My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Do you know what? I’m reading some dead good books recently. And this is one of them, but perhaps it could be better phrased as an “undead” good book (See what I did there? Wasn’t it wondrous and puntastic? Okay, I’ll stop now).
Welcome to the world of Department 19. Vampires are real. They do not twinkle in the sunlight. They kill; brutally and viciously and they are out there right now. Department 19 hunts them.
Jamie Carpenter’s discovering all of this. What with his dad dead, his mother being kidnapped, and being rescued by a guy called Frankenstein, he has no choice really. It’s time for Jamie to discover the truth about his father, try to save his mother and work out exactly what the vampires are up to.
I had a lot of love for this. It’s brutal, violent, but justifiably so. It doesn’t take pleasure in the gore, rather reflecting it as part of the world the vampires inhabit and as a result of inhabiting it with them. And these vampires are nasty. Truly nasty. It’s not easy to read this without getting spooked and feeling a little chill crawl up your spine.
What’s also enjoyable is that, despite the predictability of certain points such as Jamie being a bit amazing at what he ends up doing, Department 19 obviously enjoys what it is. The story doesn’t develop quickly, but it does embrace a whole world of horror and fantastical references, creating an impressive mythology of its own. I loved how it tied in the original Dracula story and characters such as the Harkers and Bram Stoker. It’s also a big hefty opener, setting up many plot points to be resolved in later books, without neglecting the plot of book one.
This would be an excellent choice for those who have exhausted Micheal Grant, Alex Rider and the Cherub series.