Nothing much to say here. Think I may have a bit of the flu, but I’m getting over it. No sightings of tall skinny fellas recently, so on to the review.
In light of the trend towards YA vampire titles recently, I was a little hesitant when I started reading Will Hill’s Department 19. Happily my doubts were more or less put to rest rather quickly, this is not a weepy diluted romance novel nor a particularly angst filled rage at the world in general.
Jamie Carpenter’s father was killed two years ago by men in black uniforms, shot down as a traitor to England. Now his mother has been kidnapped by a terrifying man with abilities that can’t exist, a man who seems to know him. If Jamie is going to save his mother he’ll need the help of Department 19 the mysterious government agency that protects Britain from the things that go bump in the night. With that help comes information he may not want to know about his father, Jamie will have to deal with the past to face a monster beyond anything he’d imagined before.
Now for the fun part, this was one of the better YA vampire novels I’ve read so far. With exception to Larissa, most of the important vampires were of the classic undead near-Dionysian sadist persuasion doing what they wanted simply because they could. The exceptions were, while sympathetic, minor character. I was rather caught off guard by some of the language used in Department 19. It was accurate for the way many modern teenagers speak but with far more profanity than I’ve come to expect from a YA novel. I personally found this refreshing because it shows that the author knows a bit about how his target audience interacts. Some of Jamie’s interactions with Frankenstein came across as a bratty kid know-it-all to his Watson, but can be forgiven fairly easily. He is a brat for much of the book, understandable in that he’s a teenager, but it kind of makes me wonder if he was taught any manners. I didn’t like the speed at which Jamie mastered the skills needed to fight vampires, but acknowledge that it was necessary to the plot and to keep down page length. My only serious problem with Department 19 was the sequel hook at the end. We are talking a near painful jar apart the conclusion sequel hook that makes me wonder if all YA novels are part of a bigger series now. It loses points for that, but for the quality of writing up to that point and the enjoyment I got out of the parts that Jamie wasn’t being a brat in, I give it a four out of five.