Monday, April 16, 2012

Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock

Hemlock by Kathleen PeacockARC received by Harper Collins via Edelweiss
Release Date:  5-8-2012
Reviewed by:  Middle Sis Jenn
The Sisters Say: A haunting tale that adds a new dimension to the werewolf drama.

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.

After reading Hemlock, I find myself stuck in Limbo, not really able to decide how I feel about it.  I am not particularly fond of werewolves, but after seeing the gorgeous cover, I was hoping that this book would change my mind.  Did it?  Hmmm....jury's still out.  I mean, if you look at my list of "likes vs. dislikes" then you would say that it definitely changed my mind, but the dislikes seemed to weigh heavier on me.  However, I do believe this book will gain a following and many people will enjoy it.  So, instead of just jumping in to the things that disappointed me, lets start with the aspects that will bring me back for the second installment.
What did I like about it?
There was great imagery in the transition from man/woman to wolf.  I found it interesting how Kathleen Peacock described the doubling over and snapping of bones (ouch!).  I really liked this idea versus Stephenie Meyer’s snap your fingers and bada bing you’re a wolf description.  This just seems so much more realistic, the fact that shapeshifting can be painful and ugly.  I think she did a great job of using this idea of the transformation to symbolize how the lupine disease can strangle you from the inside. 
I really like Kyle, one of Mac’s love interests.  He seems very genuine with a hint of I’ll-kick-your-butt if you cross me.  He was definitely the most believable of the characters, and I would probably read book 2 just to see what happens with him in the future.
Amy is haunting Mac’s dreams, and I can’t tell if it is actually a haunting or just Mac’s subconscious going wacky.  Either way, her dreams are very intense, and I think they were my favorite part of the book.  The dreams were macabre and full of gruesome foreboding which stood out from the rest of the novel.  I really think that Kathleen Peacock has a way with words when it comes to these grotesque hauntings--and I'm hoping there's more to them than meets the eye! 
I found the layers of prejudice to be very reminiscent of true human behavior, and the Literature teacher in me finds it fascinating and wants to dissect it even more.  But, I'll let you do that for yourself!
The ending….peeked my interest just enough for me to wonder what’s to come in the next installment.
What disappointed me?
The romance was very bland, and since romance is the part of books that I really LOVE to read, it disappointed me that this love triangle was so anticlimactic.  It was very wishy-washy, back and forth, and I got to the point where I wanted to thump Mac…hard.
There were parts of the plot that were slow and predictable.  I wanted something to really make me say, “No way,” but that point never came.  I still read the book in a day because it was a fast read, but it wasn't one of those books that made me want to skip lunch because I couldn't put it down.
So…I’ll leave you with a few answered q’s:
Did I enjoy reading it?  There were times I was reading because I wanted to know more and other times I was reading to get to the end.
Will I read the sequel?  Probably, especially if the cover is awesome.  Plus, I want to find out about the Amy hauntings.
Would I recommend this book?  To those who like werewolves yes, but if you are like me and even dislike Jacob, you might find this book is not for you.