Winterkill (Winterkill #1)
By: Kate A Boorman
Publisher: Amulet Books
Publication Date: September 9th, 2014
Where Emmeline lives, you cannot love and you cannot leave…
The Council’s rules are strict, but they’re for the good of the settlement in which Emmeline lives. Everyone knows there is nothing but danger the other side of the Wall, and the community must prepare for the freezing winterkill that comes every year.
But Emmeline struggles to be obedient under the Council’s suffocating embrace – especially when she discovers that a Council leader intends to snatch her hand in marriage.
Then Emmeline begins to hear the call of the trees beyond the Wall…
Winterkill contained an array of highly fleshed out characters that, while existing in a non-traditional dystopian setting, were easily connected with. The setting of Winterkill, the compound and beyond, can be placed in a dystopian northern Americas with a colonial feel and a dash of French flare.
The characterization of our protagonist, Emmeline, allows the reader an insight into her own personal view of the wintry world of the compound. This view is further layered with her perception of her role in society and the stigma of having a Wayward relative. Emmeline repeatedly deals with the actual and perceived slights from society based on not only the ramifications of her grandmother’s actions, but the social perception of her “stain,” the physical mark of her Waywardness that comes in the form of her broken and deformed foot. Despite being ostracized in her society due to actions beyond her control, Emmeline enjoys a friendship with her childhood friend Tom which has its own difficulties as the book progresses as the nature of Tom’s Wayward acts are compared to Emmeline’s; with Tom’s Waywardness being unavoidable and Emmeline’s being by choice.
There is a romance, and Kane is a great love interest. Em’s initial trepidation at his interest is smoothed out by his continuous concern for and defense of her. Their relationship is young and sweet and didn’t detract from the main plot.
The ever present Council members in the story provide a sense of foreboding and their influence can be felt throughout the aspects of the settlement’s society. The character of Brother Stockham alone provides a sinister feel, especially as more of his mind’s inner workings come to light. The eerie feeling that these characters bring is only compounded by the quiet isolation that Em’s people live in, the repeated action of allowing the river to wash away their dead, and the looming winter storms.
With Kate’s beautiful writing that convincingly conveys both a young love story and a chilling mystery, Winterkill comes highly recommended and the next installments in the trilogy are much anticipated. The story promises interesting additions to the main cast of characters and a world that will span beyond Em’s isolated settlement, and I can’t wait to continue to explore the world Kate has crafted.
I would also like to know what kind of sacrifice Kate had to make to the Cover Gods to receive such lovely covers not only in the US, but on an international level.
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Disclaimer: The synopsis and cover picture were pulled from the book’s Goodreads page. Neither belong to us. I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.