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 ravaged 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 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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