Monday, April 30, 2012

Review ~ HEMLOCK (Hemlock, #1) by Kathleen Peacock

Hemlock (Hemlock, #1)
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.

Favorite Quote(s):

"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.


  1. Fantastic review!! I really enjoyed this book. I liked that it wasn't your typical werewolf book where they are secret and people don't think they exist. It made so much more depth to the story that they are known about, but still have to keep their disease hidden for fear of being taken away.

  2. Totally looking forward to reading this one. Werewolves usually aren't my thing AT ALL - I'm even having some trouble getting through the second book of Maggie Stiefvater's series, which everyone else seems to love - but for some reason this one really interests me. I think maybe because they're "out" and everybody knows about them. I love that angle.

  3. Great review! This one has been on my wishlist since forever and I really hope I will get to read it one day. :)

    I've read a lot of werewolf books but unlike you, I had a hard time picking a favorite. Not because I liked so many, but because I didn't like any of them (exception: Soulless). So I'm looking forward to Hemlock, because it looks super intriguing!

    Agnieszka @ Nook of Books

  4. I love the cover of this books. blue and purple go together nicely. :)

    I know what you mean with the whole werewolf thing. I was feeling that way for a while. I had read a bunch, and the I picked up raised by wolves. I wasn't even in the mood for it at the time, but I had it on my shelf and that one was different then the others I had read. A totally different take on it all. I love when that happens, I may have to give this one a try.

    I dont mind sticking to the same paranormals, as long as the author puts there own spin on it and makes it original. :o)

    Oh and did I mention I love this cover? lol

  5. Nice review! I agree that it was a really good book but it was lacking in some areas. I think what I like most was the murder mystery and the twists.

  6. Great review! This is another book I really, really want to read. Werewolf books are actually my favorite reads, so when I first heard about it & read the synopsis, it was quickly added to my TBR :-)

  7. Fantastic review Andrea! I'm really interested in reading Hemlock! it sounds like a decent book!

  8. There are not a lot of YA werewolve stories out there. It always seems that these creatures get lumped in with others in books and hardly get their own spotlight. For that fact alone I am interested. It sounds like a great mix of plots is going on and I love when there is more than just one thing happening.

    I'm glad you enjoyed this one and I certainly like books that don't have the happy ending right away, I like when the characters work for it :)

    Thanks for the great review!


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