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review 2014-12-26 00:00
Winterkill - Kate A. Boorman Today We Did
Strictly ruled by a group of council members, the settlement has been isolated and lost from other people for several generations. It is surrounded by tall walls from which guards watch the surrounding forest through the night, waiting for signs of the malmaci, a dangerous beast that sometimes takes settlement members. It is important that no one leaves the safety of the settlement after dark, and even during the day, no one should stray too far into the woods. Most of the members of the settlement are obedient and adhere to the routines, rules and rituals of their community, but sometimes a member will stray from the path, becoming known as wayward or stained, bringing shame to their families. Another major concern for the settlement is the freezing winter known as the Winterkill which is almost upon them as Emmeline comes of age. As a cripple and a stained person, she is surprised by a marriage proposal, while still trying to figure out her feelings for another boy in the settlement. All the while she is drawn to the woods, curious as to what lies beyond the settlement. Her curiosity may result in dire consequences for herself, and the other members of her community, but without risk, there can not be discovery.

Winterkill reminded me a lot of M. Night Shyamalan’s film The Village. There were many similar points, isolated village, monster lurking in the forest, overbearing and strict leaders. I liked that movie, but I like this book even more. Right from the start I liked Emmeline. She has determination, courage and individuality in a society which promotes conformity and compliance. A very interesting and strong character that jumps from the page, I just wanted everything to work out well for her. I also liked Kane, the boy that Emmeline fancies. He too, was very well written, interesting and somewhat mysterious. The characters and the landscape became increasingly clear to me as I read, or more fell into Emmeline’s world. I felt her isolation, her shame, her disappointment and wariness. And I felt her desire to explore, to love and to make her Pa proud again. This is definitely a story I won’t forget in a hurry.

This young adult novel is suitable for upper primary through high school students. I found Winterkill to be an intriguing and page-turning read that I would recommend for any fan of dystopian fiction. I have read on Kate A. Boorman’s website that this to be the first book of a triology, with the next book to be released later this year. I will be eagerly awaiting the next installment.
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review 2014-11-26 18:06
Review: Winterkill
Winterkill - Kate A. Boorman

My feelings on this book are somewhat mixed.


On the one hand, the good things I enjoyed about it was the writing was pretty good, the story telling was fairly captivating and it made quite a good page turner. 


But a lot of things bothered me. 


For starters, the setting. Unless I missed it, the reader is not given any sort of setting. We're told its a small settlement somewhere where there are deathly cold winters and the township is guarded by high walls and a locked gate at night and in the winter. They speak a mixture of French and English (which made me think maybe its somewhere in Canada), There is no world building. We're told nothing of how this settlement came to be, whether its a dystopia or a historical. There's use of medicines and very deep religious believes and the way its told it could be either but nothing is clarified.


This village believes they are the only ones out there, but people disappear every now and then in creepy 'Takings'. It did have a fairly good creepy chill factor to the story. There is a pretty good mystery side to it. 


My other main issue was the main character. This settlement clearly believes every generation must suffer for the sins of the previous generation. Its clear right from the start something very bad was committed by our main character's grandmother and she still feels the stigma and eyes of the settlement Council and residents. She's also crippled, which doesn't help her situation. People look down on her. 


She came across as quite whiny and selfish to me. She's forever focused on how her Stain and her grandmother's sin won't shape who she is. Yet she gets away with constant rule breaking and doing things that no normal person would do. All because she she wants to prove she is not defined by her Stain and her history. While that's a good thing, she wants to make her own mark on the village and "wash away the stain and sin" (something along those lines) the way she acts and whines in a pity me but don't kind of way got annoying fast. Its woe is me, I'm so hard done to and everyone is so mean to me, but I'm really going to fight it because I'm Stained and everyone is mean to me. Its the same thing over and over and over. It became really hard to route for her to rise above it. 


She ventures outside the settlement a lot and makes some startling discoveries. There's a rather dull romance and a councilman who has his eye on her who's got his own secrets. The mystery of what's going on outside the settlement was pretty intriguing and quite page turning towards the end. 


The ending was disappointing. There was a bit of action but then it was like...oh. That's it. 


The concept was a good one,  I would certainly read something by this author again, I liked the writing, but this particular book didn't really do much for me. 


Crosses off a square for Holiday Bingo - Snow on Cover



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review 2014-11-24 00:00
Winterkill - Kate A. Boorman Not bad but lacked a sense of time and place. Interesting while reading but it left me wanting more.
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review 2014-11-02 21:45
Review: Winterkill
Winterkill - Kate A. Boorman

So I have not read this type of book in a while. I think that last civilization I read was “The Forest Of Hands & Teeth” where there was a civilization  out in the middle of the woods, aren’t allowed to leave, etc. So I was pretty interested in what this story has to offer.

Plot: This is about a group of people who leave out in the woods following a strict amount of rules. The live under religious restriction and are forced to do whatever the “brothers” tell them too. I found this story interesting because of the way they live. And of course the one girl who rebels, breaking rules, going deeper into the forrest. The plot also dives deep into the past on how this little town got started and why. I loved following the character, learning more of the why and how’s.

Rules: A lot of the rules are the keep the people in fear as well as trapped there. No one comes back from the forrest so they are forced to live there. That is until the reader learns that there is indeed more outside of the forrest.

Ending: The ending leaves for more to be explored. I really like the outcome and would like to read more “beyond” the forrest should there be a second book. It also ended on a happy, cheerful note, that even though so much was exposed, there is still much to be changed.

I really enjoyed this book. It certainly wasn’t what I expected but it had certain parts that had me completely immersed. Winterkill is an crafty thriller with lots of twist and turns.

Source: www.bookswithbite.net
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review 2014-09-03 18:49
Winterkill by Kate A. Boorman
Winterkill - Kate A. Boorman

If you've read any other reviews of Winterkill, you probably already know what movie this book is being compared to. I'll admit, I had the same thought originally. A hidden settlement in the middle of the forest. An unknown terror that lurks right on the fringes, terrifying the inhabitants into submission. The group of people who rise up to make sure that their submission is total. Are you with still with me? Now, as much as I agree that this has a lot of similarities, it doesn't negate the fact that this actually an interesting story. Winterkill does have quite a bit to offer. Don't count it out just yet.


I adored Emmeline, our main character. As one of the Stained, she has a much different view of her town than most of the other people who populate it. She's on the outside, looking in. This creates a great way to see into the corruption that simmers beneath the surface. It makes it easy to understand that nothing is what it seems. It also creates this beautiful and mysterious atmosphere, that only increases as Emmeline slowly uncovers the truth. I couldn't pull myself away. I had to see what she found next. Her innocence clashed perfectly with what was going on around her, and I loved it.


Major points also go to Boorman for creating such a believable society in the first place. Although it is hinted at, it's never quite fully explained where Emmeline's community came from. We simply know that each Winter (La Prise) they struggle to survive, and welcome the next Spring. I was easily able to make myself a part of their struggle. Everything from chores, to customs, to classes was laid out for me. I was just another cog in the machine. I feel like that was an important part of why I read this so ravenously. I felt involved.


So why the three star rating, you ask? Simply, I felt like the first half of Winterkill was spectacular, and then things went downhill. By the time I neared the ending, I knew that there wouldn't be enough time to answer all my questions. There simply weren't enough pages left to tie everything up. I watched as Emmeline finally discovered the truth, and found myself sitting there confused. It wasn't what I was expecting, at all. It didn't feel like an ending worthy of all the lovely, atmospheric writing leading up to it. Overall though? I enjoyed my time in Emmeline's world. With its mysteries and romance, I couldn't fault it for not delivering the ending that I personally wanted. Three stars it is.

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