Department 19: Battle Lines by Will Hill
|Department 19: Battle Lines by Will Hill|
|Reviewer: Robert James|
|Summary: Hugely recommended, the third book in Will Hill's superb Department 19 series features yet more explosive action, brilliant characters, and fantastic plotting. Will Hill popped into Bookbag Towers to chat to us.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 700||Date: March 2013|
|Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books|
|External links: Author's website|
Warning: Massive spoilers for the first two books in this superb series, Department 19 and Department 19: The Rising, lie below. If you haven't read them yet, go and get them first and then read this review! (Possibly pointless advice, to be honest - if you read the pair of them I'll be stunned if you need a review to persuade you to pick up book three!)
The wheels have been set in motion for Dracula to rise. Department 19 is in disarray, dealing with deaths, the disappearance of their chief Henry Seward, and the dreadful knowledge that there could be yet more traitors in the ranks. Jamie Carpenter is trying to train rookies into a fighting force who can take on vampires more dangerous than any newly-turned ones that have ever been seen before, Matt Browning is desperately trying to find a cure for vampirism, and Larissa Kinley is in the USA trying to help in the fight against her own kind. With Zero Hour coming ever closer, can the department save the day?
This was perhaps my most-anticipated book of the year, neck and neck with Laura Jarratt's second novel By Any Other Name and a couple of upcoming releases I'll mention below. I'm pleased to say that it definitely didn't disappoint - I tore through all 700 or so pages in a single afternoon, I was so desperate to find out what happened next, particularly to central quartet Jamie, Matt, Larissa and Kate. There's also intriguing side-plots as two familiar faces from previous books set out on a course of action which could have massive consequences for everyone involved, while like Larissa, fellow vampire Valentin Rusmanov gives Department 19 a huge problem - he's too powerful for them to ignore his offer of help, but that very power means that barely anyone trusts him. It's slightly more focused than the previous book, The Rising, in this respect, but Hill still cuts back and forth from plot to plot with tremendous skill.
It's also action-packed - I said of the second in the series that to write 700 pages without wasting a sentence is either genius or something really close to it, and the repeat of this feat here is enough to make me convinced that yes, it's genius. All of Hill's characters are incredibly well-rounded, and the relationships are perfectly judged - Jamie and Larissa are one of my favourite ever couples, although the romance never comes close to dominating as it might in a lesser author's hands, while the family and loyalty dynamics here are superb. Finally, there's also more moral dilemmas to be faced, especially towards the end of the book, and I can't help but think that some seemingly minor things which happen towards the end are going to take on a lot more importance in the next book.
I can't wait for the rest of this series, and will be eagerly downloading the short stories The Department 19 Files, released recently as e-books and set back in the late 1910's, to give me more of the Department 19 action I'm craving as I can't believe that it'll probably be another year until book four comes out! Huge recommendation as one of the very finest teen action series out there at the moment.
As mentioned above, this was one of my most anticipated books of the year and is one of my favourite ongoing teen action/horror series. The other thrilling sequences which have me desperate to read what happens next are Gone by Michael Grant and Rick Yancey's Monstrumologist books, which start with The Monstrumologist: The Terror Beneath by Rick Yancey.
You can read more book reviews or buy Department 19: Battle Lines by Will Hill at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Will Hill was kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag.
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Having just finished re-reading the first three books in the series to prepare myself for Zero Hour, I simply had to take a step back to just appreciate how this series has grown into something really special. Everything about this vampire-filled world, from the brilliant, fascinating and beautifully judged characters to the supremely well thought-out supernatural elements and richly developed history, has got me absolutely hooked. You really hit the nail on the head – Will Hill simply does not waste a sentence. I've rarely felt 700 pages fly by quite so fast!
And to think, if I hadn't come across your review of Battle Lines, I may never have got round to picking up the series again after book 1! Boy am I glad I gave this series a chance – The Rising and Battle Lines were both stunning and if Zero Hour can keep up the upward trend, it will surely be the book of the year. Cannot wait to devour it!