Book Review - Blood Bank by @ZoeMarkham

Book Review and Playlist

Blood Bank
Author Zoe Markham

Genre: YA Fantasy/Horror
Release Date: July 2017

Summary from Goodreads:

Benjamin is a programmer moonlighting as a security guard at Dystopia, a seedy club that caters to the down-and-outs, the desperate, the addicts. He's been building his reputation, saving for a way out - but when he rescues a young woman from the nearby estate, he may just have stepped too far out of line...

Lucy is ordinary; a girl with a deadbeat boyfriend, a normal life and college studies. But when her world takes an odd twist, she starts to wonder about the people she's meeting, the situations she's in, the odd aversions and attacks happening around her. They're just coincidences...aren't they?

And Zack is in deep trouble. He's losing his girlfriend, drowning in debt, and has dwindling job prospects - and that's not the worst of it. His debt is to people who won't ever forget it, and who want the things closest to Zack's heart: his blood - and his life. In the heart of Swindon, an ancient order hides in plain sight, spreading their influence through the streets like a disease. But despite their widespread power they are catching up with the modern world: the vampires are going online, and the Order is about to become more powerful than even they would have dreamed...



I'll start by saying this in not one of those vampire's are not scary, but cuddly and sweet creatures, books. Zoe Markham's vampires are frightening, except for one, and I'd bet he could be pretty scary if he wanted to be. Having said that, there is some violence, and blood, but it's balanced, and not overwhelming. There is only one scene with inferences to sex, so that shouldn't be an issue for anyone who prefers to avoid that.

The story starts off a little on the slow side, although the author manages tension early on, and once the pacing picks up, the momentum is consistent, but it doesn't really go far. At times I felt like it was a little on the info dumpy side, some things important, and others, not so much.

The characters are interesting, but one is only seen once or twice throughout the story, then has a major part to play near the end.

Our heroine, Lucy, is a college student who has been with the same boyfriend for years When he starts acting strange, all she can see is another girl in the equation. I think this is true for most ladies when their boyfriends act strange. I like the realistic edge there.

Our main male character, Zach, is dealing with a situation that leaves no way out, but as he grows, he becomes convinced there has to be. Again, this is the way many of us face overwhelming issues in our own lives. He's made mistakes, but wants to rectify them.

I never found a redeeming quality in the antagonists.

Over all, Blood Bank is a good read. The writer's voice is fluid so it's an easy to follow, but the story ends on a cliff hangar, so I didn't really feel like it had a satisfying end. Still, my interest is piqued, and I'm looking forward to book 2.

From Zoe Markham

Vamps & choons – a Blood Bank Playlist! 

Unlike most authors I know, I never listen to music while I write. Its not that I dont love music, I do! Its just that I cant listen and type at the same time for love nor money. My mind cant process the two activities simultaneously. In fact, a lot of the time when I write, particularly in the summer when everyones outside and all the windows are open, I tend to write wearing earplugs. Its my weird way of completely immersing myself in my made-up world.

Although I dont listen while Im actually writing, a lot of my ideas for characters come when Im out walking, usually backwards and forwards to the supermarket or traipsing out the school run. I pretty much always have my headphones in, so theres still a relationship there, even if its maybe not quite so obvious as actually belting out tunes while I write.

In Blood Banks case, music features quite prominently in the novel itself. Theres Bens 90s Indie fixation alongside the Grime soundtrack to life on the estate and in the club. Both genres of music that I enjoy, and that have the ability to make me feel like two different people when I listen to them.

There are always songs in my head for each of my characters, whether the songs themselves inspire them, or a new song on the radio makes me think of them. Id love to know what you think of my choices, and whether you hear anything different when you read the book!

Blood Bank Playlist 

(There are a couple of tracks featuring explicit lyrics. As with the book itself, this isnt one for younger readers/ears.)

1.Fools Gold -

This is what I imagine Ben listening to as he walks through the estate and tries to block out all the sounds around him. A character out of his time, his taste in music just one more thing that alienates him.

2.Bassline Junkie (Explicit) -

This tracks the one I think of when I see the estate, and most of the people around Ben. Energy, anger and passion. An easy-going humour on the surface, with a dangerous aggression sitting just beneath.

3.Shut up (Explicit) –

As above. Pure Penrill. Theres an almost tribal fury in this one. A sharp, showboating warning.

4.Take Me To Church -

Every time I hear this playing I imagine Zach driving to church, thoughts churning over and over in his head, desperate to see a way out for himself.

5.Human -

Pure Zach.  

6.No Good -

I always imagine Lucy playing this one, so angry at Zach before she has any idea what hes going through.

7.Dont Look Back In Anger -

Bens anthem. I think he tries so hard not to, but he wrestles with the still-human part of himself so hard...

8.Master of Puppets -

This ones all Viktor. Im not sure hed like the style, but I do think hed appreciate the sentiment

Feel free to contact me on Twitter if you have any other suggestions, and Ill happily create a definitive playlist and make it public! 

About the Author

Mild-mannered editor by day, puppet-master of broken souls by night.


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