YMMV / Department 19

  • Complete Monster:
    • Dracula, previously known as Vlad Tepes, is the Big Bad, the first vampire ever to exist, and, despite his Faux Affably Evil manner, puts all other vampires to shame with his monstrousness. Even before being turned, he was vicious; in The Rising, Valentin tells how he once brutally slaughtered a whole village because the mayor's wife didn't bow deeply enough. After he is resurrected, he devours hundreds, procured for him by Valeri Rusmanov, to regain his full power. He kidnaps Blacklight Director Henry Seward and subjects him to Cold-Blooded Torture both for information and For the Evulz (including ripping out and eating his left eye in Zero Hour, in which he also kills numerous Operators, including Acting Director Cal Holmwood). He is also responsible for turning thousands of violently unstable inmates into powerful vampires, resulting in at least several dozen deaths across the world. After vampires are revealed to the world, he secretly funds Van Helsing Hate Crimes to destabilize the UK. His first move against humanity is a terrorist attack that kills tens of thousands, during which he seizes the city of Carcassonne and gives its inhabitants two days to leave. At the deadline, he burns the city to ashes, killing 6,000 people who couldn't escape in time. His ultimate goal is to Take Over the World out of nothing more than pride, which will result in countless deaths, vampires becoming the dominant species, and even the slightest dissent being punishable by Cruel and Unusual Death.
    • The Faux Affably Evil Mad Scientist Professor Richard Talbot, AKA Christopher Reynolds (likely his real name) from The Rising is the head of Department 19ís Lazarus Project, which aims to reverse vampirism. However, he is in fact trying to find a way to eliminate vampiresí weaknesses. This involves Cold-Blooded Torture of vampires. Before escaping, he is in the middle of killing the vampires who are being studied; a young vampire would have been the next victim. He kills the 23 other members of Lazarus with sarin, and was about to kill a teenage member before being stopped. We learn that he had done this before, torturing vampires and killing his staff. He is also The Mole for Valeri Rusmanov, and is thus responsible for the kidnapping of Department 19's Director Henry Seward, and the 68 members of Department 19 who are killed, when Valeri leads an attack on Department 19's headquarters. While not having the body count of Dracula or the Rusmanovs, he qualifies as, unlike them he is one of the worst humans.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Pretty much every villain is very firmly on the "black" end of Black and Gray Morality. Some shining examples:
    • Alexandru Rusmanov, Big Bad of the first book, is hyped as an Ax-Crazy lunatic, but other than Offscreen Villainy, he's mostly shown physically abusing Marie and Anderson. His line-crossing moment, though, comes when, in retribution for Jamie attempting to find him, he leads forty vampires to the island of Lindisfarne. They brutally torture and kill at least eighty random people, about half the island's population, and in the third book it's implied that at least a few victims were raped as well.
    • Garcia Rejon, a drug lord turned indirectly by Dracula during the third book, manages to cross this before he even appears. Despite being a superpowered vampire, he and his fellow vampires hide deep in his mansion while they force the bikini-clad women who process drugs for them to serve as Cannon Fodder armed only with blunt machetes and kitchen tools. One of the women is actually killed because of this, and Larissa makes a point to kill Rejon specifically for this.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The death of John Morton will make you uneasy about what's behind closed doors.
    • The attack on Lindisfarne at the end of the first book. It's a peaceful little fishing town...that suddenly gets attacked by powerful monsters that aren't supposed to exist and that set about torturing and murdering the inhabitants in gruesome ways.
    • The actual contents of Talbot's lab are this; it's full of vivisected vampires, cut up in an attempt to find a way to get around vampire weaknesses to make Dracula's army stronger.
    • An in-universe example, when Dracula tells Henry Seward how he's going to kill him, Seward's reaction is to vomit and faint. Exactly what Dracula said is never revealed, but it's clear that they both consider it to be worse than impalement.
    • In Zero Hour and Darkest Night, the chaos which breaks out when the public finds out about vampires is really pretty scary. There are reports of goths being brutally assaulted because people thought they were vampires, and a couple who worked from home and so were never seen going in or out had petrol poured through their letterbox and set on fire. It doesn't get any better.
    • The flashback sequence in the first book, where Van Helsing, Bram Stoker(!) and Van Helsing's valet, Henry Carpenter, go down into some creepy catacombs below a theatre and find what? The exsanguinated, mutilated corpses of multiple chorus girls who had gone missing from the theatre.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: With all the grisly violence and gore, you'd expect the novel was for adults.
  • The Woobie:
    • Jamie's dad is gunned down in front of him when he's fourteen, and he is relentlessly picked on for the next two years. Then, he comes home to find that his mother has been kidnapped by Alexandru. He then learns that his dad sold out Blacklight to the same vampire that kidnapped his mom (not really).
    • His mom, Marie, is abducted by Alexandru and kept as a hostage for pretty much the whole first book. She is then turned into a vampire as her captor's last act of spite.
    • Larissa was turned into a vampire when she wanders into a dark alley at a fair and forced to abandon her family lest she eat them, she runs into Alexandru at an unspecified later time. The only reason he doesn't kill her on the spot was because he was Distracted by the Sexy, and she has to convince him that she was a vicious killer in order to survive. When he orders her to kill Jamie, she can't go through with it, and he horrifically mauls her as punishment. Also qualifies as Jerkass Woobie due to her behavior toward the beginning.
    • Matt Browning is a sweet boy who's been relentlessly bullied all his life due to his intelligence, who gets viciously assaulted by a vampire in his own back garden. He's then taken to a top secret government facility to be treated and has to feign amnesia because he's scared about what'll happen to him. Then, after joining the Department and finally finding somewhere he can fit in, have friends and make a difference using his intelligence, it turns out the leader of his project is a Mad Scientist who proceeds to gas the entire project and nearly murders Matt, too. In Zero Hour, he sees a man commit suicide in front of him, and in Darkest Night he gets assaulted by one of his best friends because of a misunderstanding. The poor guy's been through a lot.
    • Kate happens to live on Lindisfarne Island when Alexandru attacks it and is forced to witness the sheer Gorn inflicted on her fellow townsfolk. At the end of The Rising, her boyfriend dies, too.
    • Paul Turner, in the later books. In the Rising,his son dies, resulting in a friendship with Kate, and it's revealed that he feels intensely guilty because he thinks he wasn't a good enough dad, up to losing sleep on the matter. When Kate's room gets bombed in Battle Lines, he comes very close to freaking out. And to add to it, in Zero Hour, he says that he has done terrible things for the Department and he has to believe it was for good otherwise he might kill himself. In Darkest Night, when the cure for vampirism is finally found, we even get told how feelings like happiness and optimism had been lost to him in recent months. It can certainly tug at the readers' heartstrings.
    • Due to his insane levels of willpower and ability to keep going and be a complete badass whilst doing it, Paul Turner qualifies for Iron Woobie as well.