Tag Archive: Franenstein


So I’ve only been meaning to do this for the past two months. No worries, right? I did really want to make sure that I hit this one because there were some big changes that started with the October box that this one sets up for nicely. On to the review, enjoy!

the box itself

overview

So the September box was the last of the original set up Second Star Books boxes which opens the way for the current launch boxes and the quarterly seasonal boxes. So it is the last monthly box to have the theme complementing second book or a lot of the other items like the wall hanging. This works pretty well for me because I haven’t been entirely sure what I was going to do with some of the previous boxes’ items. Onward though, and kindly forgive my messy desk.

wall hanging

I admit I don’t do a lot of wall art, mostly due to apartment living. I do really like this quote though. I feel like I need it on five separate coffee mugs. The pattern is also something I like, the sort of red smoke thing that’s going on. Plus the wall hanging itself is well put together and I feel like it’s something I might hang up in a library nook once I’m some place more permanent.

death market candle

The candle, the candle, the candle. I think I look forward to these as much as to the books themselves. The Mercado de la Muerte candle earns a special place in my heart for smelling like delicious cherry pie and thus, combined with its name, making me think of cyanide. Almond being mentioned as one of its component scents probably helps.

books

The books for the month include Rebecca Schaeffer’s Not Even Bones, something I’m definitely going to need to dig into, and a special custom cover edition of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. I no longer have an excuse to not read that. Plus the signed book plate is awesome, I really like it when they match the cover or have thematically appropriate art on them.

Here’s where we get into new stuff. With the new boxes one of the items each month is going to be an exclusive Second Star Books enamel pin. The September box came with two, the floral heart for Frankenstein and the bloody scalpel for Not Even Bones, plus a pin buddy to display them and future pins on. These look awesome and I’m really looking forward to seeing what designs show up in future boxes.

I completely forgot to take a picture of the woodmark book mark, which is unfortunate because they always look nice.

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.