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).
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!