In a secret supernatural battle that's been raging for over a century, the stakes have just been raised - and they're not wooden anymore."My master is the second oldest vampire in the world," she said. "He's more powerful than you can imagine."
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780007424900
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Book Review: Department 19 by Will Hill - Reviewed by Maree (12 Jul 2011)
Although my years of being a “young adult” are long gone I love reading young adult fiction. I read a lot of it, I study it, and I write it and I’ll read pretty much anything aimed at the YA audience. But I couldn’t finish Department 19.
Department 19 is a long book, at almost 500 pages. I made it to about page 150 and decided I could take no more. It’s not that I dislike this genre of book. I read Charlie Higson’s The Enemy a couple of months ago and loved it. I’ve also recently read Catherine Jinks’ Abused Werewolf Rescue Group, and, although I didn’t enjoy it as much as The Enemy, it was a good read with plenty of fast paced action. What these two books have that Department 19 doesn’t is good, strong writing.
Department 19 just doesn’t measure up. It’s tedious reading with too much description, a protagonist (Jamie) we don’t really get to connect with (despite all the words) and some plain awful writing. The idea of using figures from classic horror stories from the past is quite clever, but the execution is poor.
Department 19 plods along from one scene to the next with only the barest of plots and, despite the number of action scenes, the writing isn’t strong enough to be gripping. There is way too much padding and back story and not enough to get the reader emotionally invested in what is happening to Jamie.
There are much better YA books out there to be read.
Book Review: Department 19 by Will Hill - Reviewed by Sapphdragon (15 Jun 2011)
On the outside this seemed like a novel full of promise. It had an interesting premise: The events from Dracula were real and on their return, the four friends who had slain Dracula combined with the British government to create Department 19 to wipe out the 'vampire disease' for good. Bring it forward 100 or so years to a modern day department 19 and the descendants of those same friends.
However i am not totally sure this novel delivers on this promise as the story itself seemed to bea combination of Alex Rider meets UK tv show Demons.
As mentioned before, I really liked the premise. As a fan of the novel Dracula, the what happened next scenario really intrigued me and in truth, most of author Will Hill's flashback historical scenes were actually quite interesting and added to the story as a whole.
The biggest problem I had was that I did not connect with the main character Jamie Carpenter at all. At best, I found him frustratingly stubborn and determined ( as in determined not to listen to anyone) to save his mother. At worst, he just didn't gain my empathy at all. Yes his father was dead, yes his mother had been kidnapped but no I didn't care. I guess because it was the typical teenage hero character, doesn't listen to anyone, acts on instinct and somehow manages to be more talented at the job in question (in this novel it is vampire hunting) than men more than twice his age with three times more experience. In fact i found many of Hill's characters quite one dimensional which didn't help me to connect with them any better.
I found much of his plot formulaic rather than inspired as if during the middle he was just going through the motions, getting through middle stuff to get to his exciting conclusion and that was the way it read; a series of events jotted down rather than a flowing story and I actually found it a little hard to retain my interest through the middle of the story.
That being said, the ending was a little better and caught my interest again and while settling the immediate story left some interesting questions opened for the next book.
Overall, the story and the promise is there. Just maybe it could have been written a little better to bring out all it could have been.
I give this book three stars... just.
Before quitting his job in publishing to write Department 19, Will Hill worked as a bartender, a bookseller and a door-to-door charity worker. He grew up in the north-east of England, is scared of spiders, and is a big fan of cats. He lives in east London with his girlfriend, where he splits his time between staring out of the window and staring at a computer screen. The latter tends to be more productive.
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