Will Hill is one of those authors that just keeps impressing me. I was blown away by his first Department 19 book when it came out in 2011, then he took things up a notch last year in Department 19: The Rising. Now Jamie, Larissa and Department 19 are back and even more awesome than ever in the latest installment, Department 19: Battle Lines.
As the clock ticks remorselessly towards Zero Hour and the return of Dracula, the devastated remnants of Department 19 try to hold back the rising darkness. Jamie Carpenter is training new recruits, trying to prepare them for a fight that appears increasingly futile. Kate Randall is pouring her grief into trying to plug the Department’s final leaks, as Matt Browning races against time to find a cure for vampirism. And on the other side of the world, Larissa Kinley has found a place she feels at home, yet where she makes a startling discovery. Uneasy truces are struck, new dangers emerge on all sides, and relationships are pushed to breaking point. And in the midst of it all, Department 19 faces a new and potentially deadly threat, born out of one of the darkest moments of its own long and bloody history. Zero Hour is coming. And the Battle Lines have been drawn.
Department 19: Battle Lines is full of everything I loved about the previous books – vicious blood-sucking vampires, cool weapons and technology, suspense, action, violence, and Frankenstein. Battle Lines is the biggest book yet (at 702 pages) and there is so much happening. I’d love to know how Will keeps track with everything that’s happening. You finish a chapter and just want to go straight on with the next one to find out what’s happening with the other characters.
Like the other books in the series, there are lots of different threads of the story and many characters whose story we’re following. If the Department didn’t have enough problems dealing with the attack on The Loop and the imminent rise of Dracula, they have another crisis to deal with. Patients from mental institutions around the world have been ‘turned’ and escaped, leaving incredibly powerful and unpredictable vampires running loose. It’s up to the Operators, including Jamie and his new recruits, to hunt down and terminate them before they create havoc. While Jamie is out hunting vampires, his friends are busy with their own important tasks. Kate helps carry out interviews to try and find the leaks within the Department, Matt works on a cure for vampirism as part of the reformed Lazarus Project, and Larissa is sent to NS9 in America to help them and select a team to bring back to the Department. A descendant of of the founders of Department 19 is also out for revenge and threatens to blow the Department wide open by exposing them. All of this is happening while Dracula bides his time in a chateau in France.
Will’s range of characters is great, from the members of Blacklight to the vampires and the minor characters. With each book you find out more about the main characters and get introduced to new ones. One of the things I really liked about this book was that Will is introducing new characters who will go on to play a greater part in the series.
The pages of the book are dripping with vampire blood and you can almost smell the charred vampire flesh. Will’s vampires explode like a balloon when staked in the heart and they burst into flame when shot with a UV gun. There’s more than enough blood, gore and violence to keep any horror fan happy.
I can’t wait to find out where Will takes us from here. I know one thing for sure – whatever happens, it will be epic!
Win Department 19: Battle Lines
Thanks to HarperCollins NZ I have a copy of Department 19: Battle Lines to give away. All you have to do to get in the draw is enter your name and email address in the form below. Competition closes Friday 17 May (NZ only).