Will Hill’s Department 19 was one of my favourite books of 2011 so I’ve been eagerly awaiting the sequel. Until Department 19 came along I’d been put off vampires because most of the vampire books around seemed to be about vampires that sparkled and spent their time scowling at girls or were stuck in a love triangle. Department 19 blew me away because Will’s vampire were vicious and would do anything to get the blood they needed to survive. Department 19: The Rising amps up the violence, the blood and guts, and the action.
“91 DAYS TILL ZERO HOUR.
THAT’S 91 DAYS TO RUN.
91 DAYS TO HIDE.
OR 91 DAYS TO PRAY FOR DEPARTMENT 19 TO SAVE YOU…
After the terrifying attack on Lindisfarne at the end of the first book, Jamie, Larissa and Kate are recovering at Department 19 headquarters, waiting for news of Dracula’s stolen ashes.
They won’t be waiting for long.
Vampire forces are gathering. Old enemies are getting too close. And Dracula… is rising.
The 700 brilliant pages of Department 19: The Rising are dripping with blood and vampire guts. The Rising is even better than the first book, as Will amps up the violence, blood and guts, and the action. One of the reasons I loved Department 19 so much was because of the history of the organisation and their fight with vampires and Will gives us more of this in The Rising. At the end of the first book we were left wondering if Frankenstein survived and Will explains what happened to him and tells us about Frankenstein’s history, including his links with some horrendous vampires. Sometimes when you’re reading a book you wish that you knew what happened to a character before you meet them, so that you know why they act the way they do, and I love that Will shows us these details. The Rising could be half the length it is without this back-story but it’s this that makes the book so brilliant.
One thing I especially liked about The Rising is that Will shows us that not all vampires are evil. Some vampires wish nothing more than to be human again and hide away from the world as much as they can. They still need to feed so get animal blood from a butcher or find other ways that mean they don’t have to kill humans. There are vampires of all ages, including fathers and daughters, and some of them just want to carry on living the way they did before they were turned.
The Rising is real boys book. Department 19 is a secret government organisation that protects the world from the supernatural (especially vampires) and they’re equipped with some great weapons, including the T-Bone, a gun that fires a stake at vampires. There’s more blood and guts in this book than what I’ve seen in any vampire movie. Whenever a vampire is staked in the heart it explodes like a balloon leaving the Operators covered in blood and chunks of vampire. Will has written some of the best fight scenes I’ve ever read, with blood squirting everywhere and they left me feeling quite queasy.
Anyone who loved Department 19 should get their hands on The Rising and you should shove the Department 19 books into the hands of any teenage boy you know. They’re perfect for readers of Anthony Horowitz, Robert Muchamore and Darren Shan.
5 out of 5 stars
NB: I know some primary schools have the first book in their libraries but I wouldn’t suggest The Rising for your library unless you really know your readers can handle it.