Reviews for Deadly Hemlock
- Top review
Werewolves have never been a particular favourite of mine. I was always Team Edward, I didn't get into the Mercy Falls series and generally the word werewolf would put me off. Kathleen Peacock's debut novel, however, captured my attention from the first moment I heard about it.
Deadly Hemlock is not your average werewolf book. Known simply as Hemlock to the rest of the world, we enter a world where lupine syndrome is running wild, and a simple scratch can infect you with the disease. Mac Dobson is mourning the death of her best friend, who was mauled by a werewolf that's terrorizing the town. With the arrival of the Trackers, a group who have taken the responsibility of hunting werewolves on themselves, Mac finds herself tracking down the wolf herself, and uncovering secrets along the way.
Firstly, just a quick one on the cover. I don't usually comment on whether or not I like the cover of a book on my reviews, because I don't think it should hold any weight on whether or not you buy a book, but I love this edition. Sure, I have no idea why it's called Deadly Hemlock instead of just Hemlock, but I LOVE THIS COVER. Can you see the wolf in the trees? I only just spotted it. AMAZING.
I really can't express how much I enjoyed this. It was a perfect read - enough of everything. There's action, romance, the supernatural element, with mystery and wonderful characters. What sets this book apart from the rest is that it's not just a typical werewolf read. We are thrown right into an alternate world where lupine syndrome is rife, which makes the reader automatically think that the idea of wolves is okay. There's no if, buts or maybes - the scene is set, and you just accept it straight away. And while romance is a part of the novel, it's not the centre of the plot. There's the underlining suggestion that this is a future world, but my university brain kicked in here and threw that thought out the window. This is very much an urban fantasy styled novel, and it will blow your mind. I also loved the challenges between how society views the werewolves. While we usually see werewolves as killer creatures, here, that's not the case.
Mac was a character that I really enjoyed. She wasn't perfect, she cried a bit too much, but she was level headed and she wasn't about to step aside and let the boys do everything for her. She's strong, especially with the fact that her best friend was dead, and she'd rather face her fears rather than hide. She has raw emotions, and she cares deeply for everyone. Each character had a role to play - they weren't just there as fillers either. I loved how Mac's relationship with Kyle didn't turn into one of these usual 'I love my best friends but what can I do" romances either, and I'm completely torn between Jason & Kyle. Even if Jason is a complete numpty half the time!
If you are after a read that will completely blow you away this year, then Deadly Hemlock is up there as one of the contenders. Definitely one of my favourite reads this year, Deadly Hemlock will have you reading long after you should have gone to bed. It's more than just a werewolf novel. It's a wonderfully crafted novel with a plot that is out of this world. Add this one to your shelves, guys, you won't be disappointed. by Hannah
Werewolves in Hemlock
Deadly Hemlock is the first in a new series featuring werewolves and this paranormal young adult novel reeled me in with a heart pounding opening sequence and managed to keep my interest the whole way through.
In an alternate contemporary society, victims of the Lupine Virus are segregated from the human population and confined to government controlled camps in a bid to slow the transmission of the disease. Werewolves inspire fear amongst the majority of the population and understandably an infected person is loathe to reveal their status. When Amy is fatally mauled during a series of werewolf attacks in the small town of Hemlock, her best friends Mackenzie, Jason and Kyle blame themselves for her death. They are still struggling to deal with their grief when The Trackers arrive, a vicious vigilante group whose agenda reaches far beyond the hunt for werewolves amongst the populace.
Deadly Hemlock doesn't stray far from the familiar cliches of YA fiction but nevertheless it is an enjoyable read. Underlying the paranormal guise is an exploration of prejudice, bullying, class warfare and politics. Nothing too heavy handed but enough to give the story some depth. A little darker than some YA novels, there are quite explicit descriptions of violence that provide plenty of action. In Peacock's world, werewolves are acknowledged though feared but I liked the authors take on werewolf lore in that werewolves can shift at will (though strong emotion can force a shift) and remain mostly sentient.
Determining the identity of the werewolf that murdered Amy is the main mystery element of the story which Peacock cleverly twists part way through. I have to admit though, I doubted that the werewolf's human self would have been so accomplished at remaining under the radar for so long.
Mac is likeable as a heroine, not the brightest, but she is determined and loyal (if to a fault). As with most YA protagonists, Mac has little self esteem, and is a touch too naive to be completely credible. The author does provide some back story in an attempt to justify Mac's more foolish decisions but I am not sure she was entirely successful. Mac's dream sequences, starring a cryptic Amy, left me cold and I think they were unnecessary. I can only assume they tie into Peacocks plans for further installments.
The ubiquitous YA love triangle veers slightly from the norm, Mac knows who she wants so she isn't torn between the bad boy with a heart of gold and the golden boy with a heart of, well, bad. Kyle is the tortured, brooding type who has been in love with Mac forever but denies it to protect her. Jason is pretty much a jerk though I did feel some sympathy for him and Peacock allows him to redeem himself, at least partially.
I did enjoy Deadly Hemlock for its fast paced action and paranormal element. It's a quick, entertaining read and a solid debut for a new series which has a lot of potential to grow. by Shelley Cusbert