Saturday, 9 March 2013

Review of Department 19: Battle Lines - Will Hill

Department 19: Battle Lines - Will Hill

Publisher: HarperCollins UK
Publication Date: March 28th 2013 (3 weeks from now)
Source: Netgalley
Pages: 544
Genre: Thriller/Paranormal
Series: Department 19 (#3)
Rating: 5 STARS!
Official Synopsis:

It's always darkest before dawn.

Secret government unit Department 19 is recovering from evil vampire Valeri Rusmanov's deadly attack on their base. The Department’s newest member, teenage operator Jamie Carpenter, is tasked with training up a new squad, as his friends and colleagues desperately search for ways to try to stop what is coming.

The timing couldn’t be worse for a coordinated, global attack on a number of maximum security prisons and hospitals—with the already-dangerous inmates now on the loose and turned into vampires. One of the escapees has a deep connection to one of the darkest moments in the history of Department 19 and embarks on a quest that threatens to expose the existence of vampires to the public. And with each day that passes, the regenerated Dracula gets stronger, bringing Zero Hour closer.

In this third instalment of the epic Department 19 series, Will Hill delivers higher—and sharper—stakes than ever before.

In short:
This book was honestly absolutely amazing. Towards the end especially, it epitomises 'thriller' beautifully.


The Breakdown:
Battle Lines (#3 in Will Hill's Department 19 series) is set in a world where Dracula, vampires in general and Frankenstein are real. Department 19 is a clandestine government department dealing with supernatural threats, and it is AMAZING. One great thing about the third book is that it explains everything, subtly, so that if you can't read the first and second books you'll understand OK, but that if you have you don't get bored by CONSTANT REPETITION. *Sweet Valley High, you did it wrong. Inheritance Cycle, you did it right.* Just saying.

I loved the characters in this book. Loved. Jamie Carpenter is an excellent character to have as the hero. I mean, look at his personality! This is the kind of thing high-calibre YA is made of! Teenage, Highly talented, temper....And he has flaws! Flaws are so important! Where would Hermione be without her bossiness? Would the Hunger Games even exist if not for Katniss' rashness? So yeah, I adored Jamie, especially his gradually more grown-up attitude towards Morton.

THE MORTON SITUATION. Yes. I felt like kicking John Morton as events unfolded. At first I thought it would just be a good way for Jamie to demonstrate his leadership skills, but no. Why, Will, why? The way it ended for Morton...well, can we just say that it really added drama? And tension? And a million other things that I'm afraid I cannot reveal for fear of spoilers?

Valentin. You will love Valentin's enigmatic character. I did, anyway. He is 'cheerful, arrogant, funny, and endlessly charming', according to the book, and well, that just about sums him up. Valentin is what vampires are supposed to be! Yes, he's charming/cheerful/funny (do I spot any similarities between him and a certain Skulduggery Pleasant?) but he MUST have that arrogance, to set it off. This is how it's done. Take note.                                                                                                                                      

I really admired the way drama was built in this novel. Without giving away too much information, there were plenty of incidences I could actually point it out. One of my favourites, the old conflict between duty and natural instincts for Larissa. By the way, Larissa is an epic character, let's find a moment of glory for her...oh yes, may I mention the gaping hole through her stomach that she didn't even notice? That's not really a spoiler. Come on. A quote that I thought was applied particularly well for her was 'contempt she has become all too used to'. Am I making you curious now? Because it's out in three weeks, and you're going to have to survive *curl up in a ball* *try not to cry* *cry a lot*.  I loved 'No one inside Blacklight was remotely confident of stopping Valentin' [if he tried to fight them]. It's a war, even if it's secret! You need that sense of helplessness, futility..which you then overcome, preferably with much ado and celebration. 

 Another dramatic line was 'Bob Allen feared Jamie Carpenter'. It doesn't really play a big part in the story so I feel safe to put it up. This is what I like about Will Hill's writing. It's succinct. clear and powerful. No use of silly purple prose (You know who I'm looking at here). This was an action-driven story and it's important that it remained that way.

I've heard - everywhere - that this series is aimed for boys, yada yada....but please! Break the trend! Yes, there are bloody moments, but they aren't arbitrary, not gratuitous moments of violence to appease those who like it. You should know that I despise it when authors don't stay faithful to the story line, instead bending it directly to suit established tropes. That is what reduces great books to average ones! Thankfully, Hill stayed away from this, and any gorey moments were saved for points where they were needed for the plot.

One of my favourite parts of this series is the secrecy. I love spy organisations - they're so versatile, and deadly. Hill utilises this brilliantly. The Loop is a fantastic setting, which would be great for a movie.

Read this book. Once I got a chapter in it took me by surprise and I loved it.

Oh and I know, I know. I am a terrible person for not posting in so long. Will you believe me if I tell you that I've been INCREDIBLY busy? The main thing has been my Mock exams (so glad they're over). We finally got our results back - I got 4 As, almost everything else B+ and one B, yay. 

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Until next time,


  1. Great job on the mock exams! And WOW, what high praise for this one! I admit, this is the first I've heard of it, but you've given me a really good idea of what to expect now - an exciting thriller. FUN!

  2. Thank you! It came as a surprise to me too, only having read a review of Book One months beforehand. But it exceeded my expectations so I was delighted.


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