|Department 19: The Rising by Will Hill|
|Reviewer: Robert James|
|Summary: Somehow managing to be even better than the amazing first book, Hill's second novel establishes him as one of the best authors writing for teens today, and the series as one of the most exciting I've ever read. Highest possible recommendation.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 704||Date: March 2012|
|Publisher: Harper Collins|
|External links: Author's website|
Warning: The below review contains major, massive spoilers for Department 19 by Will Hill. We're not talking average, run-of-the-mill, slight bits of information here. We're talking several major developments in the first book given away, simply because it all plays such a crucial part in what happens next that there's no real way to review it without doing so. If you have not read the first in the series, please do not read this review. Go back, get book one, and then come back to read this one. You'll thank me for the advice!
HE RISES. The graffiti is breaking out everywhere. For those who don't know what it's referring to, it's a minor annoyance. For Blacklight operatives, it could be the harbinger of the end of the world. Because HE is Dracula, and Valeri Rusmanov has succeeded in bringing his old master back to life – or the vampire equivalent of it, at least. The only hope is that they can track him down before he reaches his full power. Can Jamie Carpenter, along with new Blacklight operatives Larissa (his vampire girlfriend) and Kate Randall, who he rescued from Lindisfarne at the climax of the last book, help to stop him? That's about all of the plot that I feel comfortable talking about, such is my desperation to avoid spoiling anything.
Having absolutely loved the first book, my anticipation levels for this one were through the roof. I'd hit the point where part of me wanted to not read it because they were so sky-high that I wasn't quite sure how it could possibly avoid letting me down. I needn't have worried! In a word, this is absolutely outstanding. Well, two words then. To give you a rough idea of just how gripping this is, I galloped through the 700 or so pages at a speed I think I last reached when reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J K Rowling. It's an apt comparison, actually. Like Rowling, Hill has created an incredible world with a rich history, he gives us a whole host of wonderful characters, and fills his books with some staggering twists and turns. There were four separate moments while reading this where I nearly dropped the book because I was so stunned at various developments, and the earth-shattering ending has got me incredibly fired up for the next book.
I'm not quite sure what else to say, to be honest. I could rave about the superb action, Hill's skilful handling of the moral dilemmas faced by Blacklight as a whole and by Jamie in particular at various points in the book, the romance which adds to the plot but never comes close to being the main focus, and the way the book cuts between various narratives without ever feeling like it's moving away from the main story without a really good reason. (That last one, by the way, is an incredible strength of Hill's. We cut between the main Blacklight story, Dracula now, Dracula in the past, and several other characters, and every scene feels not just as if it adds something, but as if it's absolutely essential. To write 700 pages without wasting a sentence is either genius or something really close to it.)
As I said, there's plenty more I could say about just how wonderful this one is - but I'm hoping the above few paragraphs will have got you to the point where you're already ordering it. Please do - you certainly won't regret it!
Highest possible recommendation, if I hadn't made that clear enough already. I'm counting down the days until the third one!
As superb as this series is, there are two others which run it very close for the title of my favourite current teen sequence. They are Curtis Jobling's Wereworld, starting with Wereworld: Rise of the Wolf and Rick Yancey's Monstrumologist, which begins with The Monstrumologist: The Terror Beneath.
You can read more book reviews or buy Department 19: The Rising by Will Hill at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Department 19: The Rising by Will Hill at Amazon.com.
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