Wednesday, July 10, 2013

He Has Risen

Department 19 has done everything it can to keep supernatural beings under control, but nothing could stop one of the three most powerful vampires alive, and the most insane vampire ever, from bringing Dracula back. In Department 19: The Rising, Will Hill explains just how terrifying of a notion that really is.

Having barely survived Lindisfarne, the battle of Jamie's lifetime, the group is trying to regroup at the Loop, but it is difficult to come down from a battle such as that. Jamie managed to kill Alexandru, one of the oldest and certainly the craziest vampires on the face of the planet. But something bigger was happening behind the scenes. Alexandru's brother Valeri was bringing back his master, Dracula, the first and most powerful vampire the world has ever seen. This was a slow deliberate process, and it would take months to get Dracula to his full power, but once he was fully restored, he would be essentially unstoppable. Zero Hour. Now Blacklight must stop Dracula from fully recovering from his century of ashed dormancy. 

But that isn't so easy. Personally, Jamie is struggling with his own grief and confusion. His mom was turned into a vampire (and is being held in the Loop), his girlfriend is a "vegetarian" vampire working for Blacklight, and his best friend is dating a different guy, throwing him for a loop. Not to mention, Frankenstein sacrificed himself to save Jamie, a guilt Jamie still cannot put behind him. However, he must put his personal struggles behind him as the vampires of the world are starting to act out with the knowledge that Dracula rises. All the operatives must remember their number one priority right now- making sure Dracula does not fully rise and end life as they know it. 

I love Will Hill's books for a number of reasons, but the primary reason is how he can have a huge book with only two or three major action scenes, but the whole book is so fascinating you never hit a slow part! I don't know how that is possible, but he does it. The characters are so dynamic and the exposition is intriguing. I also absolutely love how he throws historical and mythological figures in the story with new and surprising twists (hello Gertrude Stein, Pablo Picasso, and Ernest Hemingway!). I always hope those fun references would convince a kid to check them out and discover a whole new literary world out there. 

This second book was just as strong as the first. You had a lot more of the emotional angle for both Jamie and the rest of the teens involved in Blacklight. I also really enjoyed the extended history that brought more and more levels to the story. This story reaches back centuries and still remains present and relevant in modern times. It was a great way to build the world around the story. And what a world this is! Sometimes the story really feels like an action-packed summer blockbuster, and then other times it becomes a true examination of morals and how far you can truly go in the name of protecting society. 

Even though this is a huge story, it reads like it was 20 pages. If you can get a kid over the intimidation factor of the sheer size of this book, you will find they (or you) will be hooked instantly. This would be a great boy book for a teenaged boy who is interested in supernatural stories, but not so much in twinkly vampires (and not quite ready for the terrifying vampires in Del Toro's The Strain). I absolutely enjoy this series from first page to last page. I can't get enough of them (which is fabulous because there is a LOT of them!). So now I wait for the third book! And it is going to be an impatient wait, because this was a wild ride. 

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