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 is an eerie mystery. Haunting and cryptic, Winterkill has an undeniable pull.
- Mystery drives the plot. The creepy, cult-like fanaticism of the community is heavy. The oppressive, sinister tone will give you chills. You can feel the danger, a deep impending doom that increases as the book progresses. There’s so much that those who are not part of the Council don’t know, so many rules, that you’ll want to discover the truth, it’s maddening.
- The community is all sorts of horrifying. The 3 steps to being a good member of the community, the monster that terrorizes the forest, the whispers in the trees, the harsh punishments, all of it adds to the suspense. The history of the peoples, Emmeline’s stain, the views on sin and heritage, it all is suffocating, intriguing, and complex.
- Emmeline is tormented by the mistakes of her ancestors. Labeled as wayward, stained, Emmeline is ridiculed by members of the community as destined to fall into sin. Her crushed foot is a mark that weighs heavy on her soul. Emmeline has few hopes but the forest calls to her and it is there that she can dream. Emmeline is a little self-destructive, inquisitive, and loving, she sniffs out mysteries and hunts down the truth but it puts her in danger. There’s something rebellious in Emmeline that makes her attractive, different, someone you can root for.
- Gabriel (Stockham) is a creeper of epic proportions. There’s an off, bizarre way he moves, talks, touches Emmeline and yet, you don’t know if he’s sincere or if his past has scarred him horribly. There’s so many layers to his character that you’ll spend a substantial amount of the book trying to figure him out. I loved this character.
- The pacing is slow and it’s hard to stay focused. Not much happens in this closed-off society and despite Emmeline’s wayward ways, there’s not enough drama and when it does come, it’s well into the book.
- Characters aren’t particularly memorable, they are so courteous and conscientious that they fall flat. Secondary characters, with the exception of one or two fade into the background and you almost forget about them.
- The attraction between Kane and Emmeline is mystifying. It’s sudden and random, there’s not substantial build up and the chemistry is pale in comparison to the disturbing and obsessive passion of Gabriel.
- Sections of the book are in French. I speak French but I think for the average person, it might get a bit much. Sometimes you have to infer what is being said.
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