I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Winterkill by Kate A. Boorman
Series: Winterkill #1
Published by Faber & Faber on September 9, 2014
Genres: Dystopian, YA
Source: ARC borrowed thru 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 wasn’t sure at the very beginning, with the talk of The Lost People and The Village vibe I was getting, that I’d like this book. However, it didn’t take long for me to get interested in Emmeline and her situation.
~ I don’t know if the book ever states explicitly where the village is, but it has to be Canada, because they’re getting ready La Prise de Glaces, or big ice up, and half the village speaks French. And while some characters carry the title Sister or Brother, others use Frere or Soeur. I liked all the french terms and touches. Plus, I don’t read nearly enough books set in the country of my Northern Neighbors!
~ The village is creepy. Everyone is supposed to be the same in poverty and in wealth (only not, because jobs like the Wall or the Council get you more rations and/or prestige), everyone has to attend Virtue Talks, and acting outside the bounds of normal society convention can and will get you killed. My whole book club would be dead in a matter of days if we ended up at this village. Just saying.
~ Emmeline and her father keep their heads down, because of something Emmeline’s grandmother did. It takes some time before what she did is revealed, but the taint still hangs around her descendants. Despite this, Emmeline has trouble coloring inside the lines like her good friend Tom, but she tries.
~ Brother Stockham is the leader of the village (compound?), inherited from his father, and so on and so on. He’s young, handsome and has the village girls all atwitter with longing. Emmeline doesn’t want him, she’s content with the plan to be Tom’s beard, but suddenly BS (which is how I referred to him in my notes) is paying an awful lot of attention to her. When the leader who is supposed to be enforcing the rules starts courting the girl who keeps breaking the rules, you know some drama is going down.
~ But then Emmeline notices Kane, a boy from the South side of the settlement (she’s from the East). He definitely seems to notice her, and Emmeline’s life gets further complicated.
~ Then Emmeline starts exploring the woods, and discovering things she had best not be discovering, and starts falling for Kane, which is not part of her plan, and it’s looking more and more like Emmeline’s going to end up suffering her grandmother’s fate.
~ There are tons of secrets and threats and mystery in the woods, and I loved uncovering the truth. Emmeline made for a strong lead character, and while there is some romance, it’s not the main focus of the story, which I loved. I liked that most of the villains in the story, with the exception of Brother Jameson, were complicated. I will definitely be reading the next book!
Emmeline- a smart girl in a society that likes their residents malleable, under the taint of her grandmother’s scandal.
Brother Stockham- very complex character, he’s the young leader of the community, and he’s interested in Emmeline.
Kane- shaved head hottie from the South side of the community, I decided that he sounds like a sexy Cajun man when he talks because of the way his voice is described, but probably I’m wrong. 😉
Tom- Emmeline’s best friend, tries very hard to fit into a society that wouldn’t accept him if they knew the truth about him.
Edith- Tom’s adorable little sister, she’s important for about half the book, and then disappears to the place where the tv kids disappear to.
Sister Ann- Tom and Edith’s mom, Emmeline helps her out from time to time.
Soeur Manon- village healer, Emmeline serves as her apprentice.
Brother Jameson- a sinister member of the Council.
Frere Andre- a member of the Watch that Emmeline befriends.
Clara- Emmeline’s grandmother, who had been sent to the Crossroads years ago for wicked behavior.
There are a lot of secrets being hidden, and my Midnight Moment was the reveal of one of those secrets, one I didn’t see coming, but since I don’t want to be spoilerish, that’s all I’m going to say. 🙂
Stop the Clock:
Winterkill surprised me. It’s also stayed with me better than I thought it would (for instance, my original rating in my notes was 3 and 1/2, but I bumped it up to 4. This happens sometimes, but often it gets bumped down because it wasn’t as memorable. The book definitely reminded me of The Village (the M. Night Shyamalan movie), and it’s what I wanted The Forest of Hands and Teeth to be, although this is not a zombie book.
Winterkill gets a Midnight Book rating of: