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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Fourteen year old Jamie's life changes irrevocably as he is plunged into the secret world of Department 19, a.k.a. Blacklight and finds out his family's connection to it. Plenty of drama and slayings. Although another book based on the eternally (!) popular vampire theme, I felt that this book will appeal equally to boys and girls for a change because it incorporates high-tech gadgetry, lots of action, has just a touch of romance and is written from a male point of view. I am not sure that the Frankenstein element helped draw the reader into the story but overall it was very readable considering the age group that it is aimed at. I would recommend this for older teens due to the graphic description of some killings and the horror.
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on 23 April 2016
This excellent book basically involves a teenage lad who gets involved with a shadowy British Goverment department fighting against the vampire menace! This series reclaims the teen vampire fiction from twilight ( which is really a mills & boon book about teens moaning,pouting ,does he /she love me?,vampires don't kill people only love rubbish !)

Great for all ages not just teenage boys!
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on 8 April 2011
For a lover of books this was an absolute treat! Department 19 has everything you could possibly want in it from the creatures of nightmares to the bravest of souls and adventure.

Will Hill has done a fantastic job of giving readers the opportunity to associate with the main character on a personal level and has given the reader the detail to feel as though they're in the middle of every heart stopping situation.

I would highly recommend getting your hands on this book as it's a pleasure to read and will have you hooked from beginning to end.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
An urban fantasy/horror novel for younger readers. Although in this case the ideal age is probably fifteen and up because this is all about very nasty vampires.

And it doesn't pull any punches in depicting that. Be warned it can be very gruesome and gory on occasions. Although it's never gratuitious.

The premise of Department nineteen is that everything Bram Stoker wrote was true. Aside from a few minor embellishments. And as a result of the defeat of Dracula by Professor Van Helsing and cohorts the British Government set up a secret department designed to deal with them.

That was in victorian times. Flash forward to the present day and a short prologue tells us of how young Jamie Carpenter loses his father on one horrible night, a night when he sees strange things in the shadows.

Years later he's a convincingly disaffected and aimless and angry teenager looking for direction in a convincingly portrayed modern britain. Then his mother goes missing. He has a strange encounter with a strange girl. And then he encounters the department. Via an operative who is a bit of a household name.

We follow Jamie as he learns more about the Department, but all the time he's desperate to find his mother and rescue her. He's an angry young man because of this, but that doesn't make him unsympathetic because you can feel for him and what he is going through.

The occasional flashback chapter tells us of a few keys events from the history of the department.

When Jamie is finally able to try to find his mother, a fair few twists and turns courtesy of some cunning vampires await....

This is a well developed plot, leading to more gruesome vampire attacks and some epic confrontations. But it remains very readable throughout and has a great depth of invention also. Managing to provide a few new takes on the whole vampire thing this is a fine piece of work that manages to make a good impression in a crowded genre.

And like most first novels of this kind it's largely self contained but a couple of epilogues set up future plot developments so presumably Jamie and the department will be back for more. It should be worth a look.
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on 18 February 2015
This is my first time reading anything written by this author and I found myself sucked into the story quite quickly. An extremely well written story with well rounded characters. I can't wait to read the rest of the series and find out what happens next to Jamie and department 19. I would recommend this book to everyone.
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on 22 April 2015
I received an arc copy of this from the Publishers via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

I would describe this as a super fast action packed thriller aimed at young adults, with a thirst for vampires, Frankenstein and the likes. Well written, dramatic, bits of violence,

Jamie Carpenter lands in Department 19, he discovers his late father was a vampire hunter for the government like a type of MI5 organisation. His mother is taken by another vampire (2nd eldest in the world). Jamie loves his mum and will do anything to get her back. Many obstacles are put in his way, you will love the flashbacks and descriptions provided, making it thoroughly enjoyable and interesting. It really is fast paced and I am sure boys, men and perhaps a few gutsy girls will love this book. Watch out for Jamie, looks like this lad could become a lead character in spin offs from this book, as there is much room for the author to do so.

Loved it even though I am far from being young or male, but I do love thrillers, and vampires so this was a great read for me.
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on 9 December 2014
Just read the entire series back to back. There are no spoilers below. Okay let's clear up something - to call these young adult stories is to suggest a limited audience - nothing could be more wrong. If this was made into a film series and if there is any justice it will be (it would blow Twilight out of the ball park, the car park and into the next town) you could probably only do justice to it with an 18+ certificate. The nearest thing would be the style of the old 'Ultra-violet' tv series (also brilliant!) Yep you are going to need to take just two leaps of faith, vampires exist and so does Frankenstien. From them on you are the world of special forces, strong characters and a full developed realistic and rational world. Yes there is the sweet teenage hang on there isn' we have the main character Jamie coming to terms with what is happening in his life in the department and Larissa who can tear your head off. Yes they work brilliantly as characters but definitely not 'sweet'! This series offers a strangly believable and gradually more terrifying world with each story. The violence is graphic but never pointless and is necessary to create the tension. Now I just have to wait for the concluding book! My recommendation is to buy it but give yourself time because once you start you will want read the rest!
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on 13 February 2016
Picked up this book as a Christmas present for a young nephew, but sadly he never got it.
The reason being that I picked it up and could not put it down (I am 56 and don't normally read this type of material). Have to say that it is a very well written story and I have since read all 5 books, each as well written as this one. Totally enjoyed the idea that heritage, history and the supernatural have been brought together in such an enjoyable read. Not too far fetched as to be unbelieveable, highly imaginative and would make an excellent film (in my opinion).
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Ever since publisher Harper Collins held a press event at the Cabinet War Rooms last September there has been a lot of talk amongst bloggers about this book. Now it is finally released, is that early buzz justified? Hell yes - every single word of it. It is possibly the best teen action horror story I have ever read and if managed well I can see a very bright future for it, including movie deals, video games and so on, with a franchise that could rival the megastardom of Resident Evil. I think a minority of authors these days write books with the hope that it will be picked up by a Hollywood movie company who will plough millions of dollars into turning it into a blockbuster release - if ever there was a book that deserved that sort of treatment then it is Department 19, although at no point does it feel as if Will Hill has deliberately set out with this in mind. In fact, very early on in my reading of the book it wasn't so much movie treatment I was thinking, but just how easily the plot, characters, monsters, locations, weapons and vehicles would transfer over to the PS3 or X-Box as a superb First Person Shooter.

The basic premise of Department 19 revolves around one simple question: What if Bram Stoker's Dracula had not been a work of fiction? From this one question we find ourselves joining the dots and the only conclusion we can come to is that if it wasn't fiction then the only possible alternative is that his much loved story is in fact an account of a real life battle between good and evil. Sometimes great books are born from such simple questions, and Department 19 is one of these as it follows the assumption that if Dracula was real, then so were Van Helsing, Harker, Holmwood et al. I can just imagine the excitement Will Hill must have felt as his synapses started firing as he answered every subsequent question that arose, making connection after connection and thereby coming up with the idea for the secret branch of the government that is Department 19.

What really makes Department 19 something much more than your average action horror is the back story that Will Hill has created. Not content to have his young hero battling all kinds of evil, he makes sure that the reader truly believes in the world he has created. The action occasionally leaps back in time, and as readers we are able to follow the adventures of Van Helsing and gang in the early years of the Department. We also get to find out how Jamie's ancestor, John Carpenter, first met Frankenstein, saved his life, and then the latter making a vow that goes on to be honoured for generations of the Carpenter family. Oh, did I not say that Frankenstein's monster was real as well? Keep up - surely if Dracula was real then Big Frank has to be as well, but this time he is fighting for the good guys. If you trawl back through the Spill The Ink blog you will see photos of some of Will's handwritten notes, showing family trees of his characters, a list of the previous commanding officers of Department 19, a guide to the strengths and weaknesses of vampires, and even a detailed list of authorisation codes for the various members of Department 19. And I am sure that this is just a tiny selection of his notes - the detail the author must have gone in to to ensure that his world seemed real must be hundreds of pages in length, and that's in addition to the research he must have carried out into the various historical aspects of his back story.

As well as great back story, Will Hill is also highly skilled at other aspects of the craft of writing. This book has a multitude of great characters, some of whom are not fully fleshed out in this first instalment, but promise to be interesting members of the cast in future stories. Best of all, some of the best characters in the story are the vampires themselves (hey... everyone loves a good villain!). These are certainly not the insipid, vacuous blood suckers that we have had to endure in recent years - Will Hill has drawn on the nastiest examples of these creatures to create his monsters for his inspiration, and in doing so has reclaimed the vampire from the girly, fawning Twilight brigade.These monsters are Homicidal (and yes, I meant that with a capital H): think the sheer single-minded evilness of Kurt Barlow from 'Salem's Lot, the ambition of Deacon Frost from Blade, the sadistic bloodlust of Marlow from 30 Days of Night. Nasty, every one of them, and that is what Alexandru, Valentin and their various minions are like. However just as all these vampires from the annals of horror are very different characters, so too are Will Hill's creations, each with their own personality traits and motivations.

Mr Hill also knows how to write action scenes that leave the reader breathless; over the years I have read many action thrillers, both for kids and adults, and Will Hill's writing of the all-important fight and chase scenes is up there with the best of them. Of course, many of these scenes involve Jamie, Frank et al battling against the evil vampiric hordes, but thanks to the imagination of the author they have a lot more than wooden stakes in their armoury. These vampire hunters are like the British SAS, US Navy SEALs and the Israeli Sayeret Matkal all rolled into one, and they come armed to the teeth with UV cannons, MP5 machine guns, armoured vehicles and best of all, the T-18 pneumatic launcher, aka the T-Bone. One squeeze on the trigger of this marvel of ingenuity and a metal stake explodes from its barrel, with devastating effect for any vampire that just happens to be in its line of fire. But that's not all: said stake has a trailing wire attached to it, which then pulls the stake back into the barrel, and it is reloaded and ready to fire all over again. Genius! How I would love to see Edward Cullen on the receiving end of this weapon.

On top of all this the dialogue that Will Hill writes also flows well throughout the story, and is never intrusive or unrealistic. It fits the characters, and the various time periods in which we see them. And this is his début novel - I imagine there will be many an aspiring author sticking pins in Will Hill voodoo dolls whilst going slowly green with envy.

I read a couple of early reviews of Department 19 on here a while back, written by someone as part of the Amazon Vine programme. Said reviewer, at the end of an otherwise cracking review, questioned whether Will Hill's treatment of Stoker and Shelley in their respective flashback scenes showed disrespect to these two authors. Another reviewer questioned the credibility of some of the plot. I think these reviewers take themselves a little too seriously, obviously know little about teen fiction and need to carefully remove the self-righteous rods from their proverbials. To the first I would ask how can an author who has written a book that treats the creations of these two authors with such reverence be accused of disrespecting their characters? I would not be surprised if many kids who have not yet discovered the joys of Dracula and Frankenstein will actually be encouraged to pick up these books for the first time following a reading of Department 19. And to reviewer number two I would proclaim that teen boys (and many, many girls) are going to totally love this book - they won't care about 100% credibility when there is such an exciting, fast-paced, well-written story to hold their attention. At what age did this reviewer lose the ability to suspend disbelief and enjoy a full-on action adventure story for what it is?

Department 19 is the first book in a series, but unlike many books like this it does bring the main plot of the story to something of a natural conclusion. However, Will Hill very cleverly tacks on a couple of epilogues that have the reader salivating even more for a sequel as he teases us with a couple of very short scenes that in just a few pages set us up for some very exciting plot developments that no doubt will appear in the sequel. I have no idea how many books are planned in this series at the moment, but I am more than happy to keep on reading them for years to come if they are as good as Department 19.

Back in November some bloggers got a little carried away on Twitter by proclaiming Department 19 to be the next Harry Potter. If I'm brutally honest I cannot agree with this as the secret behind Harry Potter's success was its cross-generational appeal, and it was only in the later books in the series that the plot started to get a lot darker and less kid-friendly, but by then everyone was already hooked. Department 19 will sadly not achieve this broad spectrum of appeal as it is certainly not suitable for younger kids and may create a few premature heart attacks amongst the blue-rinse brigade - it is after all an action horror story with many a gory moment, and any movie made would certainly not get a PG rating. We have also heard many publishers in recent years claiming that this new book or that new book will be the next HP - I remember Chicken House saying something akin to this about the Tunnels series (good, but hardly flying off the shelves HP-style), and I wouldn't be surprised if Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson books were also touted like this at some point. However, in my mind Department 19 is far better than all of these, and in this case I feel the hype is very much deserved. I have already stated that another book will have to be pretty darn special to beat Department 19 to the top spot in my list of Books of the Year for 2011 - I am more than happy to be proven wrong as that would mean yet another outstanding book is on the shelves, helping even more young people to develop an enjoyment of reading for pleasure.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 11 November 2013
"Department Nineteen" by Will Hill is first book in series that introduce reader to unusual British department that is responsible for solving supernatural things.

The book main character is Jamie Carpenter whose father was killed couple of years ago on charges of terrorism, and due to that he is a bitter man who isn't in good relations with his mother.
Although no matter how strange that could sound, one day he will be abducted by monster and then delivered to Frankenstein, in unusual secret department, called Department 19, secret British department that takes care of the supernatural creatures and events.
This department was established more than 100 years ago by Van Helsing and the other survivors from the group that haunted Dracula, and all these years they take care of vampires.

Because Jamie's father was one of the organization's most important members, and Jamie is his descendant, he'll start training vampire hunting, learn using hunting weapons, hear many things that are not taught in the general history, and also learn lot about this Department, together with their secrets.
Given that he would be keen to save his mother, Jamie will be forced to team up with an imprisoned vampire girl and one green monster...

"Department Nineteen" is book with one of the most unusual premise in last several years.
It can't be said who is its target audience, given that due to its thrill and unusual theme will be interesting to younger people but adults as well.

The book's full of violence and gore, packed with action that resembles a rollercoaster ride for reader.
And although its plot sounds strange and weird, it brings some fresh air into the fiction/horror genre combining famous motives with thrilling action resulting in a piece that isn't just another teen soft horror title.

Therefore don't be surprised to find real monsters inside who will kill and torture, in some occasions just for fun, don't be disappointed when some good guy will be killed in an especially brutal way because the author spared no one, didn't show mercy to anyone.
Inside reader will find lot of details concerning past of the Department, a history about its formation and its founders that makes it must-read as first title in Department Nineteen series.

Speaking about literary style, it should be fair to say this isn't a book in which top-notch style you will enjoy, though all the action and its story will almost completely hide it.
Its characters are interesting and well-developed, although besides Jamie you'll not be able to attach to someone else, they all seem expandable, and lot of them will truly become ones during book's pages.

The book can be considered somewhat predictable, in which it could be complained, but regardless it's a title in which you will fully enjoy if you're a fan of the genre.

Overall, "Department Nineteen" is unique fiction/horror title on market, one that shouldn't be missed by fiction fans due to its thrilling pace and exciting story, with a bit of romance.
Due to that I can fully recommend it to the general audience although be prepare to its gore and violence.
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