Author: Kathleen Peacock
Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books
Series: Hemlock #1
Released: May 8, 2012
First Line: "Blood ran down my hands in thin rivers."
From Goodreads: "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.
Kathleen Peacock's thrilling novel is the first in the Hemlock trilogy, a spell-binding urban fantasy series filled with provocative questions about prejudice, trust, lies, and love."
My Thoughts:"Old people asked each other where they'd been when JFK was shot; my generation asked each other if they could remember the day werewolves officially came out of the closet."
Alright, I'm going to go ahead and warn you that I'm partial towards werewolf books *stupid grin*. So this review may be a little biased because I'm more willing to forgive flaws in werewolf books because I love werewolves so much. I know, I'm hopeless. *sigh*
Anyways, on with the review!
I really liked the world that Kathleen Peacock created that gave a fresh take on werewolves. The government has admitted that werewolves exist, and rehabilitation camps have been set up across the country. Anyone with Lupine Syndrome or LS is required to turn themselves in and are sent to live out their lives in these camps. Of course, not everyone turns themselves in and many live in secret among humans. That's why there are the Trackers, an extremist group that goes around trying to uncover werewolves in hiding and send them to the rehabilitation camps.
The Trackers, and especially their leader, Derby, gave me chills. They were ruthless and cruel and when they made a threat you knew it wasn't a bluff. Several aspects of the story actually reminded me somewhat of WWI. The werewolves are seen as an inferior race and sent to rehabilitation camps, similar to what happened with the Jews with concentration camps (though no horrifying mass killings). The Trackers come to Hemlock and begin recruiting teens, which reminded me of the Natzis and the Hitler Youth. Posters are put up around Hemlock urging people to turn in those who they knew or suspected to be werewolves, just as people were urged to turn in Jews. These similarities to a real-life event made the Trackers all the more frightening and chilling to me. It also made me think about racism and prejudice in real-life.
For the most part I really liked the plot--having the culprit they're looking for be a werewolf gave it an interesting twist to the age-old murder mystery. There was plenty of suspense as well as some action and twists. There was also a touch of romance, but I'm sad to say the romance part just didn't work for me.
A large part of this was because Kyle's character wasn't developed enough for me to become really attached to him. I felt like all I knew about him was that he had been friends with Mac for 3 years, had shaggy brown hair, and a crazy ex. I felt like I didn't really know him. Other characters like Serena and Trey were a bit more developed, but still could have used more work. I felt like the most developed characters in the story were Mac and Jason. I really liked Mac, though at times the drama going on between her, Kyle, and Jason sometimes got annoying and confusing.
Recommendations:Overall, the mystery/action part of this plot kept me reading late into the night even though the romance didn't work for me. I would recommend this book to those who enjoy werewolf stories, but don't raise your expectations too high for the romance part.
My Rating:Writing: 4/5
Kept me interested: 5/5
If you've read Hemlock, what did you think? What is the best werewolf book you've read? Please, do tell! :D