Sunday, December 28, 2014

WILLOWGROVE by Kathleen Peacock

Rating: A-
Release Date: 1/6/14
Willowgrove is Kathleen Peacock's riveting conclusion to the Hemlock trilogy, a dark, romantic, paranormal suspense series that pits friendship against survival, and trust against love.

Ever since Mac's best friend, Amy, was murdered, Hemlock has been a dangerous place. But now that Mac, her boyfriend, Kyle, and Amy's ex, Jason, have investigated a mass breakout from Thornhill, a werewolf "rehabilitation" camp, the danger has only grown. Fear of the infection spreading is now at an all-time high, and anyone with a scar is suspected of being a wolf.

What makes Mac even more afraid, though, are the dark experiments that the warden of Thornhill was performing on wolves in a secret asylum called Willowgrove. Uncovering the truth about what happened may be the only way for Mac to save everyone she loves and end her nightmares for good.

My thoughts on the book:
Willowgrove is an excellent conclusion to the Hemlock trilogy. Each of the characters evolved into terrific and interesting people. The story itself was full of action and adventure, with a side of romance. Relationships changed, betrayals happened, and none of the characters came out of this story unscathed. This book was full of many surprises, and Peacock's writing was captivating. I really enjoyed this entire trilogy.

Mac really shined in this novel. She became fiercely independent, but still caring. That's a hard balance to maintain, and Peacock handled it wonderfully. I really liked Mac as a narrator, and I was able to relate to her just enough to trust what she said. Kyle was a bit boring, in my opinion, in this novel, but I still liked him because he's such a good guy. Jason wasn't around much, but he really grew throughout the course of this book nonetheless. By the end, I could barely recognize him from the arrogant, selfish Jason that we first encountered in Hemlock. Serena also displayed a lot of strength. I really admired her. Amy's ghost/Mac's dream version of Amy also grew a lot, which was a nice surprise.

The story itself was fast-paced. One event after another happened that kept me turning the pages. Some truly awful things happened, and Peacock did an excellent job of showing what happens when hate, fear, and bigotry control a nation. It's important for us to remember that. This story definitely needed to be told. Aside from illustrating how horrific people can be when they're scared, this book did something that's almost unheard of in YA lit... it solved a love triangle without having a wishy-washy heroine or over-dramatic events happen to solve it for the heroine. Mac chose who she wanted on her own, and I loved that. I hate when authors take the easy way out of situations they created. I really loved the sci-fi spin on being a werewolf in this trilogy. That was unique. The fact that it was a disease instead of some paranormal manifestation changed a lot of things, and that was refreshing. The ending itself was conclusive, and I felt like that chapter of Mac's life had ended, but it was also open-ended. Mac hadn't made any definite plans for her future yet. Everything was still up in the air. I kind of liked that kind of ending. It left me with a feeling of hope for Mac and company.

Overall, I'd recommend this book and trilogy to anyone who wants a new spin to werewolf tales. This series is extremely entertaining and makes some really important points about society and how we can become better people. It's rare to find a book that can both entertain and make important statements. This is a definite must-read.

Pre-order Willowgrove

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