Department 19: Darkest Night (Department 19 #5)
Genre: horror, supernatural Age: 13+
As Dracula rises to power, Blacklight is faced with deep and critical changes to the status quo. Opinions amongst the general public have become divisive as the existence of vampires has been revealed and those who drink blood and those who do not are increasingly at ends. The stakes have changed; so too has Blacklight’s response as they attempt to contain the increasingly apocalyptic rise of Dracula. A new operation must emerge for a new era of vampire-human relations.
Darkest Night may be the chunkiest installment in the Department 19 series so far, but not one page passes without urgency. As the novel races towards the series’ denouement, it’s obvious that the good guys will succeed (it would be depressing if they didn’t…) but the real meat of the story is how they will overcome the greatest threat to humanity since Dracula himself.
As with his previous books, Hill narrates in the third person; something of a rarity in recent years. It’s used to all success in Darkest Night, maintaining the uncertainty of who lives or dies – something I’m surprised he doesn’t utilise more; he’s almost too kind on his readers.
Darkest Night is the excellent conclusion to a series that is far more complex and engaging than even its premise might seem; as it wrestles with moral and ethical questions in a world not too far from ours, it delivers an epic and cinematic vision of what vampirism might look like if it really existed. Hill has come from debut writer to serialist with remarkably strength.