Battle Lines (Dept. 19 #3) – Will Hill







Read them?

Ok, so Larissa is in America with SP9, Kate has joined a special unit that is investigating all the operators to try and find out who the leak is, Jamie is still angry and Matt is still working on the Lazarus Project and fancying a Russian girl. They are all still friends though. Jamie’s Dad is still locked up in the base in America and Larissa starts to get curious about who the mystery man is that’s in the cell, she starts to do some investigating of her own, while fending off the advances of a chap called Tim who wants to go out with her (never mind the fact that already has a boyfriend). She is, however enjoying being in America where people are a little more accepting of the fact that she is a vampire. She has also made some great friends as well and is in two minds about whether she wants to return to the UK, despite the Jamie situation.

In the meantime, Kate and Matt’s dads have made friends and have started to investigate the possibility that Dept. 19 actually exists. Several high security facilities have been attacked and all the patients have been turned into vampires. The problem is that they are much more powerful then normal newborns and Matt has some ideas as to why that is.

Lots of things happen in this book, despite the fact that they are all only about 17 the four main characters have all been promoted to Lieutenant and take on loads of responsibility. The interesting thing about this one is that one of them is starting to question the need to just goes out and kill vampires because they’re vampires. It’s likened to ethnic cleansing, which I suppose in a way it is. The team are starting to struggle a little bit with the concept of what they are doing. This is setting the last book up to be really explosive.

This is also a big book. At 701 pages it took me a week to read. I love the way they are written and really like the characters but, time doesn’t seem to move on very much and you kind of get the feeling that a lot is happening in a really short space of time, which in turn becomes a little unbelievable. It’s also a bit unrealistic to accept that grown up people with years of battle hardened experience listen to a bunch of kids. There is also the relationship between Jamie and Larissa, which is all a bit intense but at the same time, not.

That said, this is a great series and I really like it. I think it appeals to both boys and girls and has the right amount of horror to not make it too gory and the right amount of romance to make it not too gushy.

Another great book by Will Hill and I cannot wait to read the last one. The conclusion should be fantastic and I really hope that Dracula gets his comeuppance. He really, really deserves it.

Dept. 19: The Rising – Will Hill #2

the rising

So if you loved the first one that it will come as no surprise that you will love this one too. This book starts off where the last one finished. Frankenstein is dead after fighting with a giant werewolf and falling off a  cliff after the Lindisfarne incident. Jamie and Larissa are now an item but are keeping it secret from Kate, who has a secret of her own. Alexandru Rusmanov is dead but his brother Valeri has managed to find Dracula’s ashes and resurrect him – sort of. Valeri calls on their other brother, Valentin, currently living quite pleasantly in New York, to join the battle and attack Blacklight and kill them all. He’s not to keen on this and comes up with a plan of his own.

The other part to this story is that Frankenstein is not dead but has lost his memory. He is lost in Europe but a nagging memory makes him head to Paris where he meets his old ‘friend’ Latour. He ends up in this weird version of hell with a crazy vampire called Lord Dante, the self proclaimed Vampire King of Paris.

Jamie is settling in at Dept. 19, as are Larissa and Kate. His mother is now, unfortunately, a vampire but she lives quite happily in the secure basement and he goes to visit her. They are all supposed to still only be about 16 so they have a lot of responsibility on their shoulders. Jamie is also a pretty angry bloke. He befriends the doctor who is doing secret experiments in the secret lab and discovers that he is trying to find a cure for vampirism. Sounds like a good thing right? Hmm, well wait and see. There is also the appearance of another character who everyone assumes is dead but is also on a quest to find the cure so that he can save his wife.

This is a big book. I loved it. I was a little bit excited to read it and cannot wait to read the rest- they are so well written and gory and just a bit crazy, but I think that’s why I like them. I did also really like The Enemy Series by Charlie Higson so that might be why! The idea that the government has a secret department to deal with the supernatural is kind of conspiracy theory gone mad, but how exciting if it were actually true! I also like the historical element of it. I liked the way that it had a split narrative in the first one and this isn’t quite the same but, there are some bits set in the past and it fleshes out some of the main characters and how they got to be in Blacklight in the first place. Also, because of the first one it’s difficult to know which people to trust, especially in the organisation.

If you haven’t read this series then why are you ignoring me?! Get to it….

Further reading: Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and anything gothic. Also The Enemy Series by Charlie Higson but definitely not Twilight – it’s too wholesome!

Department 19 – Will Hill

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!)