Department 19
Will Hill

When Jamie Carpenter's mother is kidnapped by strange creatures, he finds himself dragged into Department 19, the government's most secret agency.
Fortunately for Jamie, Department 19 can provide the tools he needs to find his mother, and to kill the vampires who want him dead. But unfortunately for everyone, something much older is stirring, something even Department 19 can't stand up against

'Teen' and 'Vampire' doesn't always mean 'sparkly'; this Young Adult thriller injects some blood and thunder back into the vamp mythosa fast-paced and intelligently thought-out story. (SFX)
So was that early buzz (about Department 19) justified? Hell yes every single word of it. It is possibly the best action horror story I have ever read. (The Bookzone)
Adam, from Jewish Community Secondary School

I did not like Department 19 and only read the first 50 pages.

The book is more suited to those who prefer horror stories and perhaps the older age groups. However, I did see a plot form straight away which I like in books. Although the book did scare me, I heard positive comments about it so it must have been a good book to people who like the genre.

I thought the author had good ideas and used them to the maximum, but he did go over the top at some times.

I think the book would have been better if it had been less “all horror” and more ordinary. 

Avani, from Wren Academy Barnet

Department 19 is a great, engaging book that hooks on the reader as soon as she/he sets her/his eyes on the blurb. The best thing about this book is that in no part of the book does it lose any tension or rate of engagement. Will Hill has written a fantastic book that makes sure that the reader will not get bored of reading this book

The book has an interesting plot throughout. In this book Will Hill has portrayed the characters and even grotesque moments in very deep description. This makes the reader aware of every single part or emotion that takes place.

The target audience for this book is probably young adults and the overall recommendation for this book would be a rating of 5 stars out of 5 stars.

Bea, from Wren Academy Barnet

The front cover of this book didn’t exactly appeal to me. Although I don’t mind the odd bit of action, I am not usually one to read fully action books, but I decided to give it a try. However, as soon as I learned it involved vampires, I was more unenthusiastic than I think I have ever been about a book. I hate vampires in modern books. It’s the twilight legacy thing. So it wasn’t going to be hard to pleasantly surprise me.

And I was pleasantly surprised. Just not quite enough. Some bits of this book were excellent. Hill uses wonderful vocabulary (something that is not used enough in modern books) and the general plot idea is great; but there is just something about the book that makes me not really like it. It’s not that it’s ‘too boyish’, I can get into an action books, I just don’t generally read them. I can get into vampire books, and I was truly pleased that Hill used the old, proper, evil version of vampires, rather than the modern, twilight-esque, ‘we’re just normal people with red eyes who sparkle’ version. So it wasn’t either of those. But I did find parts of it a bit dark and not quite right for an audience of my age (young teens). I think this book would be more suited to older teens.

But there were many parts of it I liked. I loved the idea of a secret agency watching your back against vampires. And it is easy to support the main character, Jeremy, and there are many dimensions to him, you even see his stroppy teenager side!

So despite the part of the book that I didn’t like but I can’t quite put my finger on, this is a good book, but I would definitely recommend it to more boys than girls, unless you are a girl who specifically enjoys action books; and definitely 14-18 year olds, no younger.

Belle, from Wren Academy Barnet

Department 19 is a thrilling action filled story with loads of twists and turns. 

When Jamie Carpenter’s dad is killed his whole word is turned upside down, 

Jamie soon finds himself in a world of pain and terror where nothing seems to make sense.

An exciting story told by the author Will Hill, you can’t stop reading it! I would suggest this book for twelve to sixteen year boys. I would give this four stars because it is a very thrilling and exciting book.

Bobbi, from St James Catholic High School

I thought this book was very interesting as I have never read anything like it before and I am very happy that I was persuaded to try it. It was very original and I loved the amount of tension in it, it made me feel curious about what was going to happen to the boys from the beginning.

I absolutely loved the prologue because it made me want to carry on reading as I was drawn to the different types of vocabulary. I thought Hill planned the book very carefully: starting with two different views was clever and daring because it might have gone terribly wrong or it might have been amazing. It was amazing.

I genuinely loved the book and would love to read more books from Will Hill.

Ebony, from Wren Academy Barnet

I enjoyed Department 19 a lot because it created lots of tension and always kept me at the end of my seat. It is about a boy who’s dad is in a secret department in the government that deals with vampires! The Carpenter family are known for their name but no one really knows what happened to Jamie Carpenter’s dad; all they know is he was a traitor.  But as Jamie enters this new world of vampires and werewolf’s he soon finds out who he is, who his dad was and how to save the day.

This book is a bit scary and I would recommend it for the ages of 8 and up; not just because it’s scary but also because it uses quite advance language. This is my favourite book out of all the ones I have read because it has a strong narrative hook and makes sure you never know what’s going to happen next. It also has lots of action to keep you engaged. If you’re the type of person that loves a bit of action, adventure, tension and mystery then this is the book for you. I would rate this book 5 out of five!

Evie, from Jewish Community Secondary School

Department 19 is about a twelve year old boy named Jamie. He has suffered a tragic accident caused by his father who, un-be-known to him, is behind it all and ends up not knowing were his mother is.

This book follows Jamie’s journey to try and find his mother. But what he does not realise is that he is entering a whole new world where not all is normal or good.

Department 19 for me was not worth reading for several reasons , but the main one being that it is generally a boys’ book. Though it could be read by all people I think it was written from a boys’ perspective. It also reminded me of many other books like it and it definitely lacked originality.

Despite all of this, I did think there were some good bits about it for example:

There were a lot of very interesting characters involved in the book from lots of different areas like Greek mythology.

It did have a peak of excitement in some places through it.

All in all I don’t think I would recommend this book to many people but if you are a fan of vampires, greek mythology and adventure then this book may  be for you.

Gabe, from Jewish Community Secondary School

Department 19 was a truly amazing book that I couldn’t put down. The book tells the story of Jamie Carpenter and his troubles with monsters, vampires and werewolves. It is thrilling and interesting and it never gets dull. It is tense and leaves you wanting so much more

It is a perfect book for lots of people to read and is great fun. By the end you will think to yourself - wow what an amazing book!

I would definitely recommend this book. I would rate it 9/10 

Lily, from Jewish Community Secondary School

Department 19 is based on a young vulnerable boy named Jamie. Jamie knew his dad was a traitor to his country but he never knew why, but when Jamie's mother gets kidnapped by weird creatures, Jamie uncovers a part of his heritage that he never knew about.

Department 19 was an extremely gripping book and it was quite an easy read. I did not feel at any time that I had to put the book down. This was because the book really connected with me and it was described so thoroughly that there was a clear picture in my head and it felt as if it was happening right in front of me

Department 19 was a book that had a big range of characters. The characters were intriguing and the more I read the more I wanted to know about them. However, I think that there were a lot of different characters and at times it was hard to keep track of what was going on because it felt like in every chapter he introduced a new interesting character that linked into the story.

Department 19 was interesting because it linked into monster mythology and shows a different side of the monsters that we had heard of but never really knew about like Alexandru and Frankenstein.

I think that the thing that made the book such an easy reader was the fact that there was a clear storyline but I think that sometimes when I was reading the book, I felt like the book went off story line and introduced irrelevant events and characters that left me confused and questioning the book.

I would recommend this book to a reader that likes action because a lot goes on and it feels like you are almost there while the action is happening.

Natasha, from Wren Academy Barnet

This book was very interesting to read that I finished it within a week because of how good it was. I could say about the book that the vampire part was the most effective part to the book because that was most interesting and fascinating to me because it was based on a vampire killer and was not as boring as the first few chapters also.

Overall I would rate this book 6 out of 10

Rosalind, from Wren Academy Barnet

Department 19 is a book with many different famous characters from different stories such as Frankenstein’s monster, Van Helsing, Dracula and many more. Also in this book is a lot of blood, guts and gore.

Department 19 is a secret order who most people don’t know exists but who save our lives every day. They do things such as fight vampires and other deadly creatures; helping people wounded by vampires and other creatures and find out about vampires and other deadly creatures.

I think Department 19 is a book suitable for teenagers and for young people, and shouldn’t be read after dark! It is an exciting book with a lot of different plots going on at the same time; this makes it a difficult book to understand.

Overall I think that Department 19 is a good book and I would recommend it. 

Sam, from Jewish Community Secondary School

Present day but... the legend of Dracula is real, however, this is kept quiet with only a very small number of people knowing this.

When Jamie`s dad is shot and Jamie sees a girl with crimson eyes his life is turned upside down. Then a couple of years later Jamie`s mother is taken hostage by the oldest and most dangerous vampire Alexandru Rusmanov he starts to be told something.

He had been taken to Department 19: the department of the government that saves us from vampires every day but no one knows about them. He goes on a wild goose chase to try and retrieve his mother. On his adventure he learns more about vampires and his father.

Sophia, from Jewish Community Secondary School

When Jamie Carpenter’s mother is kidnapped by strange creatures, he finds himself dragged into Department 19, the government’s most secret agency. Fortunately for Jamie, Department 19 can provide the tools he needs to find his mother, and to kill the vampires who want him dead. But unfortunately for everyone, something much older is stirring, something even Department 19 can’t stand up against.

I really wanted to like Department 19 because the blurb was really catchy and I’d heard so many good things about it I thought I had to read it as soon as possible. Unfortunately in my opinion it didn’t quite live up to my expectations and it didn’t really make me want to read more after half way through the book.

Bits of it were very good. I loved for example the attacking chapters when Jamie and the vampires meet and the vampires try to kill Jamie because that really grabbed my attention!!!!

But there were bits which for me slowed the story right down and in places I struggled to keep reading. I didn’t like most of the chapters which filled in loads more characters because it just got quite confusing.

Having said this I loved the horrible teenage vampire girl, she instantly jumped off the page and very quickly become my favourite character. I kept reading this book because of her and she really made the book exciting!! Like when she sees Jamie in Department 19 and she as quick as lightning just leaps onto Jamie and digs her fangs into his flesh and try’s to kill him!! That chapter was my favourite!!

I also loved how the story tied in characters from monster mythology like Dracula and Frankenstein.

The story did take some interesting twists which I didn’t see coming and some parts just made your heart pound really loud and fast. This leads to an ending which at the same time leaves a massive cliff-hanger for the next book.

But I don’t really think I will read the next book because it wasn’t my kind of book and the amount of characters got me really confused.

Sophie, from Wren Academy Barnet

This thriller is all built around the premise that Dracula was factual. From the moment Jamie’s Dad is shot to pieces in the front garden his life takes some dramatic (and unexpected) turns. 

When I first started reading this book I was sceptical as I do not normally enjoy books about vampires but this blew me away. Even though it was obviously fictional, Department 19 has a sort of gritty realism (particularly Jamie’s relationship with his mum).

This book is definitely boyish; in fact there are only 3 girls in the entire book! Despite this I still thoroughly enjoyed the book.

Tatiana, from Wren Academy Barnet

Department 19 a book so fantastic you were with Will - the main character - all the way as he embarked on a journey so close to home. The author turns something historical into a realistic feeling past, that you could vividly imagine. From Frankenstein, a hulk-like creature with a sworn legacy, will perform his duties in a such a daring fashion he would even risk his life to Will's father, a man with no identity when he was shot by comrades leaving Will wanting answers, even more so when his mother disappears. The author uses various techniques to link the past to current events in such a way that every chapter is a hint of what is going to happen next.


A brilliant story with themes of betrayal, the meaning of family, and pure cruelty. He includes mythical characters such as vampires (being the main part of the story), who in this book are ruthless killers, with no emotions taking on the world as if it was a piece of cake. Werewolves who are suspicious creatures, always leaving you wondering whose side they are on.


This book let's your imagination go wild and it is any fantasy/mythical/historical book-lovers dream. That is why I would heavily recommend you read this book and I give it 5 stars.

Theodora, from Wren Academy Barnet

Department 19 has been written by Will Hill and is a gripping tale about a young boy named Jamie Carpenter and his mum who has been kidnapped by the evil vampires. Jamie Carpenter now goes on a mission to find his mum but there may be some obstacles in his way.

What I really enjoyed about the book is that it has used different characters from different tales and put them all together to fit as one. Some bad characters from different books were portrayed as good characters which was surprising as it wasn’t what I would expect.

I like the way Will Hill uses detailed language to describe the scene which really drew me in even more! This book wasn’t something that I would pick for myself but I persevered and realized it was quite interesting!

I would recommend this book to all vampire lovers and even people that are ready to try something new!

Star rating: ***

Zed, from Jewish Community Secondary School
Looking at the cover of Department 19, I thought it was going to be one of those books where there isn’t really a storyline, just people shooting each other and explosions happening everywhere. That’s why there is the saying, don’t judge a book by its cover. Yes, there was a lot of violence, and yes, there was a lot of gore. But what surprised me was that it was a genuinely good book with a complex plot that made me pick up the book and not let go.
With his father dying in mysterious circumstances, Jamie carpenter lives with his mother knowing the “fact” that his father was a traitor to his country. But when his mother gets kidnapped by vampires with a taste for human blood and revenge, he must side with Victor Frankenstein and join the most secret department in the Uk, Department 19. Jamie must undergo intense physical training and listen to people tell him that his father betrayed Department 19. But Jamie must rescue his mother before it is too late.
I can certainly say it was an unexpected ending. It was such a good book that I bought the sequel. I recommend this book to you even if you don’t like supernatural thrillers because it was amazing!