Title: The Phlebotomist
Author: Chris Panatier
War brought the Harvest.
Willa Mae Wallace is a reaper.
A bit about the author
Chris is a writer, artist, and attorney, who “represents people who have been injured, poisoned, or killed due to the conduct of others.”–from the author’s website
His artwork, including the cover of his debut novel, The Phlebotomist, is fabulous. (And this debut novel is pretty darn good, too!)
What a great tagline: War brought the Harvest. Willa Mae is a reaper. Ominous sounding. Since this book has a lot about blood types, I’ll start by characterizing my overall impression of the novel in those terms:
Characters – A+
Worldbuilding – A
Plot – A
Pacing – B (but the last 25% of the book gets an A)
A memorable line (or two)
“Chrysalis… had changed the world so drastically and all at once, that what came after – a new way of living in the name of national defense – was expected, embraced even. Changes came, always in the name of the Greater Good. Changes in everyday life, like the subtle expansion of surveillance and police powers. Like the restriction of rights, after few questioned it and even fewer opposed.”
“…tragedy begat patriotism, patriotism begat opportunism, opportunism begat poverty.”
My verdict: ***4.5 stars***
In Chris Panatier’s dystopian Earth world in a not-too-distant future, people must give blood. Universal donors, the o-negs of the world, are the ‘upper class.’ Yes, in this world, people aren’t separated by social class, but by blood-types. What a cool, imaginative concept! The mandatory ‘giving’ of blood, aka The Harvest, supports folk who suffered heavily during the last war. Well, at least that’s what the ‘government’ says…
The ‘government’ appears to actually be a corporation – Patriot.
Main character Willa discovers some anomalies in the course of her work as a phlebotomist. Panatier has done a great job giving us backstory for Willa, and the world-building, from descriptions of everyday life to technology, immerse the reader in the story. It is refreshing to see an older woman as the main character. Willa, a grandmother raising her only grandson, does some butt-kicking alongside the Locksmith, another older female who has been working underground against Patriot.
This novel includes horror elements, with a twist I wasn’t expecting. I do love a good let’s-bring-down-the-evil-guys tale. I don’t like blood (including donating it, for that matter), but I must say the cocktail party scene is superb. Highly recommended.