Friday, 29 May 2020

BLOG TOUR INCLUDING MY REVIEW - BLOOD NUMBERS BY C. F. KRIETZER


Title: Blood Numbers
Author: C. F. Kreitzer
Genre: YA, Dystopian
Release Date: 5th May 2020

BLURB supplied by Silver Dagger Book Tours
There are only two kinds of people left on the earth: Donors and Recipients.

Sixteen-year-old Aston Vazeto hates the idea of selling her blood for money and is determined to be the first Donor in New World history to never donate.


But after a suspicious accident at her father's power plant leaves her family diving deeper into poverty, Aston has no other choice except to enter the annual blood auctions, where Recipients bid on the richest blood. With the highest test results ever seen, Aston’s blood becomes the most sought-after in history, and will likely bring a large price at auctions.


When her friends are caught tampering with their donations, they are arrested and tortured. Knowing she puts her family's safety and income at risk Aston takes advantage of an opportunity to escape donation facility drugs meant to keep Donors complacent. Free to feel and free to love she is caught between Gannet, a kind facility technician, and Marcus, a sarcastic rebel like herself. Dancing at Blood Auction Balls and kissing a donor in coat closets under the stairs has Aston confused between joining the uprising she hears rumors about or merely following the life her blood was meant to lead.


PURCHASE LINKS
Amazon UK

REVIEW
I think the cover of this book, though simplistic is still eye catching. The large droplet of blood appearing very bold within the background of grey. As in this society everything about you, your life and your future depend on your blood.  It fits the book perfectly. With a title like Blood Number I suppose you would naturally assume that this is a vampire book, but it isn’t, though blood still is a type of “currency”.  The cover did attract my attention and then the blurb certainly made me want to read the book.

Basically, as with most dystopian books there are the “haves” and the “have nots” ironically, rather like the society we live in at the moment. In blood numbers, those that have the power and the money are called the Recipients. The recipients are the richer people in the New World, but they are all ill due to the germ wars that happened years ago. To stay alive and in good health they need blood. That where the “have nots” or as they are called in the book, the donors, come in, the “have nots” are poor and though they do have everyday jobs too the way they earn their money to exist is by donating their blood as a facility that then sells it on to the recipients. Donors have their blood tested when they are 16 years old. Their blood is tested and given a number. The higher the number, the better quality and better healing qualities are in the blood. Once tested, donors are expected to give blood a few times a week. They are paid for this donating and are given their own “blood bank account” but initially due to donors young ages their parents control the account. The donors have about three months to donate blood that recipients can try and see if it is suitable for them and has the properties in it that they need. After three months there is the Auction, where the Recipients bid for their donor. Donors are given lawyers to draw up contracts of what they would like in return, such as how much money, how many days they wish to donate per week, any “holiday days” they want off and so on. Having said that they can ask for these things but they are not guaranteed. At the end of the day the Recipients have the final say as they are paying for this precious blood, and they are the “ruling class” in this strange New World.

The world building is done amazingly well, and is so detailed. There are so many things to learn about both halves of society. You soon learn that both the Recipients and the Donors have their negatives, but of course those with the better lives are the Recipients. The Recipients live apart from the Donors, in new, well built, buildings, with plenty of money, food. Donors live in the poorer areas with broken, falling down buildings, scraping by for food, some growing it in their gardens. Anything they own or have earnt can be taken from them at any time by the Recipients if the Donors are deemed to have done anything wrong. As I was reading Blood Donor my mind was racing with so many questions, such as, Could Gannet provide a way out or a different future for Aston? Could there be some sort of undercover group/agency working against the system. Who is Marcus? What is his donor blood number? In fact, is he a donor at all? Why does his appearance seem to vary so much?

The central character in the book is Aston Vazeto who has been educated on the whole germ wars and the recipients, donor relationship by her father. Aston has decided that though she cannot refuse the testing, she will refuse to donate her blood and live in the family shed painting and selling those paintings for enough money to survive on. Aston’s best friend Lazuli also has the same sort of attitude but as she becomes 16 before Aston, her time to donate comes earlier and Aston notices a difference in her friend. Lazuli seems to be happy all the time and a completely different person, not criticising the system anymore. Aston soon realises when she notices Lazuli’s mam, Mrs Price is making large purchases for their house, leading her to believe Lazuli is already donating at the facility. Aston is caught off guard one day when she is alone, a technician comes to her door saying he is going to test her blood. When Aston questions him, as she is not yet 16 years old, he brushes off her concerns saying he was in the area so decided to do her test too. Aston truly intends to tell her dad about her test but the time never seems right, there is always someone else there or her mam, who is all for the donating of blood and looking forward to spending the money Aston’s blood will bring. Unfortunately, the news about her blood test is discovered by her mother and all the plans that Aston made about not donating are pushed aside and she has to visit the facility like a good Donor citizen.
It is whilst at the facility that Aston meets the mysterious lab technician, Gannet. Strangely every time Aston goes to donate, it is Gannet that deals with her. At first Aston think it is normal, but then she finds out from a brief conversation with Lazuli that it is extremely rare to see the same technician more than once. In fact, it is later revealed in the story that it is, in fact, kind of frowned upon. Aston begins to wonder why her blood is so special, she knows she has a high number, but surely there are other high numbered donors too. Aston is also confused at the way the “happy juice” is conveniently left in a cup for her to take when she is briefly left alone, meaning she can quite easily dispose of it. Aston remains herself but is careful not to make herself stand out any more than her high blood number already does. Aston becomes closer and closer to Gannet, in fact she goes on a “date” with him, yet when he hints he has something important to say to her she immediately shuts him down. Aston thinks he wishes to become her husband as she has such a high number and though she finds Gannet attractive and the fact he is a lab technician means he may have a decent blood number making him a suitable match she is not ready to commit to anyone. Aston’s mam is determined to match make and tries to push many different male donors whom she thinks are a “good match” onto Aston, but Aston manages to get rid of each and every one of them. Some of the match making is quite amusing really.
I think one of the reasons that Aston doesn’t want to commit to Gannet is the increasingly mystifying Marcus who seems to turn up when least expected and quite literally bumping into him continually. From observation and the little morsel of information Marcus reveals, Aston thinks that Marcus is a low numbered donor who has been over donating to make ends meet. As time goes on his health and appearance seem to improve and Aston becomes more and more attached to him.

Character’s I loved were Aston, her father Patar, the rather unique and elusive Grandma Bolgi and Gannet. I loved the attention to detail with the relationship between Aston and her Grandma Bolgi who calls Aston her “Little Ash Tree”. Aston also has a great relationship with her father Patar. Aston attributes this to when she was the youngest, she would do boyish things with her father, but then when son, Torrin came along she still remained close to her father. Patar understands her fascination with painting, and he has taught her the history of the germ wars and is also against the whole Donor blood, and Recipient/Donor relationship.
I really liked Gannet, his caring attitude towards Aston, the way he leaves the donating cubicle, giving Aston the choice of taking the “happy juice” or not. There are times in the book that I really wanted to shake him and shout for him to tell Aston what she needs to know! Another character I became annoyed with was Lazuli, who once firm friends with Aston becomes very bitter over the blood number tampering scandal, yet at the same time accepts the food Aston hides outside for her. I think Lazuli takes the turn it does because of her mam’s greed for the money a high blood number daughter can bring into the home. Having said that, Aston’s mam Evelyn also seems to put the money Aston’s blood can bring, before the physical and mental health of her daughter.

I could seriously go on and on about this book, its great mysterious characters, some devious, some destined to be used up and spit out by the blood donating program. The world and society building is excellent and so detailed and intricate, I felt thoroughly immersed in it and honestly did not want this book to ever end. I have revealed the basics of the society in this review but there is so much more to the book. As with most dystopian societies where there are haves and have nots, there is also a rebellion, which turns out to be much closer to Aston than she would ever have thought. There are so many expectations on Aston, her mam expects her to bring an excellent price at the auction and in fact, Aston is a prized donor. Though as with life there are ups and downs and those that are placed on very high pedestals have even further to fall. With blood numbers being tampered with, rebellions infiltrating Ambassadors Balls and creating havoc, then the truth about one of the males that Aston has come close to not being who he portrayed himself as Aston has much further to fall than most. Can any one save her?

I admit to begin with I struggled a little getting into the book and story, but once the basis of the society and its workings were revealed I easily became engrossed. I found the society fascinating and there were clues as to who certain characters are throughout the book and I have to be honest I had guessed the true identity of one, and the connection to the rebellion of another character. The clues are there if you really read and think about where the book may be going. The true identity revelation changes Aston’s life in a large, most likely irreversible way. The latter chapters of the book see Aston in serious trouble first imprisoned in a dirty awful prison, making it seem like she could die. Then suddenly she is rescued, yet she is still imprisoned. What a point to end the book! Aston’s future health, safety and life is all left undecided really, which makes for cliff hanger which makes you desperate to read more as soon as you can!!

My immediate thoughts upon finishing this book were, what a 'different' read it had been, it's all about the Donor's blood and how much it will bring at the auction. This book has an amazingly different but really well thought out society. The 'haves' = Recipients, rich but ill health. The 'have nots' = Donor, poor in everything but with the power within their blood to help the recipients.
This book definitely made me want to read more about this society and the people within it.

Finally, to sum up, from initially thinking perhaps this book was a tad slow for my taste, to then becoming totally immersed in it. This book has that “feel” to it that exists between the different classes of society that are also featured with The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Attwood, The Lone City by Amy Ewing, The Perfected Series by Kate Jarvik Birch and The Belles Series by Dhonielle Clayton. I could mention so many book titles that it reminded me of, in the way I read and enjoyed them, not in its actual content. As I have said I found the intricate details of this world and society fascinating. I definitely want to read more! Maybe learn more about the resistance? Can Aston be rescued? Does Aston need rescuing? Can the person holding her where she is be persuaded to work for/with the resistance? What about those close to Aston that are part of resistance, why did they not include her within the group? Why did they not rescue her, hide her or help her when things went wrong? What is so special about Aston’s blood? Why were so many new donors in Livonia suddenly dying? This book left me with so many questions to be answered.

Just one last thing. . . . when can I read more??



BOOK TRAILER


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I grew up with a pretty normal childhood, running barefoot in the Appalachian mountains, playing with turtles and innocently killing them by leaving them on their backs so I could play house with them again the next day. I don't think  I always dreamed of being an author. It was just something I did. I made up stories about my dead turtles. I named my fingers and let them battle out family feuds. I wrote about myself in my journal when what I wished would happen was better than what actually did (sorry, Mom for the scare. I still promise I never really snuck over to a party and kissed my brothers friend). What a wonderful surprise when something "I just did" suddenly became something others enjoyed. I'm so forever grateful to my publisher for giving me a chance to share my not-so-normal stories with the whole world.

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1 comment:

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