Review: Hemlock

Author: Kathleen Peacock
  • Series: Hemlock #1
  • Published: May 8, 2012
  • Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
  • Reading Level: Ages 14 and Up
  • Pages: 416 pages
  • Source: Bought
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 boy-friend, 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.

Kathleen Peacock's thrilling novel is the first in the Hemlock trilogy, a spell-binding urban fantasy series filled with provocative questions about prejudice, trust, lies, and love.

~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

This book deserves every bit of praise that it has received. Honestly, I didn't think I would love it as much as I did. I picked it up because so many people were raving about it and I used to love werewolves novels. Let's just say that I now have a new favorite werewolf novel and I am anxiously awaiting the other two novels in this trilogy.

Mackenzie's best friend, Amy, was murdered. But it wasn't just any murder, it was a murder committed by a white werewolf. Amy's death was just one in a series of attacks committed by this werewolf. Six months later, still in mourning, Mac, Amy's ex-boyfriend Jason, and their friend Kyle begin to uncover the mystery involving Amy's death as the white werewolf suddenly makes another appearance in Hemlock, bringing the despised Trackers with him. While mysteries unraveled and secrets are revealed, Mac's world will be turned completely upside down. Everything she knew will change. The people she loved, the people she trusted, the people she thought she knew all had secrets of their own.

The atmosphere for this novel was so great. I loved the town of Hemlock. It's not a huge town, but it does have that whole "right side of the tracks and wrong side of the tracks" thing going on. All the rich people on the north side of Hemlock were not harmed in the attacks. Amy may have lived on the north side of Hemlock, but she, like all other victims, was attacked on the south side of Hemlock. Hemlock also has an air of mystery. A small, off-the-chart town with railroad tracks that have been vacant for nearly forever, it suddenly became the center between the war of humans versus werewolves. Because of this, Hemlock is full of nothing but secrets. And all of these dark, twisted secrets will come to light as the story progresses.

I don't think I've met a heroine as brave as Mackenzie. She was so brave in the face of werewolves, but she was so naive to the world around her. She believed what she wanted to believe and saw what she wanted to see. She was so oblivious to the true feelings of a lot of people around her because she was too caught up in the happy times where her, Amy, Jason, and Kyle were inseparable despite where they came from. Aside from that, she was one of the most likable heroines that I've come across in a while.

The other characters were characterized beautifully. Because this novel puts a heavy emphasis on the betrayal that comes hand in hand with lies, I am not going to talk much about them since you'll have to discover their secrets on your own, but let me tell you: Peacock did an amazing job with her characters. Can I just say that her last name is awesome? She had us eating out of the palm of her hands because of the way she wrote each character. The secrets were unexpected, true identities were revealed, and in some cases, the lies could not have been imagined in my wildest dreams. I still sit here breathless as I think about it.

Did I mention that this mystery was so expertly weaved that I can't even think straight? Because it was. Even writing this review, I'm still shocked about some of the things that happened in the book. 

Literally, I cannot think of one negative thing to say about this novel besides the dream sequences. Amy talks to Mac in her dreams. It's a bit weird at first. I didn't get that it was a dream sequence until she woke up. Even then, I thought it was a memory, but it's really Amy communicating with her in her dreams. It just happens at the start of a chapter. I got used to it as I read, but it was a little odd at times. It seems that Amy's character was only kept alive to help push Mac in the right direction when uncovering the secrets evolving around Amy's murder. 

What I really love about werewolf books is the werewolf lore. There's always some story as to how people got that way or why they are the way they are. This book is just the typical: they got bitten or scratched by a werewolf who then transformed and went on to bite or scratch other people or murder them, etc. There was nothing unique in that sense. However, the Trackers tracking the werewolves and the use of the camps was unique. Werewolves who turned themselves in instead of hiding from Trackers spent their lives in these camps, behind bars, struggling to survive with the limited supplies given to all brutal beings surrounding them. I have never come across such a thing in werewolf novels. While it's not a preferred solution, at least they are not dead. 

The book itself is beyond amazing. The mystery was intriguing. It's a book that doesn't feel like it's over 400 pages long. I have never read a mystery that was so suspenseful. Because of all of this, I am giving this novel 5 stars. I couldn't put it down and I'm still reeling after finishing it. This was one huge plot full of secrets that were just waiting to be revealed and now that they are all out in the open, you can't help but wonder what else Peacock has in store for us. Whatever it is, I assure you it'll be something amazing because she's just that much of a literary genius.

A must read for any young adult reader, especially those who like mystery and suspense. 


I think this is one of my favorite covers of all the ones that have been featured on my blog thus far. Literally, if you were to ask me to give you a color scheme of my favorite colors, they would be the colors featured on the cover of this novel. It's mysterious and beautiful and have I mentioned I just love the colors? Plus, the coloring adds an almost dark essence to the novel, which certainly lurks within the pages. Great cover choice!


5 stars



  1. I'm not a big mystery fan but I'm a huge werewolf fan! I'm glad there is some uniqueness in the lore too. It's always good to branch away a little from the original concept. I love the cover as well. The colors are definitely great. I've been seeing some good reviews for this now, so I know I need to read it. Great review, Lili!

    1. You do need to read it! I'm not a huge mystery fan because it's really easy for an author to veer away from the mystery with side stories, but Peacock weaved this mystery so perfectly that I couldn't help but keep reading.

      Truly, I think you'll enjoy it, Krista!

  2. I just looooved it as well! you were so right! New favourite book right here :) love your review btw, much more analytical than mine.

    1. Glad you loved it! haha thank you.

  3. Awesome review! The cover really is gorgeous and this is what originally drew me to this book. The color scheme is dark and beautiful and I love the ivy around the title. I haven't read this one yet, but I am very excited about when I get to. Your review makes me want to read it right now!