Affliction by Laurell K. Hamilton

A long time “Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter” fan — I can’t not read each new novel Laurell K. Hamilton writes.  I did step away from the series for a while in the middle of Danse Macabre because, though I understand that the development of the ardeur (power fueled by sex)  story line required a lot of graphic scenes, I found the constant rounds of sex with no other plot boring.  I did,  eventually, catch back up.  I like the novels more now that Hamilton has focused back on the action.

In Affliction, Anita learns that Micah’s extranged father is dying.  Bitten by a zombie and suffering from a rotting contagion, he only has days to live.  Anita and her loves travel with Micah to say good bye and discover what new evil is brewing out west–threatening to rot the world.

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I enjoyed reading Affliction, but there are a few aspects of Hamilton’s style that take away from the story as a whole.  Primarily, how many times she gets into arguments about aspects of her personal life that have no bearing on her job with the law enforcement officers with which she is working.  .  Very often, the characteristics she attributes to the male law enforcement officers in the book are less than flattering.  Does no character around her have a mental filter? Seriously? As much as I realize some people may still have issues with women in authority and sexual freedom, Blake seems to encounter all the people too stupid to say nothing.

In general, I give Hamilton credit for her insight into her characters’ (both main and peripheral) psychological states.  However, Blake and her beaus are SO aware of their emotional issues and speak about them so much, that their discussions occasionally remind me of the dialogue in Dawson’s Creek–only with more angst.  Don’t get me wrong, I really do find the insights fascinating, but the constant talking occasionally bogs down the pacing of the plot.

The plot is what interests me most in Affliction.  I think Hamilton delivers a great zombie horror novel with an intriguing villain and a lot of action.  I appreciated that Anita had an unusual mystery on her hands–something that she didn’t know how to deal with immediately.  I think that the story progression was perfect; but I do wish that the ending had been fleshed out a bit more.  I loved the interplay between Micah’s family and Anita and her men.  The anxiety they felt before being introduced and their nervousness while meeting the in laws was endearing– and so easy to relate to!

Overall, I liked this novel. The plot was interesting, the actions horrifying and the interactions between the characters what emotionally compelling.  With a little less chest thumping between characters and more of Hamilton’s beautiful way of turning a descriptive phrase, this book would have been great.

 

If you like this series, you will also like:

Keri Arthur’s Full Moon Rising

Jenna Black’s The Devil Due

 

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