Saturday, July 28, 2012

Hemlock, by Kathleen Peacock

Being a teenager is never easy, particularly when living in a would where werewolves exist, and not just in movies.  So, Mac's life is a bit chaotic.  Then, her best friend is murdered by a werewolf.  Suddenly her tight knit group of friends all find themselves feeling guilty.  When the Trackers, a group who tracks down those infected with lupine syndrome, or the werewolf virus, comes to town to hunt down the killer, Mac finds herself not trusting their motives.  She takes it upon herself to solve Amy's murder, but in the process, she learns that no one in her life is to be trusted.

Finally, a great paranormal romance with nary a hint of a vampire.  I love me some vamps, but I like variety more, so this book was right up my alley.  I liked that the story starts sort of in the middle of the action.  Werewolves have been "out" for several years, and Mac's best friend Amy is already dead.  It really ratchets up the action and emotional aspects of the story from the very first page.  We see so much struggle within the core group of characters.  Struggle against the Trackers, struggle against the wolf nature, struggle with guilt over Amy's death.  While it does make the story lean more to the angsty side, I did not think it was overdone.  I felt like a lot of the emotions and struggles were portrayed in a realistic and honest manner.  It was so easy for me to suspend disbelief that werewolves really existed, because the story is about so much more than the wolves.  The wolves are clearly not the only enemy.

I really like Mac's character.  I felt like she was well developed, with just enough flaws to make her seem relatable.  I felt like she was strong and independent, but still enough of a teenage girl to be confused with dealing with her first love.

I felt like the way the Trackers dealt with the wolves had echos of the SS treatment of the Jews in the 30's and 40's.  Yet I also felt it was a good allegory to the treatment of minority groups today, like certain religious groups, or groups facing discrimination due to sexual identity.  I think there are a lot a parallels, and this book works on a level beyond just a paranormal romance/mystery.

All in all, I thought this was a really engaging book.  Is it highbrow literature?  No.  And that is ok.  I found myself really involved in the story, and I think that this book will really appeal to young adult readers.  While there is a little violence, all in all the book is pretty tame, with minor references to teen sexuality and some teen drinking.  This book has me looking forward to the next books in the series.

I received this book as part of the Amazon Vine program.




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