Author: Kate Boorman
Publisher: Amulet Books (ABRAMS)
Release Date: September 9, 2014
Acquired Via: Around the World ARC Tours
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.
I'm not really sure what to make of Kate Boorman's debut novel, Winterkill. It's all over the place story-wise, but at the same time, I couldn't put it down. There was so much suspense that I was tempted on more than one occasion to skip to the back of the book because I wanted to know so badly what was in the woods. (I didn't.) Emmeline carried Winterkill, as she was such a fascinating character.
As I read Winterkill, I must admit that I kept waiting for it to turn out like M. Night Shyamalan's The Village. (That wouldn't have been a bad thing because I was one of the minority that loved that movie.) There were quite a few similarities between Shyamalan's movie and the book, especially how the malmacci - the villager's equivalent of the boogieman - were handled. Emmeline wasn't really like Bryce Dallas Howard's character, except for both having a disability, but I still managed to draw comparisons.
There were a few areas of Winterkill that left me scratching my head. I don't think everything was wrapped up at the end, but I just found out that it's a trilogy, so I'll cut the book some slack there. I have a lot of questions about the Lost People because that wasn't explained enough to my satisfaction. There was also a bit of a love quadrangle that didn't make a terrible amount of sense. Brother Stockholm didn't seem too awful, and I couldn't understand why I wasn't supposed to like him. Emmeline said that he creeped her out throughout the book, but I never really saw anything about him that was any stranger than Kane or Tom. The issue of Emmeline being Stained and her family history was also a bit over my head. Was she Stained because of her foot, or was it because of her being related to her grandma'am? *shrugs* I just went with it when I could.
Now Emmeline was a strange little creature. She faced a lot of ugliness in her settlement because of her Stain, and she was self-destructive because of it. Sometimes it seemed like she was trying purposely to get caught doing something Wayward or intentionally injuring her foot more. This part of her made her interactions with her loved ones very interesting.
The only major complaint that I have about Winterkill is the inclusion of all of the French. I get what it did in the telling of the story (for the most part), but it was very disruptive to my reading of the book because I don't speak French. Yes, I could tell most of the context from my studying other Latin languages, but I just wanted to read the story and know what the characters were saying, damnit! I won't even get started on the speculation of whether or not everyone in the village would be fluent in both languages after FIVE GENERATIONS.
Though it had it's flaws, I really enjoyed Winterkill, and I'll definitely stick with the series. There's a lot left in that world to explore, and I have a lot of questions that I hope to get answered.
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To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received an advance copy of the book briefly for reviewing purposes through Around the World ARC Tours in exchange for an honest review. The book was likely provided to the tour by the publisher or author, which has in no way affected the outcome of my review. All opinions expressed are rambling, honest, and completely my own.