Saturday, 26 July 2014

Book Review - Department 19

Title: Department 19
Author: Will HIll
Series: Department 19 (book 1)
Publisher: HarperCollinsChildren'sBooks
Release Date: 31 Mar 2011
ISBN-13: 978-0007354450

Jamie Carpenter's life will never be the same. His father is dead, his mother is missing, and he was just rescued by an enormous man named Frankenstein. Jamie is brought to Department 19, where he is pulled into a secret organization responsible for policing the supernatural, founded more than a century ago by Abraham Van Helsing and the other survivors of Dracula. Aided by Frankenstein's monster, a beautiful vampire girl with her own agenda, and the members of the agency, Jamie must attempt to save his mother from a terrifyingly powerful vampire.

My Review
I saw a copy of this in my local book shop ages ago and decided I would buy it. It was on sale and sounded like the sort of thing I would enjoy, but it has sat on my shelf ever since. Until I knew Will Hill was going to be at YALC, then I decided I had to try to read it so I could meet him.
I only started it the day before the convention as I had to finish the book I was already reading and I only got 100 pages into it, but in that first 100 pages I was hooked, the characters seemed to come to life off the page and I immediately felt connected and wanted to know more. 
I met Will Hill and he was very nice, friendly and we had a brief chat. He signed my book and I got a picture with him. It was awesome, and I knew I wanted to read the rest.
Unfortunately I have had a bit of a block lately, I just haven't been able to concentrate on reading, and it's not this book. I even tried re-reading some of my favourite books, and books from series I know I love, but nothing was working. 
However I had a break through yesterday and seem to be getting back into my reading swing, so I sat down tonight (as I had an evening in) and finished this book. I have also read 100 pages of book 2 already. :)
Department 19 is a secret organisation that trains operatives to hunt down supernatural beings, mostly vampires. Jamie thought he was an ordinary boy but when his dad is killed and his mum goes missing he starts to question everything and then he meets a large man named Frankenstein who introduces him to the Department and all it involves. His life changes for ever.
This book mixes fantasy with history and folklore. Dracula and Van Helsing appear in the story and play a vital part in the events. I liked the mix of old legends and new, it works really well and makes you feel like there is more to the story, more to discover. That the characters actually have a history. It somehow made it feel more realistic and believable. 
I think my favourite character is Larissa though, she is a vampire but also way more than that and she plays an important role in Jamie's life. She has a no nonsense attitude and puts on a tough front, but you do see her moments of weakness and doubts and how she fights through them, which just makes her all the more kick ass. 
There is quite a lot of violence in the book and also a fair bit of gore - descriptions of blood and guts. So younger readers should be aware. But although I am a bit of a wimp, I didn't find it too bad, in fact I was kind of captivated, totally hooked into the story, so it didn't bother me as much.
I am glad I picked up this book, and I can't wait to find out what happens to Jamie and the others.

My Rating

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