Friday, June 8, 2012

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Title:  Hemlock
Author:  Kathleen Peacock
Series:  1st book in the Hemlock trilogy
Publisher:  Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date:  May 8, 2012
Source:  Southern Book Bloggers ARC tour

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.



Hemlock isn’t your average werewolf story.  In this book, the existence of werewolves is common knowledge, though the creatures are still feared, as one might expect.  These werewolves are not mythical but exist because of the spread of Lupine Syndrome.  And once a person is discovered to have contracted LS, they are shipped off to internment camps and never heard from again.  The ones who aren’t caught either hide what they are, or they wreak havoc on the humans, further spreading the disease.
I wasn’t immediately grabbed by this book.  I found the first 100 pages or so very tedious, and if I hadn’t received this book for review through an ARC tour, I might have given up on it at that point.  I’m glad I didn’t, though.  It wasn’t the best werewolf-based novel I’ve read, but its unique storyline intrigued me, and once I got past all the angsty, hormonal stuff, the pacing picked up and I was able to enjoy the book.
Unfortunately, Hemlock does stumble into a lot of the plot pitfalls that so many YA novels seem destined for:  a love triangle, cringe-worthy dialogue (at one point, one of the bad guys calls a werewolf sympathizer a “twerp”), and  another case of the love interest running away from the heroine in order to protect her.  Toward the end of the book, when things have hit the proverbial fan, Mac thinks to herself, “It was official:  my life belonged on the CW,” and I couldn’t help thinking how apt her observation was.  Normally, I really dislike those kind of pop-culture references, but in this case, I really could see Hemlock being made into a series on that network.  And I’d watch it, too.
Speaking of the CW…anyone remember Veronica Mars?  I loved that show.  I still watch it in re-runs.  This book reminded me a lot of that show, with Mac super-sleuthing it up, trying to figure out who really murdered her best friend.  I mean, that’s exactly how the show started off:  murdered best friend, killer on the loose, cute girl trying to solve the mystery.  But that’s not the reason I bring it up.  If you remember Veronica Mars, you probably also remember that yummy on-again, off-again boyfriend of hers, one Logan Echolls.  I liked all of the characters in Hemlock well-enough, but I felt like I already knew Jason, the murdered best friend’s boyfriend.  It didn’t take long for me to realize that this character felt so familiar because I’d seen him before…in the form of Logan on VM.  Let’s do a little comparison for demonstration purposes:

Logan Echolls
Jason Sheffield
wealthy son of a famous actor
wealthy son of one of the most powerful man in Hemlock
attractive and cocky
attractive and cocky
murdered girlfriend
murdered girlfriend
hooks up with murdered gf’s best friend, after the fact
declares his feelings for best friend of murdered girlfriend, after the fact
wannabe bad boy
wannabe bad boy
drinks a lot
drinks a lot
always looking for a fight
always looking for a fight
played by Jason Dohring
named Jason


The resemblance is startling, no?  Not that I’m really complaining.  It just seemed so glaringly obvious where the author drew some of her inspiration from.  Just as obvious to me was who the killer was.  Almost as soon as the character was introduced, my hackles were raised.  I found the story to be rather predictable, but that fact didn’t keep it from being entertaining.

If you proceed with caution and don’t expect to be completely wowed by Hemlock, I think you’ll end up pleasantly surprised.  The story covered all the bases:  romance, humor, action, and mystery with a little violence and heartbreak thrown in for good measure.  There’s no cliffhanger, but the ending definitely left me curious enough to pick up the next installment.  Final verdict:  not half bad for this author’s debut.
Rating:  Photobucket 1/2

Book-A-Likes:  Slide by Jill Hathaway, the Nightshade series by Andrea Cremer








16 comments:

  1. Great review, I have this book for a while but I was so busy the last two weeks so I didn't read any book ... I really miss reading. anyway thanks for sharing :)

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    1. Thanks, I hope you enjoy it when you get a chance to read it!

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  2. Hmmmmm interesting review. I've heard nothing but rave reviews about this book so I'm kind of glad I foind a not-so-rave review. I hate it when a book doesn't get going quickly too. I just bought this book but after reading your review I'm kind of nervous about starting it. Anyway, great review and I appreciate your honestly :)

    ~Emily@Emily's Crammed Bookshelf

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    1. Thanks...it wasn't terrible, by any means, but it also wasn't perfect. Ya know what I mean? I hope you still give it a read soon. I'd like to hear what you think of it. :D

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  3. Yep, I also mentioned the Veronica Mars parallels in my review. I was thinking of the whole "solving the dead friend's murder" angle. I hadn't even considered the Logan/Jason parallels.

    Thanks so much for stopping by my blog today! Promise to read DoSaB (it took me a minute to figure that one out) soon.

    And new follower! Veronica Mars fans unite :)

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    1. Ha! I can't wait to see what you think of DoSaB...I've tried forcing everyone I know to read that one. :)

      Thanks for the follow! :d

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  4. hemlock didn't impress me much either

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    1. It was a fun read, just not deep or challenging. But I wasn't really expecting it to be.

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  5. Nice review - too bad you didn't enjoy it more though. I've been looking forward to reading this book but was always a little sceptical. I guess I'll still read it, I'm just not in a hurry!

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    1. Don't let me deter you from it...it was still fun, especially if you love Veronica Mars. :P

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  6. This book sounds pretty interesting, I don't think I'll read it anytime soon but I will eventually!

    The whole Veronica Mars parallels are a little crazy, but I really liked that show, so hopefully I'll like this book!

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    1. Yeah, I think if it hadn't been for the Veronica Mars similarities, I might not have liked it as much as I did. It still ended up being fun, though.

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  7. Ugh. It sounds like I may have to skip this one. I pretty much can't deal with any more of the typical love triangle stay away from me I'm dangerous junk. "You want to eat me alive? That's okay because you're so hot." I do have a review copy though, so I may read it out of guilt or boredom. Or for the Logan Echolls, haha. Great review, Jen!

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    1. Yeah, I'd totally read it again for the Logan Echolls. :P

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  8. I'm not a big fan of werewolf books, I think I only read 2 out of 3 from Mercy Fall trilogy by Maggie Stiefvater, but I have Hemlock on my wishlist. That trailer is quite catchy. And then you mentioned the connection to Veronica Mars - I loved that show (why on Earth did they cancel it, ugh!). Anyway, my head is going to explode from all this dark dangerous guys staying away from the girls with the excuse of love and protection and how they'll be better off without them. *eye rolling* I'll read it, probably over the summer, but won't push it up my TBR list. :P

    Aleksandra @ Divine Secrets of a Little Bookworm

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    1. I actually really liked the Wolves of Mercy Falls series, but I'm a huge Maggie Steifvater fan. I liked The Scorpio Races but most everyone I talk to didn't. Go figure. I hope that you do end up liking Hemlock when you get a chance to read it. It wasn't a bad story, just very par for the course.

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