The very last Library Scavenger Hunt challenge of the year was to read a book with a tree on the cover, several of which I managed to locate fairly easily – trees being a reasonably popular thing to put on book covers – though I didn’t have a specific book in mind when I first went off to the library. And, much to my surprise, one of the books I found was one I’d been meaning to read for a while, but wasn’t sure enough that I’d like to justify buying it outright; exactly the kind of books the Scavenger Hunt was designed to encourage people to read! 😀 That book was…
Kate A. Boorman
In a small, remote settlement, surrounded by walls and woods, lives a community beset by the mysterious malmaci – a terrifying monster that lurks outside the walls, stealing away and devouring anyone foolish enough to leave their safety. Inside the walls, life is safe but harsh, especially for people like Emmeline, who is tainted in the eyes of the community – and the draw she feels to the woods doesn’t help matters in the slightest.
This book actually reminded me a lot of All the Truth that’s in Me by Julie Berry (which was my LSH pick back in February), and in tone, the two books are quite similar; both set in small, isolated communities, threatened by some mysterious danger that nobody really understands, but everyone is afraid of; both with the same wintery, oddly unsettling atmosphere; and both featuring protagonists who are ostracised, and who – at least to an extent – believe that they deserve to be ostracised. The major difference was that, in my opinion, Winterkill did much better with its pacing and plot. The mystery of Emmeline’s “Stain” was actually revealed fairly early on in the story, which made room for the much more tantalising mysteries of the malmaci and the Lost People to take precedence, while the slow build towards their eventual solutions kept me invested right to the end.
Character-wise, there wasn’t a huge amount of character development, but there was an interesting mix of people and personalities, none of whom felt at all fake. Emmeline was a great lead characters, with both strengths and flaws that felt realistic and relatable, and although Brother Stockham came across as a very obvious villain even at the very beginning of the book, the way that his story arc progressed was really interesting. Kane and Tom were the other two main characters, and while both of them seemed to fit into the love interest and best friend moulds (respectively) pretty much perfectly, the roles that they actually ended up playing were quite unexpected. I would’ve liked to have seen a bit more of Edith (Tom’s little sister), but perhaps she’ll have a more significant part to play in the sequels.
Winterkill wasn’t the most impressive thing I’ve read by far, but it does do very well at setting up what looks like it’s shaping up to be an interesting series, and I definitely want to read more.
[Find out more about the Library Scavenger Hunt by following this link!]