Friday, 6 July 2012

REVIEW: Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock

Pub. Date: May 8th 2012
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: 416
Readership: Young adult
Genres: fantasy, supernatural, werewolves
Rating: ★★★★

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.

Werewolves are in. At least, they're on their way to being so. With shows like Teen Wolf and characters like Jacob Black in Twilight (hmph...) and Tyler Lockwood in The Vampire Diaries (yay!) they are on the up and up. I loooove werewolves. Love, love, love them. I love all the lore different authors and show runners come up with. I love how human aforementioned authors can make them, how real and how damaged. There are so many things to do with werewolves that depart from the cliched scenario of American Werewolf in London. All of that in mind, I was really excited to start Hemlock.

Hemlock came out of the gate original; the werewolves are out of the werewolf closet. Lycanthropy is a disease. The US government announced it twelve years ago. The public knows, and the public are afraid. The government set up 'rehabilitation camp' which is code for werewolf prison. The camps are deplorable, the conditions sickening. People infected are afraid. They do their best to hide and sometimes it works but they live afraid. And sometimes, they are caught. There is a group called The Trackers. They are basically horrible, ignorant versions of hunters like Sam and Dean from Supernatural or the Argents from Teen Wolf. The Trackers are everywhere. They aren't a government agency so they aren't held back by their rules. They work with law enforcement but they believe they are above it. They are savages.

Then comes in our protagonist, Mac. Her best friend, Amy, was murdered by a werewolf. A white werewolf, which are very rare among people infected with Lupine syndrome. Mac feels lost. Since Amy's death, her other two best friends have drifted. Jason has become reckless and a little bit of an alcoholic. Kyle has become distant. Add to that the fact that Amy's killer was never caught and it's no wonder Mac feels the way that she does. She has to get the nightmares to stop. She has to stich her life back together; all of their lives. She thinks the only way to do this is to investigate the murder herself.

From there the story snowballs. There are so many (awesome) plot twists that sometimes you could blink and miss them. Sometimes my jaw dropped, sometimes it was pretty obvious what was coming. But that didn't make it any less awesome.

Now there are the characters themselves. Like I said, Mac feels very lost and alone too. I found her very likeable. I was rooting for her. I was rooting for her love life (which I won't spoil but wow!) I was rooting for her to find Amy's murderer and just about everything else that she does. I. Love. Mac. I loved everyone else, too. Kyle is just... there are no words. I don't want to spoil anything but I will say he's been through so much. He's lost too but he has such a good head on his shoulders. All he wants to do is protect Mac and everyone else that he cares about. Jason is broken. Ever since Amy's death and everything else that he's had to deal with he's broken, damaged. But he's trying. Maybe in all the wrong ways, but he's trying. The secondary characters like Trey and Serena were amazing too. By the end of the book I wanted to have a big group fuzzy werewolf hug with all of them.

Peacock established a great base for her werewolf lore and took it from there. There was action, there was heartache, and there were moments that made you smile. Hemlock had everything I wanted in a werewolf story and then some. I wish book two could come out sooner because it ended on such an oh my god but! note. It was so, so great. Any fan of Teen Wolf, The Vampire Diaries or other werewolf movies, tv shows and novels will enjoy Hemlock.

And another reason to love it? The author is Canadian!


  1. I actually got this book a few days after it came out, but haven't gotten around to reading it yet. Sounds amazing though, great review!

  2. Great review! I read and reviewed this one awhile ago on my blog. I really enjoyed it & I can't wait for the sequel!!

  3. I love this book! I was doubtful at first since I'm not really a fan of werewolves but when I started, I was immediately hooked and can't stop gushing after. It was awesome and fresh and the romance is just, wow. I'm with you, I love Mac and the characters, too.

  4. This book is on my wish list now. Love the cover! Wish I could get my hands on this one ASAP :)