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02 April 2013 @ 09:22 pm
Book Review: Hemlock Grove by Brian McGreevy  
The average cure for those sick of the Twilight franchise, McGreevy's horror novel focuses on the quaint town of Hemlock Grove that houses more terror than you can shake a stick at.

The story kicks off with the discovery of a half-eaten girl out in the woods of Hemlock Grove. Her death comes not too soon after 17 year old Peter Rumancek and his mother arrive in town. Self-proclaimed gypsies, the Rumanceks fall under suspicion, particularly after a rumor starts that Peter is a werewolf. On the polar opposite end of the social spectrum is Roman Godfrey, heir to the Godfrey Steel fortune whose family more or less owns the town. On the surface Roman is your average spoiled, rich teenager but his more hidden proclivities has you wondering if perhaps he's something more supernatural and sinister. Eventually Peter and Roman team up to find who murdered the girl as the body count continues to rise.

I'm not going to summarize the encyclopedia of characters who are introduced in this rather slim book. Sufficed to say that the locals of Hemlock Grove are extremely weird with members of the Godfrey family leading the creeptastic charge. McGreevy keeps the pace moving and just about every page is crammed with intrigue and mystery about all the various plot threads that are waving throughout the story. In fact, there are so many threads waving around that the book doesn't manage to tie up really any of them to any sort of satisfying degree other than the main mystery of what was killing the girls in the town. However, I did find out that this is book 1 of a projected trilogy so I'm holding out hope that all my numerous questions will be answered eventually.

McGreevy's writing at times could also be a little frustrating in the various ways he breaks the 4th wall and throws in random anachronistic phrases ("confused as a Chinaman") to hint at some sort of omnipotent narrator that doesn't ever amount to anything. He's 27 years old and while on one hand I was impressed with some of his originality, his style also came off as a bit obnoxious when it came to certain themes. However, the overall effect was certainly good enough as I sped through the book in 2 days. McGreevy also introduces a somewhat different twist to werewolf transformations which I thoroughly enjoyed as well as set up an interesting amateur investigating team comprised of the arrogant Roman and the wayward Peter. I was a little surprised at the direction their partnership took and McGreevy does a pretty good job of holding back just enough as to why these two from very different walks of life are drawn to each other.

Given that the story is about werewolves and upirs (vampires) and is set more or less at a high school, the Twilight comparisons are inevitable. However, teenage supernaturals is about the only thing the two books have in common. Beyond that, Hemlock Grove gives us more gore and sex and violence than Stephanie Meyers can probably even imagine. The teens of this town have so much more to worry about than tuw wuv with a sparkly vampire.

For anyone who has Netflix, Hemlock Grove has been made into a Netflix original series that will have up all 13 of its episodes on April 19th. You can watch all the various trailers for the series on youTube. The main one is HERE.