Google+ YA Romantics: Just Finished Reading ... Winterkill by Kate A. Boorman

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Just Finished Reading ... Winterkill by Kate A. Boorman

Winterkill
by Kate A. Boorman
Published on September 9, 2014
by Amulet

Source: ARC sent by publisher for review

Synopsis from Goodreads: Emmeline knows she’s not supposed to explore the woods outside her settlement. The enemy that wiped out half her people lurks there, attacking at night and keeping them isolated in an unfamiliar land with merciless winters. Living with the shame of her grandmother’s insubordination, Emmeline has learned to keep her head down and her quick tongue silent. When the settlement leader asks for her hand in marriage, it’s an opportunity for Emmeline to wash the family slate clean—even if she has eyes for another. But before she’s forced into an impossible decision, her dreams urge her into the woods, where she uncovers a path she can’t help but follow. The trail leads to a secret that someone in the village will kill to protect. Her grandmother followed the same path and paid the price. If Emmeline isn’t careful, she will be next.

My take: Winterkill is an intriguing, beautifully written, original book. I'm not even sure what genre to call it -- I'm going to go with "alt-history suspense fable." Think Nathaniel Hawthorne meets Laura Ingalls Wilder meets Bluebeard. (And that cover is pure genius!)

I'd call Winterkill alt-history because it seems to take place in seventeenth or eighteenth-century Canada. There are groups in the book that speak French and/or English and also the mention of groups that sound like Native Americans. The story takes place in a small settlement that reminded me a little of the repressive Puritan New England of The Scarlet Letter. Men rule the settlement with an iron hand. People who break the rules are horribly punished.

The suspense comes in because the settlement appears to be under siege from something scary and murderous that no one can really describe. Citizens are chosen to keep watch, and residents aren't allowed outside the settlement walls without permission. "Waywardness breeds chaos and chaos breeds destruction," one of the settlement leaders says.

I'd call Winterkill a fable because it had an allegorical feel. Emmeline, the main character, is the grandaughter of a woman who was punished for her transgresssions. This "stain" has seeped through the generations to taint Emmaline, who tries to be dutiful and good, but can't help her curious, free-thinking ways. She likes to wander in the woods, looking for relics of a group she calls the Lost People. There are a lot of metaphors working here: freedom and constraint, discovery and concealment, openness and secrecy.

I thought this book was masterfully crafted and written right up until the end, when things took a turn I wasn't expecting. I learned from my blogger friend Starry Eyed Jen that there will be another installment, which helps explain the surprising turn of events, but I'm still not sure how I feel about what happened. To me, the almost dreamlike quality of the book was lost with that jolt of a plit development. However, this is a book I still really enjoyed and I still recommend it to fans of books like Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis or Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan.

23 comments:

  1. Ooh for fans of Not A Drop To Drink? I am very curious now. It's a shame that things became hazy and unclear towards the end but it's great that it was enjoyable overall and had beautiful writing :D

    Lovely review, Jen <33

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  2. Oooh so intriguing! I love how all the books you read Jen always have something that makes me add it to my TBR pile! XD Glad you enjoyed this one!

    Happy Reading
    Patrick @ The Bookshelves

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  3. This is the first review I have read for Winterkill, but you've sold me on reading it. Your descriptions sound like everything I'd enjoy. Great review!

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  4. I have this book in my tbr pile that I will be reading soon. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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  5. I read this last month as well, and I really enjoyed it. It was a SLOWWWW start, but after it picked up, and I got over not understanding any of the French language, and the unique writing that I came to love, it was an awesome read! :)

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  6. An alt history and a fable. This has me intrigued. I'm glad you enjoyed it. The comment about the slow start worries me because I have been having a hard time getting into books that dont grip me from the beginning but I still think I want to give this one a try. I will have to wait until the right mood strikes.

    Great review Jen! :)

    Michelle @ Book Briefs

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  7. oh this book sounds very interesting. Goes to add it to the reading pile. I dislike it when the books ends well enough , and another is coming.

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  8. Sounds like The Village from the blurb but I trust it's not. Sounds like an interesting read. Thanks for reviewing

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  9. I have this for review but I was kind of on the fence about reading it, I'm now excited to pick it up! I love books that blend genres and are well written. Thanks for the helpful review!

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  10. Your review just literally slayed me. I want to drop everything and read it now. I loved both books you compared it to! Great, amazing, intriguing review, lady!

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  11. I love that cover too, how the title makes up the fence. This has a Village vibe to it for me. My friend liked this one too :)

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  12. The cover of this is just so beautiful.
    Sad that the ending was a bit of a let down. Still adding it to my ever going reading list.

    http://daydreamern.blogspot.com/2014/09/the-impossible-hope.html

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  13. Forest of Hands and Teeth was recommended to me by a trusted reading friend. I haven't gotten around to it, but I hear it's good, so if fans of that one will like this one, it makes my interest spike. I really like the sound of this one. A little twist at the end doesn't scare me, but I also don't know what that twist will be. So thanks for the warning. I'm definitely adding this to my TBR list.

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  14. If I'm being honest, it's the cover of this one that intrigues me most. It looks sort of like The Village meets Red Riding Hood. I'm even more intrigued now that you've said it was written and executed well, up until the end at least. But that sort of intruiges me too. What happens at the end that changes things up? I'll definitely be adding this one to my to read list :)

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  15. Very glad to hear you really enjoyed this one even if the final part left you a bit unsure!
    I have this one in my Kindle Library so hopefully I'll get to read it soon!

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  16. I am definitely adding this to my TBR. I have high hopes for this after reading your review which is great, by the way. The cover is stunning.

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  17. I saw this on a cover love post, and I was intrigued! I also live in Northern Canada, so I find it really interesting to read about semi-historical Native Canadian stuff :O Really interesting. And THE COVER.

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  18. I am so very intrigued. I have read several books lately that just cannot be categorized in a specific genre and I think I am liking that taste of something a little different. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us and you are so spot on about the cover art, it is great!

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  19. Oh, totally, rec'ing it to fans of both of those books makes perfect sense. I definitely got the same vibe from this one as from those. And I agree...that ending was kind of like "whaaa??" until I discovered there was more story to come. :)

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  20. Now that I've read and reviewed this I had to come over to see what you thought. It does have that fable feel and I would agree with the Canadanian location possibility. I was thinking up there or on the border of the US/Canada in the future or in an alternate reality. It is just hard to place, so I mostly let that go and just enjoyed the story. Glad you liked it too! :)

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