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Affliction by Laurell K. Hamilton (Anita Blake Series, Book 22) – Review
Affliction is the 22d installation in the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series by New York Times bestselling author Laurell K. Hamilton. Some people say this series has gone on too long and that the most recent books have been devoid of meaningful plot. I tend to agree with these critics, though I kept reading in the hope that Ms. Hamilton would find her way back to the story. Right now I am pleased by my stubborn insistence on finishing a series once I start it. Affliction is a throwback to the good ol’ days of the first 10 books. The novel starts with Anita getting an unfortunate phone call: Micah’s father is dying of a mysterious rotting disease. So Anita, Nathaniel, and Micah, accompanied by their wereanimal guards, fly to Colorado. On the ground they must face both the comedy of horrors that is Micah’s reintroduction to his family and a possible zombie apocalypse.
Just kidding – sort of. After the usual struggles with local police (some resent her for being a woman, some for being not totally human, some for her success, and some for having fantastic sex with multiple partners) and the arrival of our favorite flamethrower-toting psychopath, Edward, Anita begins to investigate mysterious zombie sightings in the area. These are not normal zombies, however, and anything that can make Anita and Edward this nervous must be bad news for everyone.
As I mentioned before, fans of the early Anita Blake books won’t be disappointed with this installation. Anita gets to raise some zombies and use grenades in the course of her duty as a U.S. Marshal and to protect the people she loves – who are many. And speaking of love and lovers, a complaint that I have had for a while revolves around the absence of Anita’s favorite vampire.
You all know who I mean. I do not think there has been enough Jean Claude recently. Though he is at the forefront of Anita’s mind throughout the book and puts in a brief appearance, he is still missing from a lot of the action. He usually gets a phone call when something goes wrong, but that is about it, and since his character was a huge influence early in the series, I can’t help but want to see more of him. I do understand that with so many characters warring for Anita’s attention, not everyone can be in every book, but I am eagerly awaiting a novel where Jean Claude is in the center of the action.
Another complication was the sheer number of people in this book. Between Micah’s family and all of the wereanimals and vampires that surround Anita, it gets a little confusing trying to remember who all of the secondary characters are. But the relationships and the dramatic action in this installment are more balanced, which leads to a more interesting read.
Overall, I think this book is a strong addition to the series, and it is definitely one of the better books the author has recently published.
If you liked this book, you might like: Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey, First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones, Something Secret this Way Comes by Sierra Dean.