Wednesday, 13 April 2011
Review: Department 19 by Will Hill
Title: Department 19
Series: Department 19
Author: Will Hill
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books
Publication Date: 31 Mar 2011
Synopsis: From Amazon
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.
When Jamie Carpenter's mother is kidnapped by strange creatures, he finds himself dragged into Department 19, the government's most secret agency.
Fortunately for Jamie, Department 19 can provide the tools he needs to find his mother, and to kill the vampires who want him dead. But unfortunately for everyone, something much older is stirring, something even Department 19 can't stand up against…
For those of you that already know me you will already be aware of my love of conspiracy theories, I am sure if circumstances alter I will be sitting in a bunker with a tin foil hat, lol. So you can imagine my excitement at reading the synopsis for this book, I knew I just had to have it.
The beginning is quite startling and scary. I was completely hooked by the end of the first page. The beautiful use of vocabulary made me very happy, so nice to see considering the vast amount of text speak and slang used (I myself am guilty of this).
Richly descriptive writing, even if it is gory (you all know I don't like gore right) in this case I am making an exception. Detailed historical references provide realism to the background story. A working knowledge of Bram Stokers Dracula is necessary to fully appreciate the background plot. The humorous portrayal of Stoker himself pre-writing the novel made me giggle and give credence to the origins of the Dracula tale.
Chapters featuring the history of Department 19 are placed intermittently throughout book. The 3rd person narrative allows multi-layered plot threads to be tightly controlled, the narrator is an omniscient presence yet unobtrusive. Plot hints are very well camouflaged but are there if you really pay attention, I did pick up on who the real 'traitor' was and sat in my chair shouting at my book 'I knew it' when all was revealed. The simultaneous story-lines flowed seamlessly, giving credit to Will Hill's writing style and tight control of the plot.
Jamie is such a great main character, as his story developed I found myself rooting for him, cheering him on in his efforts. His capacity for compassion was admirable, even if he sometimes placed his trust in the wrong person. It is not something that should be deterred in him. Jamie's attitude and aptitude to his basic training earned him a lot of respect from his fellow agents. He really seems to have found his niche. You are left wondering as to why there are cliques and a hierarchy amongst vampire hunters. It saddens me that birthright is so emphasised, even if Jamie is a brilliant, natural vampire hunter.
Larissa's inclusion as a main character lead to the consideration that it may be possible for some vampires to retain their humanity. The vampire community in Valhalla also proves this to a degree.
The events that take place in the present are mainly focalized from Jamie's point of view, giving additional insight into his personality/thoughts/feelings. While the events in the past are focalized from the key characters in the history of Department 19, making really fascinating reading. There is a certain part of the story centred in NYC told from Carpenters' view point where I could effectively feel the terror he felt at the situation he was in flowing through him. So much so that my adrenaline kicked in, I am sure you will agree that it takes powerful writing to induce such a response.
There are a lot of unexpected twists which took my breath away, I really did not see any of them coming (this rarely happens). As I have previously stated the action is adrenaline inducing; for example:
What would you do if you were confronted by a pack of crazy, murderous vampires:
c) Freeze and Faint (this would be me)
The thought of an organised vampire army is truly terrifying, that would surely be the end of humanity unless it was kept as fodder *shudder*.
Although this book is gory, it is easily overlooked. This book will open up the original vampire genre to a whole new generation. I mean if it has me wanting to read Bram Stoker's Dracula I cant wait to see what it will do in the library. Jamie's transformation from sullen teen to kick-ass vampire hunter is inspiring to say the least.
If you like vampires you are going to love this, if you love conspiracy theories then this is a must. So what are you waiting for GO READ IT NOW.