Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Review: Department 19

Department 19 by Will Hill

Synopsis (From Goodreads):  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. 

Department 19 takes us through history, across Europe, and beyond - from the cobbled streets of Victorian London to prohibition-era New York, from the icy wastes of Arctic Russia to the treacherous mountains of Transylvania. Part modern thriller, part classic horror, it's packed with mystery, mayhem, and a level of suspense that makes a Darren Shan novel look like a romantic comedy.

Jamie Carpenter always thought vampires were stuff of stories, that was until his mother goes missing and he's attacked by something waiting for him at home. After being saved by a man named Frankenstein, Jamie is brought to Department 19, a place that's not meant to exist (well, at least no one knows exists). Department 19 is a secret government organisation that is responsible for policing the supernatural and keeping the world of vampires and monsters a secret from the outside world. Aided by Frankenstein and a vampire girl who may or may not be dangerous, but definitely has her own agenda for helping them, they must attempt to save Jamie's mother and defeat a powerful and ancient vampire.

I had heard good things about Department 19 before I picked up the book, and I was not let down. Will Hill has created an intriguing under-world using the legendary vampire Dracula and the hunter Van Helsing as a starting point for his world. He has brought the terrifyingly dangerous vampire back into the modern generation which is good to see.

Jamie Carpenter is an interesting character. He knows nothing about this world or what his father did. He has been led to believe that his father was an international terrorist instead of a vampire hunter when he died. This little detail with his father helped to create a tough and well-rounded character. Together with a cast of oddities from Frankenstein's monster to a beautiful vampire who seems to want to help Jamie but everyone says can't trust her, to the ancient vampire set on seeing all the Carpenter family dead, this makes it a thrilling page turner from beginning to end.

The use of the two time lines, the modern with Jamie and the past with Van Helsing, helps to give the reader a deeper insight into the world, while still foreshadowing for events that are yet to come. I recommend this to anyone who loves vampires (especially the rip-people's-throats-out, savage kind). I look forward to seeing where Jamie's adventures goes next with the sequel.

Source: audio book
2012 TBR Pile Reading Challenge: #6 of 11-20
2012 YA Reading Challenge: #20 of 50


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