This one had a bit of a slow start, and I didn't get pulled into the story right away. It did get better in parts, but I had to do some skimming or I was never going to be able to finish it. I often found myself not really wanting to read, which is definitely a sign that I'm not really liking a book, because normally I always want to read.
I was hoping for some good vampire YA fiction, but I didn't really get that here. I honestly think it was just about on the same level of writing as Twilight, but aimed at boys. There are going to be some people that just love this, but others, like me, who think it's subpar.
I got a little annoyed at the author writing "the teenager" when referring to the main character. It seemed to be almost on every page, and while it's not necessarily bad writing, I found it overused. But, as far as writing a teenage character, the author did quite well. Some YA authors write adult characters where the only thing that tells us the character is a teenager is their age. Will Hill didn't do that here. Jamie was definitely a teenager, including all the selfishness, rashness, and hot-headedness that you usually find with a teenage boy.
But he was also inconsistent. He went from being kind of a wimpy (at least that we saw) boy who got beat up to the best vampire fighter that Department 19 had ever had? Or at least, he did for a minute--he did better than men who had had years of training on a simulated test, better than anyone else ever had. And yet, he is still told to stay behind when they go on missions. He still is a bit meek (mostly) when the group is fighting. Either he's a natural when it comes to fighting and weaponry, or he's not. It can't be both ways.
For secondary characters, the addition of historical characters like Frankenstein, Van Helsing, etc., was fun but also seemed a bit lazy. The author took already established literary characters (although Frankenstein was the monster and not the scientist) and didn't really come up with anything new for them, which seems like cheating a little bit.
Overall I can't say I loved this one, but I think it'll appeal to males who are looking for a bloody, gory, action story.
Title: Department 19
Author: Will Hill
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Page Count: 540
Publishing Info: March 2011 by Razorbill
Why I Read It: read good reviews
Cover Thoughts: The cover looks pretty cool. My husband (a non-reader) commented and said it must be a good book. When I asked why he said it was because the cover was so awesome. Unfortunately, the story didn't live up to the cool cover.