Wednesday, September 3, 2014

ARC Review: Winterkill by Kate A. Boorman

Media Type: Ebook (ARC)
Title: Winterkill
Author: Kate A. Boorman
Publisher: Amulet Books
Pages: Hardcover; 336
Release Date: September 9, 2014
Source: NetGalley
Content Screening: Mild Violence

HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy rich, atmospheric writing with a desolate setting to match.

Add it on: Goodreads / Amazon / BookLikes
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.

If you've read any other reviews of Winterkill, you probably already know what movie this book is being compared to. I'll admit, I had the same thought originally. A hidden settlement in the middle of the forest. An unknown terror that lurks right on the fringes, terrifying the inhabitants into submission. The group of people who rise up to make sure that their submission is total. Are you with still with me? Now, as much as I agree that this has a lot of similarities, it doesn't negate the fact that this actually an interesting story. Winterkill does have quite a bit to offer. Don't count it out just yet.

I adored Emmeline, our main character. As one of the Stained, she has a much different view of her town than most of the other people who populate it. She's on the outside, looking in. This creates a great way to see into the corruption that simmers beneath the surface. It makes it easy to understand that nothing is what it seems. It also creates this beautiful and mysterious atmosphere, that only increases as Emmeline slowly uncovers the truth. I couldn't pull myself away. I had to see what she found next. Her innocence clashed perfectly with what was going on around her, and I loved it.

Major points also go to Boorman for creating such a believable society in the first place. Although it is hinted at, it's never quite fully explained where Emmeline's community came from. We simply know that each Winter (La Prise) they struggle to survive, and welcome the next Spring. I was easily able to make myself a part of their struggle. Everything from chores, to customs, to classes was laid out for me. I was just another cog in the machine. I feel like that was an important part of why I read this so ravenously. I felt involved.

So why the three star rating, you ask? Simply, I felt like the first half of Winterkill was spectacular, and then things went downhill. By the time I neared the ending, I knew that there wouldn't be enough time to answer all my questions. There simply weren't enough pages left to tie everything up. I watched as Emmeline finally discovered the truth, and found myself sitting there confused. It wasn't what I was expecting, at all. It didn't feel like an ending worthy of all the lovely, atmospheric writing leading up to it. Overall though? I enjoyed my time in Emmeline's world. With its mysteries and romance, I couldn't fault it for not delivering the ending that I personally wanted. Three stars it is.

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.


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