Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Review: Deadly Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock

Deadly Hemlock

Pages: 404
Genre: Teenage Fiction, Fantasy
Release Date: July 2012
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
RRP: $16.99
Received from publisher.
Also known as 'Hemlock'

MacKenzie and Amy were best friends.
Until Amy was brutally murdered.
But Amy wasn't killed by a human...
she was killed by a werewolf.

Lupin Syndrome - the werewolf virus - is spreading and werewolf attacks are increasing as those infected struggle to control their bloodlust. Amy's death has turned Mac's life upset down: her dreams are haunted by Amy, and the Trackers, an extremist group determined to stop those with Lupine Syndrome, have come to her hometown of Hemlock to promote their cause by hunting down Amy's killer.

Unwilling to work with the brutal Trackers, but desperate to put an end to her nightmares, Mac decides to investigate the murder herself. But the deeper she delves into the mystery of Amy's death, the more secrets she discovers lurking in the shadows of Hemlock. Secrets that should have been left untold. Secrets that will change her life forever.

I don't know what it was about this book that made me like it so much, but I finished it wanting to go back to the beginning and read it all over again. I think as a reviewer I have failed, because I can't think of any faults. Actually..., I don't think I took too much notice of what was 'original' or 'well written' when I was reading the novel. Like the cover, the book was very enthralling. I guess I'll just have to back track and do the best I can to convince you why you should read it, because whoever you are, you should seriously read 'Deadly Hemlock'.

I think one of the best things about a well written book is believability. If I can believe what the author is writing then I'm not going to question the actual crafting of the book. If I think the story is "realistic" as far as the genre will allow I'm going to be more concerned about what is about to happen in the story. 'Deadly Hemlock' was a very believable read. Obviously, I don't believe that werewolves are just going to jump out of the bushes and attack me in real life, but in this story it was a real possibility and I didn't question their existence for a second.

Something else, that I think was very  realistic were the characters and their relationships. One of the main relationships in the story progresses quite slowly. Another relationship, wasn't going as well as everyone thought it was. All of the characters are prone to doing something that is their fault. No one is perfect in the story and everyone has got their own secrets. I like characters to have faults, because there is nothing worse than reading a book about someone who is "little miss perfect" and thinking that it's a lie, that this character has to be some sort of alien robot or have a secret underground drug career that nobody knows about...

I really liked the main character Mackenzie. She wanted the best for everyone, but she still stood her ground when they didn't treat her right or when she disagreed with them about something. She also had a bit of an issue with people leaving her and pushed them away when she was scared they were getting too close. This was interesting to see in a character, because I don't read a lot of books with characters that have this issue.

I really liked the way the town was set up before my eyes. The town was described in small bursts and even though small towns are quite common in fantasy books, this town was different. I felt that I could really picture the different aspects of the society in the town, but I wasn't bogged down in lengthy descriptions to learn about it.

One thing that this novel had -that a lot of fantasy novels lack - was a good surprise. The book was a bit of a mystery as well as a fantasy and there were a few revelations and twists along the way. While I did have a few suspects, I was completely clueless as to who it would be in the end.

Another, great thing about the novel, was that I felt every bit of it. I was angry at the werewolf trackers for being so cruel and stupid. I really wanted certain characters to get together. I felt sorry for the main character a number of times. And, most of all, I felt so, so, so betrayed by a certain someone  who was the secret villain.

Overall, I think this book was worth 5/5 stars and a favourite. Great writing, great characters, great setting and actual ability to feel. I just can't wait to read the sequel already!! And, don't forget the cover. If it wasn't for how good it is, I would want to purchase this novel based on shelf candy alone. How cool is that outline of the wolf made out of trees!

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Marla said...

You absolutely nailed it with your review. I know what you mean when you say you had problems thinking of anything you didn't like. I sat up all night reading this one. Sleep deprivation = fantastic read. Great review!

Zoe said...

I was impressed with the synopsis. Sounds like an original werewolf tale! I really liked how you said the relationships between the characters were realistic. It can be pretty frustrating when all the characters solve all their problems really easily:)Great review, Natalie. This sounds like an awesome book!