Review – Department 19 – Will Hill

Department 19

Hello Internet. Welcome back for Review #49. Blood! Gore! Glorious fountains of exploding viscera and vital bodily fluids! Now that I have your attention…

It’s a very inauspicious day when I attempt to start a paragraph with “so” un-ironically. But it’s happened. And this means that I am clearly not in the mood to kiss another ass about good prose and beautiful style. However, seeing as with this book I don’t have very much choice, I suppose I’m gonna have to pucker up and smile about it. Because Department 19 (which I have been meaning to review for friggin’ ages) has just come to a bloodstained close, and with the last book hitting my gloriously new pinewood desk which has miraculously managed to fit into my office (room), I now have the answer to why I have delayed them the just desserts of being complimented by yours truly. The answer is that I haven’t been able to give them enough credit until I found out how they end. Or haven’t yet, technically, but I have a very good idea about how they will end as I am still gnawing on the last book.

Department 19 is one of the books which looks like a horror book, acts like a horror book and squawks like a horror book but really isn’t one. Sure, there are vampires and [werewolves] and things that go bump in the night, but when you’re looking at them through a mirrored purple visor with a stake in one hand and a Glock hand cannon in the other you aren’t as much scared as much as you are more prone to yelling “bring it on, bitch” all BuffyStyle (I have also started watching those lately, and nothing is quite as satisfying as watching Daphne, clad in a tight t-shirt and jeans, embed a piece of wood into a monster’s chest while throwing out a snarky one-liner).

And so (see! I’m doing it!), Department 19 is a no-holds-barred gorefest with plenty of plot and character development enough to make you think there is a real point to the fact that vampires explode in a glorious shower of blood and giblets (there isn’t, but it’s cool as fuck when it happens). The protagonist evolves throughout the series from an angst-ridden n00b to… a still-angst-ridden-but-slightly-less-so full-on badass, complete with [a turn to the “dark side” when he becomes infected with the vampire virus]. And throughout it all, he gains an ubergenius adorkable nerd friend, Frankenstein’s monster and a vampire girlfriend (who is also a badass).

A little about the plot, while we still have time/space ({insert TARDIS joke here}). Department 19 revolves around the journey of one Jamie Carpenter (direct descendant of the manservant of Abraham Van Helsing and co-founder of the titular organisation, Henry Carpenter), as he works his way up the British equivalent of the Men in Black (except with vampires). His dad used to serve, and of course after a tragic accident left precautions behind to ensure that his son would never be found prey by the creatures of the night. What does Jamie do when he realises what Department 19 actually is? Oh, only try to hunt down one of the oldest vampires in existence. Serial escalation is only possible because there are like, five of them.

Department 19 was published in 2011 by HarperCollins. It can be found on Amazon here.

Yours: J.M. Pear

Review – Department 19 – Will Hill