Department 19 (Department 19 #1) ★✬☆☆☆

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Title: Department 19
Series: Department 19 #1
Authors: Will Hill
Rating: 1.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Pages: 379
Words: 133K


From the inside cover

Jamie Carpenter’s life will never be the same. His father is dead, his mother is missing, and he was just rescued by an enormous man named Frankenstein. Jamie is brought to Department 19, where he is pulled into a secret organization responsible for policing the supernatural, founded more than a century ago by Abraham Van Helsing and the other survivors of Dracula. Aided by Frankenstein’s monster, a beautiful vampire girl with her own agenda, and the members of the agency, Jamie must attempt to save his mother from a terrifyingly powerful vampire.

Department 19 takes us through history, across Europe, and beyond – from the cobbled streets of Victorian London to prohibition-era New York, from the icy wastes of Arctic Russia to the treacherous mountains of Transylvania. Part modern thriller, part classic horror, it’s packed with mystery, mayhem, and a level of suspense that makes a Darren Shan novel look like a romantic comedy.

My Thoughts:

I went into this hoping for a rollicking good ride of monster killing. Instead, I get the following:

  • there was no profanity EXCEPT taking God or Jesus’ name in vain. It was a constant barrage of breaking the 4th Commandment. It had me close to dnf’ing on that alone
  • whiny 16 year old boy “knows things” (not even psychically, but just because he said so) so they must be right and everybody acts on it, even when they say they won’t
  • He’s never fired a gun in his life and has been physically bullied by other teens, but once he’s had 24hrs of training, he’s a vampire killing machine that sets a new record in the “simulation”
  • a vampire girl is supposed to kill him and then lies and deceives him for her own purposes, but she really loves him and they make out, so she’s all ok
  • a 200 year old super secret military organization just lets him requisition troops, guns, helicopters, whatever and ignores him instead of locking him up whenever he throws a teenage tempter tantrum “because of his mom”

I think that’s enough. I knew this was Young Adult (definitely not middle grade due to the graphic nature of some of the violence) but I was kind of hoping it would be Monster Hunters International for teens. Nope. What I got was Anakin Skywalker (mommy issues and all) hunting vampires. The final nail in the coffin (because a book this bad needs at least one good/bad joke) was how Jamie kills the boss vampire in the end. Now, you have to remember that vampires have been shown, IN THIS BOOK, to have super hearing, are super fast and strong and can survive being dropped from an airplane and crashing headfirst into the ground. So Jamie uses a crossbow to pull a big cross onto the most powerful vampire in the world and the vampire doesn’t realize what he’s doing, doesn’t hear the cross creaking and falling, nor does he move out of the way and once it brains him, he just lies there, dead. It was the most ridiculous thing I had (almost) ever read.

I don’t recommend this for Christians because of the blasphemy, I don’t recommend this for teens because of the graphic violence and I don’t recommend it for adults because of how stupid it is.

So much for this series!

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

24 thoughts on “Department 19 (Department 19 #1) ★✬☆☆☆

  1. It’s like the Force in Star Wars, where you can feel things happening in other galaxies, but can’t tell that someone is sneaking up on you from the other room. The bad guys are always super-bad until the hero arrives, then they’re super incompetent…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “””Anakin Skywalker hunting vampires”””
    If the YA category for this one had not been enough to make me wary, your definition quoted above would have been enough to send me running for the hills at warp speed…
    (and no, it’s not because of the vampires….) 😀 😀 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hm. If you are interested in the “young adult gets pulled into Weirdness and becomes a superwarrior” genre (and who would be?) I strongly recommend John C Wright’s Somewhither. There, the premise is that the hero is around seventeen, has been trained basically since birth by Overly Dramatic Survivalist Parents….not to mention some very spoilery details concerning premise a) and b), and wants to Rescue The Girl. The Girl basically doesn’t know he exists but he’s danged if he’s not gonna rescue her. Somehow. And oh, you won’t be offended by people taking the Lord’s name in vain, but you might get vaguely annoyed at how Catholic it is (guess what religion Wright is? No. Go on. Guess.)

    It’s one of those books that’s quite good despite itself. /shrug/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the suggestion. However….

      I’ve read enough of Wrights work to know he’s not for me. I don’t mind his ultra-roman-catholicism so much. What bothers me more is his theistic evolution stand.

      Plus, I made the mistake of following his blog until a couple of years ago. One of his admins banned him, started commenting as him and denied Antifa. And John just let it go once he got back. I’m not big on the “I gotta feel safe” thing, but that incident went way over my comfort limits.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Huh. I stopped following Wright’s blog some years ago as well, so that incident escaped my notice. Once upon a time it was a fun and interesting place, but that was back in the days when it was a livejournal, sadly.

        It’s a pity Wright never got an actually good editor–one who could force him to write to his strengths and then smack him whenever he starts up a monologue and/or sadomasochistic torture scene (plot-relevant, of course). Not to mention that he wears his politics on his authorial sleeve way too loudly for someone who spends/spent so much time criticizing the politicization and shoehorning in of others’ personal beliefs into stories.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Sudden craving gone wrong, very wrong.
      Plus, I’m pretty sure I’d seen a review of later books that made it sound good. I am not very good about keeping track of where I find things though, so I really don’t know how I got into this series.

      Liked by 1 person

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