I am very enthused about genre mash-ups, especially when two things I enjoy are put together. I wanted a book that was intense, thrilling, and fun with a sense of danger, so I read Hemlock. Y’all, Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock blends murder mystery with paranormal to create a fast-paced, exciting young adult novel — that actually left me kind of pumped for the sequel. I say kind of because I am a little bit burnt out on series books.
Hemlock opens with a funeral, on a rather somber note. Main character Mackenzie Dobson’s best friend Amy is the latest victim in a string of murders committed by a werewolf. You see, Lupine syndrome, a virus that turns people into werewolves is experiencing a bit of an outbreak throughout the United States, leading to a rise in deaths caused by the bloodlust of those creatures. Mackenzie is in a race against time to find Amy’s killer, as she may be next. With the help of her crush, Kyle, and Amy’s ex-boyfriend, Jason, Mackenzie will do her very best to unravel the mystery of the killer white werewolf.
Probably my favorite thing about Hemlock is that there is absolutely nothing special about Mackenzie. She’s not the chosen one. She’s not supernaturally strong. She is just a regular human girl. Do not take that to mean Mackenzie is boring, she’s not. She is portrayed as a character who cares very deeply about her friends and family. She’s vulnerable. She’s self-sacrificing. She’s incredibly human in the face of the supernatural, and I love that. Also, her dead best friend Amy is haunting her/helping her. I really enjoyed the dynamic between Mackenzie and Amy, as Mackenzie still feels that she doesn’t stack up against Amy, even though Amy is dead.
If you are tired of love triangles you might want to skip Hemlock. I mean, there is a love triangle and a sort of rivalry between Jason and Kyle, the former best friends. However, it’s not a triangle that overwhelms the story and Mackenzie is pretty solid in her decision. I personally liked Mackenzie’s choice and I liked that it did not take her the whole entire book to make up her mind. While the book has romantic elements, the plot centers more on the murder and the mystery.
I thought Peacock’s world where Lupine syndrome is an actual disease was really interesting. It kind of reminded me a little of True Blood, where the vampires have come forward. Yet, there’s some differences. For one, there is a huge fear of the werewolves, fear that borders on xenophobia. Unfortunately, if you are someone who has Lupine syndrome, you get put into a relocation camp where conditions are very, very bad. Also, there’s this one group out there that just wants to kill werewolves. I will also state that one of the reasons I am so excited for the sequel to Hemlock is that it seems like Thornhill is going to explore more of this world and more werewolf dynamics.
If you aren’t a fan of werewolf books, I am going to tell you straight out to give this book a chance. Hemlock is an engaging read and just really thrilling. I definitely recommend this to people who like paranormal books that are well written and with zero dull moments.
Disclosure: Review copy provided by Amazon Vine