I saw two books in the children / young adults section of the book shop.  They caught my eye and I noted the titles to read later.  Surprising enough they were available at the library when I went to find new books.

17696021The Wizards Guide to Wellington.  This one wasn’t on the shelf so I put it on reserve.  I was the first reader when it went into circulation.  I was interested to read it to see if this was New Zealand’s answer to Harry Potter.  Sort of.  It’s a book for children about witches and wizards and mythical monsters in Wellington than a deliberate pastiche of the Hogwarts series.  Non-magic users co-exist with the broom-stick riders and the fairy boats just out of the corner of the eye.  It repeats Wellington’s reputation as the bureaucratic capital of New Zealand, a high magic city with high magic citizens.  The writing fizzes and moves along quickly with child-like imagination for new adventures.  It wasn’t what I was looking for.  It’s aimed at younger readers than what I usually enjoy.  I didn’t find the depth of writing I was looking for.  The description of Wellington was lightly handled.  A gift for a child who wants a rollicking bouncy story that feeds her imagination, perhaps a local.

11351172Department 19.  A book out of the prosthetic vampire tradition.  The writing is older.  Again it is action-driven and it is very dark.  The prologue starts with a violent death.  Jamie Carpenter, the protagonist starts off as an alienated cipher as a result of his broken family, fairly typical for YA dark fantasy.  In the shadows his destiny is a secret agency who defends Britain from the classic monsters: Frankenstein, Dracula, Wolfman.  Jamie turns out to be natural, a descendent of the vampire hunters.  Now he has his family honour to restore.  There’s a high body count, both mooks and characters.  Many of them have names and at least some sketched out background.  Their deaths do count.  It’s hard-wired, violent and action-orientated.  It ends with enough hooks for the second title in the series.  Just don’t breathe through your nose.

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