Affliction by Laurell K. Hamilton

Affliction by Laurell K. Hamilton
Publisher: Penguin Group
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery, Horror
Length: Full Length (562 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, M/F/M, Ménage, Multiple Partners, Fetish, Toys
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Some zombies are raised. Others must be put down. Just ask Anita Blake.

Before now, she would have considered them merely off-putting, never dangerous. Before now, she had never heard of any of them causing human beings to perish in agony. But that’s all changed.

Micah’s estranged father lies dying, rotting away inside from some strange ailment that has his doctors whispering about “zombie disease.”

Anita makes her living off of zombies—but these aren’t the kind she knows so well. These creatures hunt in daylight, and are as fast and strong as vampires. If they bite you, you become just like them. And round and round it goes…

Where will it stop?
Even Anita Blake doesn’t know.

Affliction left me breathless and feeling like I’d read the adventure of a lifetime. This book had it all. If I was an adrenaline junky, this book had enough tense moments with volumes of flat out action that kept me on the edge of my seat that I felt I had received a serious fix. If I was a die-hard romantic, then this book made me feel like I’d found and lost amazing treasures – I was shocked, I was saddened and I was feeling the warm and fuzzies from some parts that were sappy and full of romance. If I was into some kinky sex, I would have found some serious satisfaction in the story too. This novel put them all together making it simply incredible and the absolute best writing that Laurell K. Hamilton has done in a long while. I’m simply blown away by the powerhouse that is Affliction.

Longtime fans of the Anita Blake series should be pleased with this book. It really does tap into the original grittiness and realism that originally captured my attention with the first Anita Blake novel I’d read years ago. Yes, there are some erotic moments in this story, even a new twist with Nicky that I’d never seen or heard of before, but it has a purpose here. It serves to explore and validate the strength of the declaration she makes in the book. It’s a bit extreme but seeing what kind of wereanimal Nicky was, it made perfect sense. It works. And it leaves no doubt as to the truth. I admit that it might squick some people out but I took it in the manner and context it was written in. These people aren’t human, and our rules and social mores don’t have weight. It makes that ‘otherness’ more real.

The villain was a huge surprise. He broke all the rules and threw Anita and the gang for a serious loop into the bizarre. The evil dude was bad to the bone and enjoyed every miserable moment he could inflict on everybody. I didn’t figure out that there was an actual agenda until the very end. Astounding! The conflict truly was like a roller coaster. There were sharp twists and turns, very low lows that made my stomach drop and highs that were a breath of fresh air, until the plot took that drastic plunge into more revelations, despair and sheer brutality that left me stunned. At one point, with one character, I had to walk away from the book. I was so upset. I felt nauseas because I was hyperventilating. I couldn’t believe what was happening and that Anita couldn’t save the day. I wanted her to save the day, needed her to, but the author knew what had to be done. The only reason I was affected so profoundly is a clear testament to Ms. Hamilton’s skill as a writer. In Affliction the writing is honed to such a sharp, thin edge; my feelings were cut and sliced, leaving my emotions flayed and frayed. It was master craftsmanship.

I was thrilled with seeing Jean-Claude away from home. I was sad for Micah because he was home. I got to see another side to Nathaniel I never suspected he had. I got to see how the Harlequin were integrating…or not. I learned something worrisome yet, when I thought about it, logical. When Anita found out she wasn’t too happy but then again, neither was I. Probably for the same reason. Men always think we need protecting and for most civilians, we do. But the heroine isn’t like me or other women I know – the guys forget that sometimes. Makes for interesting dialogue exchanges.

That’s another strong aspect – dialogue. Awesome to see Ed/Ted verbally sparring with Anita and showcasing just how unique their relationship is, and I enjoyed how the heroine deals with bigots and morons – especially when she plays them. One in particular deserved it. Name calling and verbal barbs are some of the things that made this tale seem real because it touched on how some guys, even professional and well trained, break down under stress. Believe me, there is a ton of stress for the police and SWAT in this story. I liked how the author showed the evolving of the working relationship between all the people who will eventually make a difference in the outcome.

This novel is filled to the brim with juicy information that I cannot mention. Of course that annoys me. This is the kind of book that I want to share, to discuss and ask if certain parts meant as much to someone else as it did to me. I want to share what I thought was funny, and there were moments that made me smile. A few had me laughing out loud, like the John Wayne references. It was so … personable and again, reinforced the feeling that these people could be real, somewhere. I just don’t want the zombies to be real. No. I hate zombies. Even though I don’t read books about zombies, the very unique and fascinating twist that Ms. Hamilton spins throughout Affliction made it utterly mesmerizing. The best zombie is a dead, dead zombie.

I rated this tale as a best book simply because it’s that awe-inspiring. A book has to take me to another place so completely, I lose track of time and myself. It has to make me want to shout at it -in a good way, because I can’t keep my emotions quietly inside; they have to burst forth, I have to share it with someone, anyone. It has to haunt me, making me sad that I’ve reached the end even though it was an emotionally exhausting journey to reach that final page. It’s the kind of book that made me stare at it and think, “This can’t be the end, there has to be more because so much has taken place and I can sense the ripple effects it’s left in my imagination”. One thing I can guarantee. This novel is going to hold a proud place on my keeper shelf. I’ve fallen in love with the series all over again. There’s no better kudos than that.


  1. Nancy G says:

    I have to agree with every word of this review…if there was a rating higher than best book, this would be deserving of it. I could not put Affliction down, and kept going back to favorite passages again and again. Wonderful and insightful review of a fantastic book from LKH…I can’t wait to see where she takes the characters next.

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