Google+ YA Romantics: #Werewolfathon: Series review of Hemlock, Thornhill and Willowgrove by Kathleen Peacock

Monday, January 19, 2015

#Werewolfathon: Series review of Hemlock, Thornhill and Willowgrove by Kathleen Peacock


So, confession time: I'm not such a werewolf person. I am firmly of the belief that when Oz on Buffy the Vampire Slayer confessed he was a werewolf, that began the downward spiral of Willow's character from insecure smart girl to hot witchy mess. I had high hopes that Willow's relationship with Tara might turn her around, but no, Willow loved magic more than Tara and then she got so scary I didn't recognize her anymore... 

But I digress. While I don't find werewolves to be appealing love interests, I still really enjoyed this paranormal trilogy of books that began with Hemlock (2012), then Thornhill (2013) and finally, Willowgrove (2015).

Hemlock Thornhill Willowgrove

I reviewed Hemlock back in May 2012, and you can check out that review here. This will be a series review, in which I'll talk about the trilogy as a whole.

First, I have a soft spot for this series because it was through reading it that I met one of my most favorite blogger friends, Jen from Starry Eyed Revue.  The way I remember it, I reviewed Hemlock and she commented on my review and we both got a Veronica Mars vibe from the book and .... a friendship was born.

So yes, a main plus of this series is that it does have a Veronica Vibe. Mac, the main character, is a no-nonsense girl, like Veronica. She's also haunted by the ghost of her best friend, Amy. (Shades of Lily Kane!) I'm happy to report that the ghostly presence of Amy remains through all three books. Even though Amy was a ghost, Mac's friendship her was a great part of the story.

Though in book one it seemed like this series might have a love triangle, by the beginning of the second book, that was all figured out. And I liked the way it was done. Once Mac realized that two guys were in love with her she -- wait for it -- managed to choose one guy. She did not go back and forth between the two. She even still stayed friends with the other guy.

Reading this series made me remember that paranormal romances can be fun. Yes, I think at one point there were too many of them -- all those girls in dresses, standing at the edges of cliffs, hair blowing, staring wistfully into the distance (probably trying to decide which ridiculously hot guy to choose?) This series had all the good elements of paranormal romance: a good romance (obviously!) plus a bunch of action and suspense, plus the use of the paranormal to explore other YA-type issues.

The other issues. I thought that this trilogy did a good job of using LS (lupine syndrome) to explore issues of prejudice and tolerance. As LS spreads, paranoia does too, and infected people get dragged away to rehabilitation camps. However, I could also understand why people might be a little freaked out. In the book, the infection starts when a person is bitten or scratched by a werewolf, and once you have LS, there is no cure.

I thought that Willowgrove brought this series to a satisfying conclusion. There were choices to be made, secrets to be uncovered, villains to confront, and finally, a ghost to be put to rest. The ending was hopeful without being unrealistic. I enjoyed the time I spent with Mac and her friends, and I'll miss them!


32 comments:

  1. This sounds like an amazing series, Jen. I have seen it around but haven't picked it up yet; wasn't sold on the synopsis, but now I really need to go give this one a try. Lovely review :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I don't do many werewolf stories either, but glad that it was a satisfying conclusion

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh cool! A decision was made. I avoided this series because of the love triangle. I'll give it a go now.

    Karen @For What It's Worth

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's a hint of a triangle vibe in book one, but I was happy that she makes her choice early and does not waver!

      Delete
  4. I really do like when paranormal creatures associate their treatment to prejudices of the past (like True Blood), but I must confess...I am not a werewolf person. I've only read a few but something about shifting weirds me out. I've still had my eye on it.

    Thanks for the series overview!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think paranormal stories are great ways to explore social issues -- if they don't do that, I find them much less interesting!

      Delete
  5. I'm not a werewolf person either, but this is the only werewolf book I've liked. I've only read the first one but I really liked it! This is a series that I want to finish this and I'm glad most people are liking the ending :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Glad you liked the series and a new friendship came out of it! The stores sounds intriguing and I'll definitely be picking it up! Plus the covers and titles are killer!

    Happy Reading
    Patrick @ The Bookshelves

    ReplyDelete
  7. I really loved the first book in this series! I think I might have even grabbed it based on your review. I have the other two books sitting on my shelves waiting for me to read, so I'm so glad you liked the series. I liked that it really didn't feel like the usual werewolf story and I really loved the characters.

    Tressa @ Wishful Endings

    ReplyDelete
  8. I haven't read these books. I spotted them in the wild a few times and I've been wanting to read them ever since. The problem for me is that a few years ago, paranormal books were such a BIG thing, and there were so many Werewolf stories that I really didn't like, that I started to avoid them.

    This post gave me a push in the right direction though. I am going to read this series. I hope I'll end up loving it as much as you did!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I understand -- I think a lot of people got paranormal fatigue, but I'm feeling ready to read them again!

      Delete
  9. I've only read Hemlock but intend on catching up. I love books about wolves and I find that they're fewer in numbers compare to vampires. I feel like there should be more stories about them. Anyhoo, love your round up of the trilogy and thanks for motivating me to keep going :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. I've been meaning to read Hemlock for FOREVER. Veronica Mars vibe AND werewolves AND a girl who can actually make a decision? Sign me up. And I like werewolves. Have you read Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes? SERIOUSLY SO GOOD! Please read it if you haven't, it is my "I wish everyone had read this" book. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes. You must read these. And I have not read Raised by Wolves..

      Delete
  11. I'm not a big fan of books with werewolves, but I do want to try this one out! :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. I am glad the love triangle wasn't a lasting one! It makes me want to try this out. I am not too much a fan of werewolves either, to be honest, and I think I have yet to read a book where I was fairly impressed with how they were portrayed (Twilight doesn't count, I was too focused on the vampires) so I think I will try these out fi they were good!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Yours is the second review of Hemlock I've read this week and I'm hearing really good things about it! And if you say Veronica vibe, then I'm in. I love Veronica Mars! It sounds like this one was actually explored well, as I've been put off a bit by PNR as of late.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I've seen these covers around, but I had NO IDEA this was a werewolf series, or really anything about it. Are these books contemporary? I'm assuming so b/c you called them paranormal romance. Your comment on the lack of love triangle is appealing, as is the overall romance. I like a no-nonsense heroine (though I'll have to admit I've never watched Veronica). Maybe I'll pick these up and do a series read through of them sometime. Thanks for the review!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I very recently read Hemlock and I started Thornhill but put it on pause while I wait for Willowgrove to arrive, so I'm not left with a horrible cliffhanger or anything!
    I was worried about the love triangle in the first book but it was such a relief when it was resolved and not dragged along!!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I really love this series and I love how it concluded. Like you, I really enjoyed how the author used this paranormal elements to portray real social issues. I thought this love triangle was very much tolerable too!
    Great review! :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. I have heard great things about this series. I like how the love triangle got sorted out, and how even though you don't like werewolves, you managed to like this series. The fact that the ending is satisfying makes me want to read this series even more. Thanks for the review!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I just bought Hemlock so I am really excited to read it. Normally, I'm not a fan of werewolf stories, but this one has been recommended to me so I hope I will love it.
    Andreea
    https://toallthebooksivelovedbefore.wordpress.com/

    ReplyDelete
  19. I am not big on werewolves, but I really liked thie furst int his series. I need to catch up!

    Kate @ Ex Libris

    ReplyDelete
  20. Ah, werewolves. While I'm not for or against them, I haven't read too many books that feature werewolves. The way you've described this series makes me want to check these books out though! I'm always keeping an eye out for series I might have missed with GREAT characterization, and Mac sounds pretty awesome. Might have to check this out!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks so much for stopping by today. I hope you'll leave me a comment. I read and appreciate each and every one and try my best to reply. Leave me a link to your blog or website!

 
Blog design by Imagination Designs