Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock Review

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Title: Hemlock
Author: Kathleen Peacock (Twitter)
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publish Date: May 8, 2012
Genre: YA, Paranormal
Pages: 416
Source: Publisher

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.
Years after her best friends' murder, Mac is still haunted vivid nightmares and visions of a restless Amy. Fearing for her own sanity and desperate for answers, Mac decides to take matters into her own hands and find Amy's killer herself. But Mac's in over her head. In a time where the werewolves are out and the virus is real, Mac's life is most definitely in danger, but she doesn't know where exactly this danger is coming from, or just how close to her it's going to get.

If you've been looking to satiate your paranormal-loving appetite, look no further than Hemlock by debut author, Kathleen Peacock. This riveting tale combines classic paranormal elements with some of the most beloved and winning traits of YA novels - love, danger, mystery and self-discovery. With a fast-paced plot that has you reeling from the start, readers will be thrust into a world that masks a troubling conspiracy and a deadly clash of races and cultures. Hemlock features heartbreaking characters, strong storylines and a vivid, emotional voice that will have you invested in the outcome from the start. 

I've long since been tired of paranormal novels, and I think I've yet to read a werewolf series which I actually love. I'm in the minority here, as I know there's a certain series by Maggie Stiefvater that I simply did not appreciate. However, Hemlock really defied my expectations which, admittedly, were not very high. Mac was the type of heroine I look for in paranormal novels. Rather than being weak and allowing the trauma of Amy's death to consume her, she throws herself headfirst into the throes of this simmering war and tension. She is the type of heroine that young girls should look up to with a true purpose and passion for those she loves and what she believes in. There is a love triangle in Hemlock, but I was surprisingly not too disappointed. It's fairly well-crafted, and the author does a good job of developing the sides of the romance and creating these polar opposite love interests that both have redeeming qualities. Kyle is sweet and caring on the surface, by Jason's outward vitriol lends to a deeply caring and compassionate heart, which makes you invested in his plight, as well. The best part about the triangle is that it never actually circumvents the plot, itself. We're given fast-paced action throughout, and rather than simply being consumed and overridden by a cloying love story, we're given a subtle triangle that weaves its way into our hearts and gives us something more to believe in. The puzzling mystery, too, is done in a way that kept me guessing from the start. I love not knowing where a book is going, and Hemlock managed to keep me on my toes throughout. The only downfall to this book might be the fact that the setup is pretty formulaic in terms of paranormal novels, but the author puts her own touch on it, which definitely brands it as her own.

Overall, I was surprised to find that I really enjoyed this book, and I find myself invested in a paranormal series despite my ardent reservations. I give it a 4 out of 5, and I definitely recommend it to all fans of YA, especially those who enjoy paranormal stories and werewolves.

I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.


  1. I'm not a huge fan of paranormal but this one sounds pretty amazing! I enjoy books that contain self discovery in them so thanks for the honest review! <33

  2. I thought this one hit the werewolf genre in a rather unique and interesting way. Plus, like you, I appreciated that the MC didn't fall to pieces when her friend died.

  3. Ooh, i'm so glad that you liked Hemlock, Melissa! It didn't work out for me, but I think i'm the only one who didn't enjoy it. Excellent points, though!

    - Ellie at The Selkie Reads Stories

  4. Werewolf books have been pretty hit and miss for me in the past. I do love Maggie Stiefvater's most recent books, but I never did feel a great deal of enthusiasm for her Wolves of Mercy Falls series. I guess I have just always preferred other paranormal creatures. Hemlock sounds like brilliant read though, so I'm looking forward to giving it a shot. Hopefully it will work for me as well as it did for you. :) Wonderful review, Melissa! I adore your blog layout, by the way.

  5. I was surprised by Hemlock as well, Melissa! I rarely ever read PNR, but this one was fantastic. I so agree with what you said about the mc, she was easy to root for. And as someone who is not a fan of love triangles I think the author handled it really well. I can't wait to get my hands on the sequel now. ^^ Brilliant review!

  6. Glad to hear you liked this one, Melissa! I've heard good things, but I haven't read this one yet mainly because werewolves are not my faves! I think I'll check this one out, though! :)

  7. I enjoyed this book as well! I definitely agree that Amy is a protagonist all should look up to. I loved her strength despite her pretty gloomy circumstances. Unfortunately, I wasn't a big fan of the love triangle, but I did appreciate how it was subtle and more off to the side. The balance between character development, action, tension, and romance was all done very well, so I definitely liked that.

    Gorgeous review, Melissa! <3

    -Aneeqah @ My Not So Real Life

  8. I've been very curious about this one. I keep mixing it up with Defiance because of the cover similarities. Hey, I am a lover of well done love triangles so I don't think that would bother me either :) Although I'm also getting tired of the paranormal genre, it does sound interesting. And you liked it so bonus!

    Alise @ Readers In Wonderland

  9. Hi Melissa,

    Been seeing this book on some blogs and seen mixed reviews. I might buy myself a copy. I love
    believable romance and well crafted plot. Thanks for the lovely review.


  10. Oh, I loved this book! Can't wait for the sequel to come out. Great review. :)

  11. I was a bit wary of this one, since I tend to not be a very big fan of paranormal books. But you make it sound really good, so I'm kind of intrigued by Hemlock now! I'm not sure I'll read it right away, but I'll definitely keep it in mind.

  12. I liked this book a lot too although the romance wasn't quite my thing. I tend to prefer contemporary/historical to paranormal (and ghost/witch stories to werewolf/vampire/creature books) but this one was pretty good. I'm interested in checking out the sequel although I wish I liked the cover for it more.


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