Monday, March 21, 2011

Department 19: By Will Hill



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.


To be honest, when I read the back jacket synopsis of Department 19 I didn’t know how the author, Will Hill, was going to combine Frankenstein, vampires, a government agency into a book and make it work.

Of course I should have never doubted the writing prowess of Mr. Hill, as once I picked it up, I couldn’t put Department 19 down. Hill takes a semi-familiar cast of characters (with the legend of Dracula/Van Helsing and Frankenstein) and changes them just enough to allow enough mystery and grittiness to fill out these characters while creating an engaging back story.

Of course besides Frankenstein (who was one of my favorite characters) Hill does a good job demonstrating Jamie’s urgency and worry about getting his mother back. Hill might have gone a bit far in Jamie’s expertise in vampire hunting, but if he didn’t give him that then it wouldn’t have been a very fair fight in the story (and it certainly makes for some fantastic action.)

Of course besides the characters, I was captivated by the story itself. I know the premise sounds a little ridiculous, but Hill makes it work. It’s fast paced, engaging, and full of action. That coupled with the interesting characters, nonstop action, and engaging writing makes Department 19 a great book for boys and girls of all ages, and I personally can’t wait for the next in the series.


9 out of 10


Publisher: Razorbill

Published: March 31, 2011

Price: $17.99

1 comment:

  1. I liked _Department 19_ overall, but the nitpicker in me could not overlook some mistakes.

    First, the author makes a big deal over the exact weaponry carried by the Department 19 operators (MP5s and Glock 17s), but then makes a noob mistake of calling the magazine a "clip". (Clips and magazines are not the same thing - the terms are not interchangeble) This might be overlooked, since Jaimie had probably not handled guns before his 2-day intensive training, but then he aced the simulator test like an elite, highly-trained operator! Firearms may be easier to use than swords, but advanced proficiency cannot be acquired so quickly.

    Second, after Stevenson was Turned into a werewolf, Morris "pulled the Glock from his belt for a second time" and "cocked the gun", before killing Stevenson. [p483]
    This is patently idiotic!
    A Glock does not require to be cocked, and there is no way to do it, since a Glock has no hammer. If the gun was carried Israeli-style, with the chamber empty, then the slide would need to be racked in order to fire the first shot, but Morris had already used the gun shortly before.

    Technical errors like this made the story less than it might otherwise have been. If you _will_ give your readers specific details, at least make sure they are correct!