Will Hill Sixteen-year-old Jamie Carpenter’s life was violently upended when he was brought into Department 19, a classified government agency of vampire hunters that was formed to deal with a little problem…known as Dracula. But being the new recruit at the Department isn’t all weapons training and covert missions. Jamie’s own mother has been turned into a vampire—and now Jamie will stop at nothing to wreak revenge on her captors. Even if that means facing down Dracula himself. The Rising is a fast, furious, can’t-turn-away thrill ride that will suck readers in just like a video game. This riveting second book in the Department Nineteen series is packed with cutting-edge gadgets, international locales, and daredevil action that tumbles ferociously across the page—perfect for fans of Darren Shan and Anthony Horowitz
While the pink, fragile scar tissue acts as a visible testament to the horrors Jamie and his friends experienced that fateful night on Lindisfarne, the hidden physiological trauma is no less indelible. Having turned their backs on any semblance of normality and accepted a life of danger and responsibility in the pursuit of world safety, Jamie, Larissa and Kate are now feeling the impact of their decisions and experiences.
A slick three person unit within the super secret department, they work instinctively together, trusting each other with their lives, but not always their secrets and insecurities. The trio cannot help but have matured in the three months following their withdrawal from society and their absorption in to the classified government department; nevertheless they are teens dealing with the huge emotional fallout from book one, coping with anger, grief and the absence of any real parental supervision and support. Jamie particularly is struggling with balancing his recently commissioned leadership while maintaining his friendships with Larissa and Kate.
The only negative thing I can say about this book is its size! You can’t fail to have noticed that with 700+ pages, this is a big book! I have to admit that while a gorgeous signed hardback graces my shelf I found the thought of starting the book a little intimidating not to mention difficult to manage with my preferred reading posture ( lying on my side if you must know). I found a really simple solution, I downloaded the kindle version!
Despite its length, the pacing of the book was spot on and I never felt bored. Will Hill cleverly manipulates multiple story threads, weaving together heart racing action with gut twisting emotional scenes and informative flashbacks to create a compulsive page turner. I particularly love how the author makes references to historical events and figures, grounding the fantasy world building with our own recognisable history.
After 13 years in the health service with up close and personal experience of most body fluids, I consider myself to have a strong constitution, but even I have my limit and Will Hill writes to it. In Department 19 it was the creative use of violin strings, in The Rising, a scene involving Dracula and a library had me swallowing excessive saliva and pushing my lunch to one side. (In retrospect the unpleasant sensation may be due to the first vampire’s maltreatment of books!) However I don’t believe that the bloodletting is gratuitous, this is after all, a war between vicious, carnivorous immortals (old school vamps) and fragile humans. Rather, Hill’s imagery is so unapologetically vivid that it’s Technicolor.
Verdict: This book should come with a health warning; it will cause your stomach to flip and leave you physically and emotionally exhausted, but I promise that you will love every minute of it! Now time to read something light and fluffy, preferably with unicorns, kittens and rainbows! Reviewed by Caroline