Mackenzie has lost her best friend, Amy to a vicious werewolf attack. Her two other best friends, Jason and Kyle, are acting more peculiar by the day. The Trackers have taken over the town of Hemlock, determined to rid the town of werewolves. But when the secrets and lies begin to unravel, Mac learns that everything she knows is a lie.
I'm not sure that I would have picked up HEMLOCK if I hadn't received an ARC from the publisher. There are a few series with werewolves that I truly enjoy, but after reading so many, I was burned out on the notion. What piqued my interest with HEMLOCK and set it apart was the fact werewolves are out in the open. Well, they're not "out", because they are treated cruelly by the government and general population (think internment camps), but they are known to exist. The Lupine Syndrome is an identified affliction. Those identified as werewolves are rounded up and taken to camps where they are treated as the animals some believe they are. The fear they cause, because of a string of werewolf-murders, is used for political gain. So I guess what I'm trying to say here is: HEMLOCK provides a relevant social statement regarding humane treatment and political deception.
But don't think that this is strictly a book with a strong message. There are BOYS in HEMLOCK!! And even better, they're cute, complicated boys with secrets. Jason, Amy's boyfriend has become hostile, withdrawn and drinks way too much since she died. Kyle is obviously tormented, quiet, and protective of Mac. It took me a while to truly warm up to Kyle and Jason. Much of the book is spent in Mac's head as she tries to sort through what's happening. But when I really got to know them, I was hooked. And although I have my favorite (I'm not telling!), both guys have serious appeal. The swoon-factor was topping out throughout the last half of the book!
Oh wow. I haven't even began to talk about the mc, Mac. She has a troubled family history, which leads her to shut others out. She works to keep what's left of her group together after Amy's death. Mac is conscientious and caring, striving to do what's right and just, even when it puts her at risk.
While I was reading HEMLOCK, I was constantly reminded of a movie. I couldn't place it for a while, but finally the light bulbs came on and I realized: Red Riding Hood. Although many details were different, such as the setting and time period, the overall idea was very similar. Personally, I consider that a good thing, as I really enjoyed the movie.
My only criticism is that I felt the story lagged a bit throughout the middle, and there were a few scenes that felt detail-heavy. Overall, though I really enjoyed HEMLOCK. The ending was so heart-wrenching and for some reason, I didn't see it coming. But I loved those "hurt so good" endings and the epilogue has me dying to read book two.
"Kyle took a deep breath, like he had picked up on the question I hadn't asked. That was one of the differences between him and Jason: Kyle always gave just as much weight and consideration to the things I didn't say as to the things I did." (pg. 137, ARC)
"Because I did love him. I was certain of it. It was in the way I felt when I looked at him and the taste of his name on my lips and how three years of history had brought us to this point.
I was sure." (pg.269, ARC)
Hardcover, 400 pages
Expected publication: May 8th 2012 by HarperCollins
You can pre-order Hemlock at:
Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Book Depository
Source: Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.