Title: The Phlebotomist
Author: Chris Panatier
From the back: In a near future where citizens are subject to the mandatory blood draw, government phlebotomist Willa Wallace witnesses an event that makes her question her whole world…
To recover from a cataclysmic war, the Harvest was instituted to pass blood to those affected by radiation. But this charitable act has led to a society segregated entirely by blood type. Government blood contractor, Patriot, rewards your generous gift based on the compatibility of your donation, meaning that whoever can give the most, gets the most in return.
While working as a reaper taking collections for the Harvest, Willa chances upon an idea to resurrect an obsolete technique that could rebalance the city. But in her quest to set things into motion, she uncovers a horrifying secret that cuts to the heart of everything.
File Under: Science Fiction [ Blood Will Out | This Might Hurt a Bit | Be positive | Bloody Nightmare ]
The gist: Welcome to a dystopia that is going to get your blood pumping (sorry).
In my defence, there is a lot of blood involved in this dark, super-fun dystopian romp.
Is it wrong to have fun in your dystopia? I like to think not. And it’s hard not to have fun when you’re fighting the system with the likes of Panatier’s brilliant characters.
It’s an original take on the corporate Big Brother vibes, and Panatier’s characters are some of the coolest to be around. I hadn’t realised until I read this book how much I needed to see an older woman kick some ass, and Panatier gives us a grandma who is going to go as far as it takes to protect her grandson (spoiler alert: quite far). And she gets some mighty fine friends to do it with too (who doesn’t want to be friends with gun-toting hackers and killer kids?).
The Phlebotomist is a pacy book with enough action to give you a workout, but with enough heart to keep you wanting more.
I’m not going to say too much because I don’t trust myself not to give away some of the surprises.
And there are surprises… bloody surprises.
This likely ain’t the dystopia you think it is.
PS bonus points awarded for the brightest cover in the history of books. Get your shades ready.
Favourite line: “You already said fuck earlier”
Read if: You want to hang with the coolest grandma in town. Bring your own wig.
Read with: A nice glass of the reddest of bloods. I mean wines, WINES. If you’re the sort that faints at the sight of blood you might wanna have some cushions handy.
Get it: The Phlebotomist by Chris Panatier (available September 2020)
ARC gratefully received from Angry Robot and Netgalley