Book Rating: ★★★★☆ (3.75 / 5 stars)
Enter a not so distant future: a new infection is sweeping the nation, effectively turning the individuals into vampires. When Infinity DeStard gets infected after working for a taskforce set out to destroy these “vipes”, her entire focus changes. She becomes fixated on teaming up with Morgan Lorenz to give vipes the same rights as humans. But, with Benjamin Rush Health Initiative on her case, she has to choose between abiding by the law, or surviving while the court cases come together.
Civil Blood is a unique take on the vampire mythos, focusing on a more scientific aspect (that seems even more valid today in our Covid-19 world). What defines a human? Or DNA or something more? And in a world where vampirism comes form a genetic-altering disease, are those infected even human anymore?
Rather than being placed in the arms of solely the “hunter” or the “vampire”, we see both sides of the argument. We see Infinity as she fights for survival, Roland as he tries to decide his place, Lorenz as he attempts to hold onto his humanity, and Kern as he tries to obliterate the virus. There is no true “hero” in this story; only different people trying to survive.
Hepler is clearly a talented writer with a knack for both science and legalese. We enter a world with this not too different from our own, and in fact it wouldn’t be hard to imagine a virus like this emerging in our world today. But, while his writing is wonderful, it’s the scientific aspects that held the book up. It starts slow, throwing a bunch of new terms at the reader, bogging us down with science before we even get to really know our main characters. I’d say I didn’t feel comfortable with all the terminology until about 30% into the book. In addition, for a book being advertised as a “legal case”, the actual courtroom and legal filings only took place in the middle of the book, focusing more on the well-written and entertaining action scenes. While I have complaint about that, I was expecting a bit more focus on the legal side (which for me personally was a bit of let down).
Another small thing that bothered me was the way the story was written. Personally, I’m not the biggest fan of when a 1st Person POV is being used for every single character in the novel. While this can work with a small cast, Civil Blood consists of quite a few POV characters outside of Infinity and Roland. This got a bit confusing, especially with some of the less defined characters. But again, this was a very personal take on this.
Overall though, this concept is quite an original take on vampirism and the justice (or injustice) system, with a well thought out plot and scientific mind behind it. I’m curious to see where Chris Hepler will take us next, whether it’s back into this world of vampires, or somewhere else entirely. Definitely worth checking out!
What’s it about?
IT’S A GENERATION FROM NOW
AND JUSTICE MAY BE DEAD
In a future America still recognizable as our own, the outbreak of a vampire virus becomes front-page news. An infected trial lawyer named Morgan Lorenz sues the corporation that tried to conceal the existence of the virus, claiming medical negligence on a massive scale.
Facing potential bankruptcy, the Benjamin Rush Health Initiative files a unique motion. They say Lorenz cannot sue, because he’s no longer human. For him, and all vampires like him, the Constitution simply doesn’t apply.
Infinity DeStard and her “Forced Protection” team are assigned to kill Lorenz before the case reaches the Supreme Court. It’s hard to fake enthusiasm ever since her own infection, but she has no choice. If she breathes a word about her condition, her team will execute her.
In the face of injustice, how long can she lie to them… and herself