There are a couple of things I would like to share with you before I talk about this book. Secretly I am the worst kind of book snob who would see the cover of this book and immediately think ‘oh, it’s for boys. I don’t want to read this’ and put it back on the shelf; which is exactly what I have been doing for the last couple of years. Next, I Googled it after I had read it and discovered that not only is it a series of five and counting but is also has a huge cult following online and there’s manga and all sorts. And it is super popular. And now I’m going to tell you why.
Jamie Carpenter is the son of a government worker and his wife who live in a house in the woods. A couple of years before the book is set, Jamie is waiting at the window for his dad to return from work. When he hears the car he takes a look and sees his father getting something out of the boot of his car and black shapes moving along the ground around him. The next thing he sees is his father surrounded by armed police and raising a gun, he is shot. Jump forward two years and several moves later and Jamie is in school and not coping very well with the loss of his father. He arrives home from school one day to find that the house has been smashed up, there is blood everywhere and his mother is gone. He also meets a creepy man who makes a run for it when Frankenstein appears (!) yes, THE Frankenstein. Cue Jamie being taken under the (huge) wing of the monster and taken to a secret government facility where he is briefed on the fact that; yes, his father did work for the government but for the secret government department known as 19. Department 19 is essentially a group of vampire hunters who travel the country killing as many vampires as they can. The big one (Dracula) was killed a few years ago but his three oldest converts are still around and wreaking havoc. People in the Dept. believe that Jamie’s dad sold secrets to the vampires which resulted in some of them being killed; so they all hate him and think Jamie is a wrong ‘un. One of the original vampires Alexandru has kidnapped Jamie’s mum because Jamie’s dad killed his wife (Still with me?) and he wants revenge and Jamie. Jamie also meets a girl vampire, Larissa, who was supposed to kill him but chickened out and was punished by Alexandru. She is picked up by Department 19 and is now is prison there. She tells Jamie her story and they develop a connection.
I can’t really fit the whole story in here without taking ages and then you won’t go and read it! I really liked this book and I will be reading the rest of the series over the summer. I especially liked all the flashbacks that helped to explain the situation between the leaders of Dept. 19 and how it was all set up. There is also some classic characters from literacy fiction here; Dracula, Van Helsing, Frankenstein etc. and it should be a gothic horror novel but the author keeps it light enough so that you want to find out what will happen. I wouldn’t be surprised if this kind of place really existed in the government. I’m not sure that Frankenstein would be able to walk the streets without getting a few stares though! Get in to this series, you won’t be disappointed. And I pinky promise that I will not be put off by a boyish cover again.
(AND I am aware that I used and at the beginning of way too many sentences in this post!)