The Phlebotomist

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Pub Date Sep 08 2020 | Archive Date Aug 10 2020

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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: Dystopia [ Blood Will Out | This Might Hurt a Bit | Be positive | Bloody Nightmare ]
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...

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ISBN 9780857668615
PRICE $18.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 51 members

Featured Reviews

It's been a while since a book about the near future has made me that excited. The Phlebotomist draws a very interesting future where blood has literally become the most important part of economy.
We follow the story of a phlebotomist - Willa, trained around our present time, that has held the job title in the future, even though the job in the future bares very little resemblance. Willa now spends her entire workdays collecting blood donations that get sent to areas where people need transfusions because of radiation sickness. She's managed to get a somewhat comfortable life for this post-apocalyptic world, when by sheer accident she starts uncovering the truth behind the system, in which she works and lives.
I really liked the characters and setting, and how everything was explained. This made for quite a nice weekend read. The book seems open to a sequel and I'd be really happy if we get one.

*Thanks to NetGalley and Angry Robot for providing me with an ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review.*

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Wow - Panatier's The Phlebotomist drives forward like a semi-truck, never content to let you sit quietly and process. With second to none worldbuilding, he's layered traditional fantasy within sheets of science fiction, post-apocalyptic dystopia, and good old fashioned adventure. Like a parfait (or an onion), every time you think you're comfortable and fully in control, Panatier pulls the rug out from under your feet with a new twist or a new shift to the paradigm of his world. Eschewing the traditional post-apocalyptic protagonists (star-crossed lovers, abandoned-at-birth youth, mysterious stranger with a past), his characters feel real, with understandable motivations and passions that drive them. Panatier did his research as well; his science feels accurate (always a risk when you use actual science vs making it up) and doesn't detract from the plot. All in all, I can recommend this book wholeheartedly, without any reservations - I just need to go find out my blood-type so I can prepare (just in case).

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A while back, while sitting at my computer in my home office I found myself bored. My children were in the adjacent room watching reruns of Paw Patrol, my wife asleep on the couch. To provide some entertainment, I began making the rounds to my favorite publisher's websites to see what was coming up in the pipeline. I typed in the URL for Angry Robot and began my research. The Phlebotomist, the computer screen read in black digital ink. What an interesting title, I thought, so I clicked on it and was greeted with a bright pink cover and a picture of a heart. Once I read the synopsis I knew this book would be mine. My concern was that the synopsis wasn't accurate, that a book with such a promising premise would fall short and flat. My worries were unnecessary.

This book is a roller-coaster ride from page one. It tells the story of Willa, a phlebotomist in a future society where the demand for blood has increased so much everyone over the age of 16 is required to give a minimum donation in the Harvest. For those who choose to give more, they are compensated by a government agency known as PATRIOT. Certain blood is worth more than others based upon its bio-compatibility. O-negative is the universal donor so it is valued the most as are the donors. People are essentially placed into a caste system based upon their blood type.

I've read numerous books where people are placed into a caste system but none have been centered around their blood type. This was such a genius idea. Willa soon discovers things aren't as they appear and thus begins the story of bringing down an entire social strata system.

Panatier does everything right in this book. There is never a dull moment with fast paced chapters full of excitement, action, twists, and turns. He beautifully weaves a society which is both horrifying yet believable, where politicians and high society members declare FAKE NEWS! and quell any type of uprising. Willa is such a great protagonist too. She is loyal, mild mannered, and content with her life until her eyes are opened. She is certainly someone I got behind and enjoyed reading about.

With this being Panatier's debut, I can only imagine what his ceiling is. This is a book that I would expect from a veteran in the industry. I have already raved about it to coworkers, book club members, friends, and family. The only problem is they will have to wait until September when it comes out. To summarize this long review: read this weird, twisted, wacky book. It has a chance at being the best thing you'll read all year.

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Wow, this book wasn't what I expected.

To summarize it short I can say that: The Phlebotomist teams up with an ex-marine hacker and they decide to take out an evil government whose members are vampires.

Yeah, this book started like some Orwellian dystopian novel, but fast became something else entirely. We enter the world where people are segreagted by blood. If you are an universal donor, like 0-negative, you're a highblood, if you are an universal recipent, well your blood isn't worth much so you're a lowblood. To pay for living, people have to sell their blood, that is used to help people from Grey Zone (meaning a zone that suffered after bombardment).

Of course nothing is as it seems, and when our protagonist The Phlebotomist Willa (who is AB-positive, lowblood herself) finds out that something is wrong, the hell breaks loose. She has to team up with legendary Locksmith and those two badass old ladies, backed with some other side characters, try to show people the truth.

Yeah, I think this is as much as I can say about the plot. This book is crazy with action and it is impossible to be bored by it. Characters are great and no one is safe. Great read indeed! I am looking forward to read more of his author.

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The Phlebotomist by Chris Panatier is a post apocalyptic, dystopian futuristic thriller with a conspiracy twist led by female protagonists who do the science and blow things up.

Honestly, what more do you need to know?

Okay, okay, the book centres around Willa Wallace (the phlebotomist of the title), who works to support herself and her grandson. There has been a global crisis, involving nuclear weapons and now the populace is subjected to a daily blood draw to support Patriot, the quasi government, private corporation that is now running things. Society is now a blood type based hierarchy, where people with blood borne diseases are rounded up and placed in ghettos.

Willa is an old school phlebotomist, having been trained before the crisis, and she starts to notice things aren't quite what they should be. After witnessing an accident, she gets caught up in and begins to uncover the conspiracy behind the Harvest.

I really enjoyed the book and as a fan of dystopian fiction, which can at times be BLEAK, this had a real heart and sense of humour to it.

Highly recommend

The characterizations and world building are great, and the books moves along with great pace. There is just enough science to make the book credible and really suspend your disbelief without it being too complicated for those of us who used to doze off in biology classes.

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Review: The Phlebotomist by Chris Panatier

Rating: 9/10


War brought the Harvest. Willa Mae Wallace is a reaper.

To support herself and her grandson Isaiah, Willa works for the blood contractor Patriot. Instituted to support the war effort, the mandatory draw (The Harvest) has led to a society segregated by blood type. Hoping to put an end to it all, Willa draws on her decades-old phlebotomy training to resurrect an obsolete collection technique, but instead uncovers an awful truth.

Patriot will do anything to protect its secret. On the run and with nowhere else to turn, Willa seeks an alliance with Lock, a notorious blood-hacker who cheats the Harvest to support the children orphaned by it. But they soon find themselves in the grasp of a new type of evil.


Kick-ass grandmother, an evil corporation and a dystopian setting. Does it get any better than that?

Right, where do I even start with this one? Maybe I should just leave it with a “GO AND GET THIS BOOK, NOW!” You won’t regret it at all but I guess you want more of a review than that.

Let’s get to it and I want to start with the cover of The Phlebotomist. I know we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but how can we not when it looks this good. Just check out that cover. It’s bright pink, it's simple and Chris Panatier illustrated the anatomical heart/flower mashup himself. That’s pretty damn awesome. This book is an eye-catcher and will look great on any and all bookshelves.

Okay, so what I really loved about this book is our protagonist, a Reaper called Willa. A 60 year old grandmother that works for Patriot, a blood donation company, and does all she can to provide for her grandson in a dystopian near future. We get to see Willa change from the sweet and kind grandmother we all know to a mean machine during this story. Don’t get me wrong she is still sweet and kind but now knows how and is willing to get s**t done in order to keep those around her safe. Chris’ character development is fantastic and I really connected with all the characters throughout the story including the side characters.

Chris Panatier lands us straight in the centre of a country that has been ravished by a recent war and we soon understand the consequences of the war and how the people adapted afterwards. We witness a country of titanic inequality amongst its population and this holds a mirror up to our current society and shows us how devastating inequality can be for everyone. I enjoyed the way that Chris Panatier approaches the subject of inequality and it will serve as an eye-opener for many people. Overall the world-building in The Phlebotomist is fantastic and if you are a fan of well crafted settings then this is for you.

Now I found the plot unique in its telling and it had me hooked and asking questions from the very first page. It’s a nice fast pace without feeling rushed and the story unravels at just the right frequency to keep the reader entertained. I certainly didn’t feel any lulls during this read and it kept my attention throughout.

Chris Panatier creates an interesting take on the classic dystopian future in his debut and I for one can't wait to read more of his work in the future. The Phlebotomist is definitely for those that love dystopian novels, definitely for those that love a strong female lineup and definitely for those that love a little dose of conspiracy.

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"Doom is a flood that waits for the rift."

First of all, can we please just admire the cover of this book? It jumped off the screen at me and I knew I had to request it. Second of all, the premise. This book is completely different from any other dystopian novel I have read. The book follows Willa, who works as a phlebotomist for the government. Citizens are required to donate blood by law, and are paid for any extra blood they can give. Willa is the primary guardian for her grandson, Isiah, after her own daughter's life was taken by the blood trade. Third of all, Willa.. A grandmother as the lead was totally different in a genre where most protagonists are young and healthy.

The world building in this novel was exceptional. The blood districts, the harvest and the heart were all so well developed, without excessive info-dumping. I loved Willa's character and her commitment to Isiah, and I especially loved her newfound friendship with Lock. Their personalities were very different, and yet they were both motherly and determined. Kathy was the ultimate surprise and I kept forgetting she was only fourteen.

The beginning of the book and the last few chapters were fast paced and exciting. I loved the ending and hope there will be a second book. However, some of the lengthy medical descriptions and computer terminology from Lock were over my head, and I found myself skimming these sections. I greatly admire the research that went into this book, but for me, it didn't need to be quite so detailed.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an arc in exchange for an honest review.

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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.

Will post to closer to publication date

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I was so intrigued by the premise and how the rich keep getting richer at the expense of the poor and middle class and then what is to keep the rich from taking your literal life force. I pictured this being made into a movie as I read.

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As a trained phlebotomist, I’m fully qualified to tell you that this book is bloody fun. Chris Panatier’s upcoming debut novel has satisfied a thirst I didn’t know I had for a dystopian-heist adventure.

The Phlebotomist is set in 2067 after a series of nuclear attacks have led to radiation poisoning and a slew of illnesses, particularly blood-related diseases. The government has been supplanted by Patriot, a private organisation who enforce a monthly blood tax in order to save the sick who live in the Grey Zones.

While the majority of jobs have been automated, Willa is one of the lucky few still employed, working as a phlebotomist and collecting the monthly blood tithe. With no other source of income most people are forced to sell additional units of their blood to Patriot, who set their buying price based on demand. This has given rise to a caste system where O-blood type citizens – highbloods – receive a generous premium for their in-demand juice, while people with the less desirable AB-blood type – lowbloods – are paid a pittance and live in relative poverty. Willa is AB-positive, but has saved up and moved to a B-positive neighbourhood with her grandson Isaiah.

Willa’s life is quickly turned upside down when she sees something she shouldn’t have, making her question her whole world. Harbouring new suspicions about Patriot, Willa is forced to cooperate with blood-hackers, criminals who profit from mislabelled units of blood, in order to keep Isaiah safe.

The Phlebotomist has been on my TBR ever since I first saw the stunning cover illustrated by the author himself. This book is as fun as it is surprising, with Panatier putting an interesting new twist on more than one genre mainstay. While the story can be read as scathing social and political commentary, I think Panatier mostly wants you to sit back and enjoy his bloody ride.  

Willa is a badass woman tackling the world head-on in her aubergine boots and candy-pink wig. She is a loveable character, tired of the world and at the same time ready to see it burn if it means giving her grandson a better chance at life. At 60-something years of age she’s not your typical lead for a spec fic dystopian novel, but I found her point of view refreshing and interesting, one that I would love to see more of in SFF. Willa and the tech-savvy, slightly unhinged Lock are absolutely my new favourite criminal duo.

With plenty of style, humour, action and a fantastic ending, I would absolutely love to see a screen adaption of The Phlebotomist. In the meantime, you can pre-order a copy of the book ahead of its release on 8th September.

Thank you to Angry Robot for providing an advanced copy of the book in exchange for an honest review, and congrats to Chris Panatier for an awesome debut.

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This blew me away!
So, here we have a book that purports to be a dystopia novel, and in the beginning, it rocks ALL of those characteristics. A totalitarian, autocratic government that has seized complete power due to a nuclear war - meaning that the common people must donate, and receive blood to survive. Society has degenerated into blood type social strata. If you have a blood type that can be safely given to other blood types, you are higher class,and so on and so forth.
So it looks a lot like a regular dystopian novel, (and it's jolly good, too, excellent reading) and then BAM! MAJOR PLOT TWIST! I read hundreds of books per year. I always see the plot twists, I always work out whodunit... And I didn't see this one coming! It made the novel into a genre blending masterpiece. I don't want to spoil the plot twist, but man, I was blown away by it. Incredibly skillfully written,
I also loved that the main characters were black, the main protagonist is Old, and that there was miniscule romantic subplots, (and what the tiniest, literally one sentence subplot it was, was queer) I really recommend this book to anyone that has an interest in post apocalyptic, dystopian fiction, Atwood fans, etc.

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I read a book recently by an Italian author very similar to this, the premise were close but the execution and delivery of the story much different, I would say I enjoyed both but that I found this more engaging and the characters relatable (as much as is possible) it’s really good read with some unique and interesting concepts

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This book absolutely blew me away, from the first line where people were queuing up to sell their blood, I was hooked. The Phlebotomist is set in a world where people have become reliant on selling their blood to Patriot, a global retriever of blood every 45 days from everyone aged 16 upwards. Within the world that Chris has created, the population is segregated into several living areas based on their blood types. This provides a somewhat caste system depended on an individuals blood, from high bloods, medium bloods to low bloods - such as AB that can be given to anyone. With the blood types, each one is worth more or less depending on how high in demand it is, this leads to bloody (get it?) crimes such as blood muggings! How scary is that?! This world that you can find within the pages of The Phlebotomist is horrifyingly shocking, set with a dystopian backdrop but Patriot and 'the reapers' who work there are just the tip of the iceberg.
We meet our female protagonist, Willa, who is a lovable granny and one of the only actually trained phlebotomists left working at Patriot. She is a character who you can't help but fall in love with, with her well tuned moral compass, her kindness and the love she has for her grandson Isaiah. This fast paced storyline, throws you in the deep end of a biological / medical dystopian which has so many layers and twists. I was gripped from the get go and consumed the whole novel in one day. When Willa falls across cover-ups, conspiracies and a mystery that has her running for her life with some unexpected acquaintances and nail biting reveals, it's hard not to be completely mesmerised by The Phlebotomist.
The storyline is impeccably written, with each chapter starting with a 'fun fact', Chris obviously took care to research the components of this novel which helped take it from strength to strength. The knowledge interwoven into the storyline fitted perfectly, not only did it provide a further atmospheric feel but it also educated me. Another reason why I loved this book is it's nothing quite like anything I've read before, a medical dystopian mixed with a sci-fi element that felt scarily plausible on so many levels - people willingly selling their blood in dangerous levels in order to help themselves and their family survive, a huge multi-national company literally draining its 'customers' of life then slapping a name on it that suggests that it's their patriotic duty to provide this life giver! A little peak into money and greed within humanity don't you think?
Overall, a fantastic novel written to create a terrifyingly tense literary adventure, with chapters flowing easily into one another and just intoxicating the reader with futuristic technology, biological hacking and an array of other adrenaline pumping elements, The Phlebotomist is a dark, twisted debut you're really not going to want to miss!

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Thanks to NetGalley and Angry Robot Books for an advanced readers copy in exchange for an honest review.

4+ stars. Well done book about the near future. In a post apocalyptic world, the main source of income is people donating their blood in exchange for money and food. Society is separated by blood type, which I thought was an interesting take on class divide. Willa Mae Wallace is a “reaper” who draws blood. She is one of the few who is actually trained as a phlebotomist before all of the wars. She figures out some questionable things and sets a lot of action in motion—I don’t want to give anything away. Willa is always driven to protect her grandson Isaiah, whom she is raising.

It is so refreshing that the main characters/heros are middle aged women!Willa’s grandson Isaiah is a bit flat. There are also some awesome inventions that I wouldn’t be surprised to see in real life down the road.

Excellent debut by Chris Panatier and I look forward to reading more by him in the future.

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LOVED this book - which is saying a lot because I'm not usually into futuristic dystopian sci-fi or plot-driven books but I couldn't put this book down. There's very little character development but the main character and supporting characters were different enough that it helped add to the story. It was fast-paced and did a great job on having a crazy twist at the end I totally wasn't expecting. Definite recommend!

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In 2067, blood will out. Society is broken down into hierarchies based on blood type, after devastating nuclear attacks have resulted in “Grey Zones,” areas whose inhabitants suffer from all manner of unpleasant, radiation-derived illnesses. Constant transfusions are necessary to sustain these unfortunates, resulting in financial incentives for everyone else to give as much blood as they can. With demand for your particular blood type determining how much you can earn, societal divides have been redrawn in new yet familiar ways, with quality of life dictated by a twist of biological fate.

Working within this dystopian vision of the future is main character Willa Mae Wallace. A phlebotomist with Patriot - the organisation behind the network of blood banks - her only concern in life is providing for her grandson Isaiah. With subtle, incidental details, we infer that Willa is an older character than we might expect from this kind of story. Her fingers are described as arthritic. She has orthopaedic shoes. She wears a nighty to bed. She has a wig, albeit a bright pink one, and out of a combination of choice and necessity (it helps Isaiah find her in a crowd). She has a strongly developed moral compass and is intelligent, compassionate and brave, all of which we’re able to conclude from her actions rather than having it explicitly stated. Her age is never played for laughs, nor does she ever complain about being too old for anything. After countless examples elsewhere of retired police chiefs with weak hearts solving crimes, she is simultaneously a ray of sunshine and a breath of fresh air. Above all, Willa feels like a very real and very wonderful person, never straying into being twee or cutesy.

The level of detail that goes into Willa’s characterisation is continued into the worldbuilding too. Panatier has clearly thought long and hard about the possible ramifications of a world with an economy based on blood trafficking. Black market trading and blood muggings are commonplace, with more complex criminality explored further later on, but it’s the social stratification that is perhaps the most impactful. Not only is this central to much of the story, it provides a unique social commentary on a world that values certain genetic traits more than others. Whilst this isn’t commented on extensively, it doesn’t have to be - the parallels to our own present are sadly all too easy to see. The wealthiest members of society, too, sequester themselves in Capillarian Crest, bribing their way out of donating altogether whilst the rest of the population are sucked dry - this world’s version of (in this case, sanguinary) tax avoidance.

The company behind “The Trade” (as the business of blood donation for cash has come to be known) are also everything you would hope for in a dystopian setting. Their executives are corporate-speak horrors, parroting legal jargon one minute, smiling like catalogue models the next, with an always present air of menace. They seem wildly out of touch with the situation in the real world, with careless faux-pas betraying just how little they associate with those who aren’t at least as successful as they are. They really are a lot of fun, with a few early exchanges between them and Willa allowing Panatier to take some cheeky pot shots at slimy corporate climbers. And of course, no dystopia would be complete without media manipulation - regular “Patriocast” updates remind everyone to do their duty and keep donating, with a grisly list of the fluctuating figures of various cancers in the Grey Zones providing a harrowing added incentive.

A chance discovery involving the science of phlebotomy sets Willa somewhat at odds with Patriot, and she soon finds herself in more trouble than she bargained for, this initial seemingly innocent disagreement spiralling into something far more serious. Clearly not one to skimp on the research side of things, Panatier is more than forthcoming with scientific terms around phlebotomy and blood, but never to the extent where it feels excessive or overwhelming. Chapters begin with a medical dictionary style definition of a word related to blood or blood drawing which pertains to events in the chapter, sometimes directly, sometimes obliquely. This helps keep everything very on brand, even in those chapters which don’t feature much to do with phlebotomy. But as well as this, there are subtle instances of the language of blood permeating the prose itself. A group of children, dispersed from the window they were gathered around, then “recongeal” around it. Elsewhere, a flock of birds seems to resemble a platelet. These flourishes are rare, but resonant enough that they really stay with you. Or perhaps it could be said that they get under your skin? Either way, it’s a sign of a writer gleefully and confidently in command of their style.

For all these reasons and more, The Phlebotomist is a unique and hugely accomplished debut. That stunning hot pink cover and the out-there concept bely both the gravity of the social issues raised and the extreme and often violent lengths that some of the characters are prepared to go to in defence of their ideals. It’s a wholly original take on dystopian science fiction and a brilliant feat of imagination, which manages to be both accessible and intelligent. What’s more, it does it all without ever losing its heart, thanks to the utterly loveable Willa. Highly recommended.

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Set in a dystopian future, The Phlebotomist by Chris Panatier is a book where blood, required for the benefit of the ongoing war, is the main source of income for society.
Willa, the Phlebotomist or Reaper, works to help raise her grandson and keep him safe. Within 24 hours, all of this changes when she finds out more about the world in which she and about things she never knew existed. To stay alive, she teams up with Lock, an ex-marine computer hacker.
Chris Panatier's characters are a welcome change from the usual sci-fi books. Willa is a grandmother who wears a pink wig so her grandson can spot her in a crowd, Lock is a female hacker who does this to feed all of the orphans taken in by her group and Kathy, introduced later on in the book is like a teenage ninja.
The beginning of the book takes a great left turn and then builds a convincing world. Even towards the end, there is a small reveal which allows the potential to explore its history and leaves a couple of threads open to pursue a follow-up or two.
This is a great book that I enjoyed a lot more than I thought I would.

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I love a good near-future book, and this one was chilling. A bit of fantasy, a bit of sci-fi, and a bit of dystopia all mingle together for a fascinating read.

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Willa was a professional phlebotomist once, but now she is just a reaper who collects blood for the Patriot. They say it’s for transfusion for those who are in the Gray Zone, and she fully accepts this reasoning behind the blood tax. But what if it wasn’t true?
After reading Peter Watts’ ‘Blindsight’, I wasn’t sure that I’d find another interesting usage of the vampire race. However modern novels thrive to surprise me.
‘The Phlebotomist’ can be viewed as a dystopia, the setting is all there. But I’d like to suggest that this novel isn’t about typical a man against a system conflict. Though you can be lured into such thinking very easily. In my opinion, the novel takes a great time to talk about our dependency on technology. While we become lazy with it, taking technology for granted as some sort of magic, trusting it with our daily life, technology isn’t really a panacea, a cold all-mighty mind. It’s not more infallible than a mere human.
Lock, the hacker, is a bit flat character, but I like the ideas she brings into this story. It’s so entirely doable to crack a complex system that you’d be surprised. Lock’s words made me reflect on the issue that while modern technology is a black box for most of us, it still is very human dependable. If you can crack a person thinking than you can crack a technology too. People leave a bunch of holes that can be used with both good and bad intentions. Nobody is protected against the malicious downfall of the system unless you are educated and prepared enough to live without it. Willa, and Lock, and old-fashioned Ichorwulves were prepared.
As for the novel itself, I found the first part of the book very refreshing and intriguing, but the second part was a bit lacking. The setting is quite unique. Segregation by the blood type isn’t the thing you find often in the fiction (unless we are talking about Japanese fiction). However, it didn’t felt like the idea of this was developed fully to cover the story until the very end. The definition at each chapter beginning was a very nice touch though.
And finally, I just love an image of Willa’s hair. Pink on the old lady’s head. How fascinating! I imagine it’s curly. Thus, I just had to draw a picture of her.
In summary, I enjoyed this book despite slight minuses. It gave some ideas to think about, and strong visual images to linger on.
It was good reading. 3.5 stars in total.

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3.5, really, but such fun that I rounded up. Difficult to review without spoiling some of the most enjoyable reveals, but it's a bit silly, a bit queer, a lot gleefully gory - and the main characters are in their 50s and 60s, kicking ass and taking names and looking after everybody. If the blurb catches your interest, I can confirm it's worth a read.

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The Phlebotomist follows Willa, a Reaper, a woman who works for Patriot drawing blood for the Harvest. In a society separated by blood types, those with a universal donor type are regarded more highly, creating a caste system. When Willa sees a drone meant to be carrying blood crash, Patriot pays her a visit, leading to Willa on the run, teamed up with a blood-hacker, Lock.

The Phlebotomist ticks every box that I want from a science fiction dystopian novel - an intricate social system, power hungry leaders, a bad ass main character seeking to overthrow the leaders, and a whole lot of feeling. Willa might not be your typical dystopian main character - she’s a grandmother in her sixties, wearing a bright pink wig - but that doesn’t stop her from being just as badass as any other dystopian main character you can think of. In fact, it makes her a bit better than most because she’s mature, level headed, and educated. This also cuts out the typical dystopian love triangle we normally get, and this just made me love The Phlebotomist more.

The blood caste system affecting the social stratification was also fascinating. The level of detail that went into the blood was incredible, giving little tidbits at the start of each chapter that give you some more background on what the different types are, and different skills that a Phlebotomist would have. It felt surprisingly educational while being a fast paced story about trying to overthrow Patriot.

There were some surprising twists throughout the book too, that take it to a new level of dystopian horror almost, and honestly, while I wasn’t expecting it, I was all for it. It suited the story fully, and the twists didn’t feel like they came entirely out of left field just to make the story progress. And for how surprising some of the twists were, and how action packed the story was, there was lot of heart involved. You feel for Willa and Lock, and the hardships they go through. It was a fine balance of cheering them on through all the action, and having your heart hurt, but it balances well and really pulls you in to the story.

The Phlebotomist is one I absolutely recommend for fans of dystopian style books, and especially those that like a touch of horror tossed in for good measure. If you’re looking for a unique main character that you don’t often see in Sci-Fi, Willa is one to remember, and this is absolutely a book worth checking out.

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This was fabulous! I finished this in about 3 days.
The concept is amazing and thank you, dear author, for giving us a bad-ass pink-haired grandmother to save the world.
I won't spoil too much of the story, but if you're into dystopian with a scientific twist and lovable characters, THIS IS IT!

Thank you Netgalley for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

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I have never read a book quite like The Phlebotomist. It's a fresh take on several old sci-fi and fantasy tropes. The world that Chris Panatier builds has all the elements of a dystopian post-apocalypse, but with an exciting and interesting economy and caste system. The villains in the story are based on a classic fantasy baddy, but with a new twist. The heroes of the story are unexpected and fresh. This was an altogether original story, in an original setting that opened all sorts of possibilities.

The story is set in 2067, I assume in America, after a series of nuclear disasters. A powerful government contractor, known only as Patriot, is in control of the economy, food production and distribution, and most sinisterly, blood collection. Blood donation is now mandatory, and excess donations can be made for money. Some blood types are more valuable than others, creating a caste system, a class system, and an underground criminal economy, all sanctioned, maintained, and funded by Patriot, who is essentially The State. The first half or so of the novel is primarily dealing with this world building, and it is fantastic! The parallels between the modern societal problems in America and Patriot's future run deep and are some of the most poignant I've read in fiction in a long time.


So, that bad guys... It's vampires. Sort of. With a society built on blood collection, I should have seen it coming. But the world building started so completely sci-fi dystopian that I must admit, I didn't expect the introduction of supernatural villains. To be fair, these are not your classic Draculian vamps, who die in sunlight and are weak against religious symbols. They are also definitely NOT the new breed of teenage romantic vamps. The "Ichorwolves" don't actually reveal any supernatural powers in The Phlebotomist. They have taken over America the American way, through the exploitation of the free market and winning government contract after government contract until they are bigger than government itself. The same story could have been told without vampires at all. Before the big reveal I kept asking myself why blood was so important, and where it was actually going. I kind of wish there had been a more satisfying answer.


The main characters in The Phlebotomist are also mold breaking. Willa is bald grandmother with a pink wig, who was a phlebotomist in pre-nuclear America. She has one of the few jobs left in society, so lives more comfortably than her "poor blood" should allow. She is accidentally drawn into a criminal conspiracy when a blood smuggler passes counterfeit type-O through her blood collection service. Shenanigans ensue until her grandson is taken prisoner by Patriot. She must team up with a master hacker, a brainwashed sword wielding teenage super soldier, and a fake tough-guy babysitter to rescue her grandson and the other kidnapped children from a fate worse than blood draining. There are several strong female leads here. I don't remember anyone's ethnicity explicitly being stated, but since blood type is the new race, it still felt inclusive throughout. Willa and Isaiah, her grandson, appeared African American in my mind's eye, and I'm a cis white dude.

The second half of the novel shifts from world building to action heist. I'm afraid I must say I didn't enjoy it quite as much. I felt like this was world so full of possibilities to explore the depth of state control and oppression, so full of metaphor for America's current conflict with race and class issues, with systematic oppression, growing poverty, the unchecked growth of corporate entities, and the seeming futility of standing up against the system. I wanted to read more about that, and less about drone chases and sword fights. Even if the drone chases and sword fights were well written and fun.

The book ends with a satisfyingly grisly payoff scene, and does a great job of setting up the possibility, but not necessity of a sequel. If Panatier does write another novel, I'd be more interested in a prequel, myself. Tell me more about Patriot and how they got where they are, and more about the Ichorwolves before Patriots' full takeover.

This was a fun and fresh read. I enjoyed it and you will too if you like dystopian novels, social justice, or just blood. Bonus points for the fantastic self-illustrated cover.

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Bloody hell! This novel completely caught me off guard. The Phlebotomist by Chris Panatier is a dystopian science fiction read that features strong female characters who fight and topple over a corporation controlled by evil, cruel individuals.

The story followed Willa Mae Wallace, who supported herself and her grandchild Isaiah by working as a 'reaper' for Patriot. The reapers' job was to collect blood every The Draw. Because of war, the mandatory draw, which was also called 'The Harvest,' was established to help people who were sick because of radiation. Each blood donation a person gave was rewarded by incentives which people could use for their everyday needs. Blood became a product which people were willing to sell. This caused the division of society by blood type. When Willa witnessed an accident that uncovered an awful truth, she was on the run and seeked the help of the notorious blood-hacker named The Locksmith.

With its original and unique premise, I was instantly hooked. The world building and setting were brilliant and well-detailed. Even with its intricate setting, the book was fast paced, and I liked how the secrets and surprises were placed just at the right time. There was even an instant where I had to pause for a moment to process what I just read. It was very unexpected, and I did not see it coming. Moreover, the author did a great job describing and potraying a country which was devastated by war. It showed inequality and what people could do to adapt and live.

One of the things I like about this book is the main character. Most dystopian novels I read featured young, attractive ones as their main character. However, in this one, Willa is a 60-year-old grandmother who would do anything to provide for her grandchild. It was refreshing to read someone who had wisdom and did not do impulsive actions and decisions. I also enjoyed the character developments. Lastly, side characters were amazing and interesting, too.

Overall, The Phlebotomist is an interesting story in a dystopian setting. I am looking forward to its sequel.

5/5 stars!

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I find that a lot of my favourite science fiction starts off as a simple What If scenario. A talented author can take a seemingly simple idea and extrapolate from there. A simple difference to our current way of life can have huge implications. Before long an entire new world has been built from this one What If? So, what if the class system was based on blood type? Those universal O donors are top of the pile, whilst A Negatives sit at the bottom. Why has this world turned to this scenario to determine the haves and have nots? Chris Panatier had this idea and out came the intriguing The Phlebotomist, a fantastic slice of What If speculative fiction.

Willa is known as a Phlebotomist; this is someone who knowledgeable in blood and collects it. After a series of nuclear strikes, blood is needed for those in the Grey Zones, without a fresh supply of blood they would succumb to radiation poisoning. Willa is one of the best at what she does and has never questioned why so much blood is required but when she witnesses an accident her life will never be the same. The drones that supposedly carry the blood to the Grey Zones are empty, so were has all the blood gone?

Phlebotomist has the type of world building at its centre that reminds you why you love science fiction so much. There is not another genre that can take a concept like a society based on blood and make it seem natural. People would give blood to help others and you can imagine an authoritarian government increasingly leaning on the people as the bombs still fall. By the time that this book is set, our world is very different and Panatier does a fantastic job of revealing the details through the storyline itself.

The first part of Phlebotomist is a joy to read solely for the way that the world evolves, but it is the character of Willa, and later The Locksmith, who provide the heart. These characters are not your typical late teen/early twenties protagonists that sometimes sully otherwise interesting science fiction. Instead they are mature. Willa is a grandparent looking after her grandson. This relationship has a huge bearing on her actions and drives the story forwards in places.

Making the main characters older also helps to anchor the story to our present day. Willa is old enough to have lived now. The book is set 40 or so years later, but on occasion she discusses the past and gives you an indication how things slipped into a more dystopian state. Although the concepts of Phlebotomist are outlandish on the surface, Panatier gives them a realistic and grounded feel by providing a shared history with our own.

The book is almost two different novels. The first half is a science fiction thriller as Willa is sucked deeper into a conspiracy. The second half provides far more action and for me is a little less effective for no other reason that I was enjoying the original pacing. During the novel there are events that completely change Willa’s view on the world. Stalwarts of genre fiction will have an educated guess what might happen, but Panatier is still able to provide the twists and turns with a sense of originality.

If nothing else the name Phlebotomist should hint to you that this is a bold outing and to begin with it starts off that way. The start is hard science fiction but told in a way that anyone can understand. It is a masterclass in world building. Once this world is formed Panatier changes gear and the book becomes more action science fiction. The two parts marry well, and most readers will enjoy both parts equally. I tend to enjoy action SF more than thinking SF, so it is testament to Panatier’s skill that I was a tiny bit disappointed when the brains left slightly for the brawn. This is obviously an author who can run with a good idea, I can’t wait to see what other worlds they will design.

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Even if I'm not a fan of dystopia I loved this book. It's highly entertaining, tightly plotted and gripping.
The world building is very interesting even if a bit terrifying, the characters are fleshed out and interesting.
I loved the storytelling and the character development.
The plot kept me hooked as it's fast paced, full of twists and turns.
I can't wait to read another book by this author, strongly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.

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I really enjoyed this, and am going to use all my self-restraint and not make a blood-related pun in this review (let's see if I manage it!). As well as keeping me utterly gripped, the phlebotomy aspects were well researched, and it was lovely to see older women characters take the lead. I should also point out that I spoiled "the twist" for myself before reading, but I'm honestly glad I did - it's part of what intrigued me to pick this up in the first place (an excellent decision). I basically had a very good time reading The Phlebotomist (despite it being very different from my usual tastes) - I couldn't wait to see what happened next, and would happily read a sequel.

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There is something about biological/blood themed books that draw me in. I love the speculative nature of books like this, and The Phlebotomist certainly captures the imagination. The premise is that, after a war, people start getting classified by blood type. As an O negative blood type, known as the universal donor, it was fun to imagine being so revered!

Of course this set up leads to a lot of conflict and tantalizing situations for Willa. This book is a captivating read that had me turning pages quickly. I was excited to discover the secrets at the core of this book. I recommend for people who enjoy speculative fiction, mysteries, sci-fi, and thrillers. A wild ride!

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The Phlebotomist was so much more than I thought it would be!

Set in the future the story follows a lady called Willa who is phlebotomist. In very basic terms she is a blood specialist. Willa works for Patriot , a government blood contractor with more than one secret to hide. Willa's job is to collect bags of blood from each person in the surrounding district, a process they call the harvest .

The harvest was started so that blood could be sent to the " Grey Zones" to be given to those affected by radiation after a cataclysmic war. Every adult person was required to donate one pint of blood every 45 days. Failure to do so meant that you wouldn't receive your government issued food rations and would starve. If you want to donate more than the required pint of blood Patriot will buy your blood from you depending on your blood type.

In a world where you were defined by your blood type alone tensions are running high . Those categorized as low bloods will do anything they can to feed their families even if that means letting their veins run dry.

One day Willa makes a startling discovery and her journey to find answers leads her to an underground group of people with a thirst for fighting the system . But at what cost??

This book had everything from drones, futuristic technology , hackers and one of my favourite monsters !! It was gripping throughout with perfectly timed plot twists and reveals . It reminded me of the factions in the Divergent series which I loved and I did enjoy the sneaky nod to the current pandemic we are dealing with .

Many thanks to Netgalley and Angry Robot for my copy of this book in return for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own and are in no way influenced by the nature in which I received this book .

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A dystopia science fiction with something unique to keep the reader engaged. Rich characters with a great and intelligent female lead. A plot with evil corporations and government secrets centered around some science that took me back to secondary school

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