Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Review: Deadly Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock - Megan

Synopsis from Goodreads
Mackenzie and Amy were best friends.

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.

There is no doubt that YA has had it's fair share of vampire and werewolf novels during recent years so initially I began this story thinking, what originality could Kathleen Peacock possibly derive from this genre? Of course, the majority of what you read is basic Werewolf 101 but there was mystery and suspense oozing out of every single word. It was impossible to put down.

What makes this plot stand out is obvious from the beginning: the werewolves are loose. Everyone has been made aware of Lupine Syndrome and everyone has grown accustomed to fearing for their own mortality. Throw in a group of bounty hunters - the Trackers - then quickly murder the protagonist's best friend - Amy - add an addictive love-triangle and voila, you have a page-turning book that twists and turns and tangles your thoughts more expertly than a pair of headphones.

Mackenzie Dobson: Hemlock's answer to Agatha Christie. For a girl with a lot of issues, she sure has the mental strength equivalent to that of ten oxes. Mac, understandably, is struggling to come to terms with Amy's death and when Amy's boyfriend, Jason, decides to drag himself down an alcohol-fueled path of self destruction, Mac instinctively steps in. Ignoring her advice, Jason brands himself a Tracker while Mac's best friend, Kyle, avoids her completely. Poor Mac is left alone playing Twister with the disturbing nightmares her late best friend plagues. But what is Amy trying to say?

Tension, torment and tears rip Mac's reality apart. Lies, secrets and betrayal stitch it back together because it's the only thing Mac knows to be true. Her entire life has been a struggle, it's a wonder how she can maintain self-control especially in her current situation.

Love triangles always manage to frustrate me but then again, most YA boys aren't Kyle and Jason. Kyle is my dream guy written on paper, wrapped up with a bow and sprinkled with perfection. Jason is the bad boy but he's a sweetheart underneath, it's so adorable. (Don't expect me to pick teams though, I refuse to choose!) The romance is always present throughout but it never takes the lead. The plot keeps within the spotlight and never falters on Mac's task to discover the truth behind Amy's murder.

Basically, Deadly Hemlock is perfection on paper. I honestly couldn't list a single fault. The mystery and suspense was consistant; the romance was sensational; the plot was impeccably structured and; Kathleen's wonderful writing style just enchants the entire reading experience.

Why aren't you already reading this? Go now. Before the white wolf gets you!

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