Affliction by Laurell K. Hamilton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was repetitive as hell. Not just within Affliction itself, but the series as a whole. How many times is Anita going to angst about the fact she kills so easily, bemoans Asher's pissiness, or go head to head with various law enforcement about her personal life? There were also moments when I felt like Hamilton herself was speaking rather than Anita and once or twice I was like, 'well, that's convenient.'
However, if someone had wielded an editing pen ruthlessly and cut the dead weight, this would've been a five star book for me. We learn more about Micah's past, there was an actual mystery to be solved, and there were less than four sex scenes. The overall series plot advanced a bit and the supporting characters were mostly great. What really sealed the deal for me was the introduction of Marshall Hatfield.
I want Hatfield to get a spin-off series. I want to leave Anita behind with all her drama and get back to the purity of the earlier books. Hatfield starts off as a typical Hamilton female supporting human character (Shifters are usually exempt from being positioned as antagonists, but female vampires will likely also be 'against' Anita), who has major problems with Anita and her lifestyle, and is generally a character you're willing to see die. But then, then, Hamilton does something I don't think she's ever done for a female supporting character before and actually redeems Hatfield. From Chapter 55 onwards, Hatfield is dedicated, determined to atone for her earlier behavior after a massive screw-up. I'm going to put a spoiler-ish quote. It's an exchange between Edward, Anita, and Hatfield, and this was the point that I decided Hatfield needed a book of her own.
"If there’s anyone, or anything, that can help me do my job better, I’m all for it. I got those people killed last night. I can’t bring them back, but I can get better and not do it again."
"You didn’t kill them, Hatfield," I said.
"Neither of you would have stored the body parts in the morgue of a hospital. If either of you had been in charge last night, all five victims from last night would be alive now. Tell me how my ignorance didn’t cost them their lives."
I didn’t know how to answer her.
"We all make mistakes until we know better," Edward said.
"Exactly, and I’m going to follow you both around like your fucking shadows and learn all I can before you leave."
I think it takes guts to admit when you make a mistake, especially one that colossal, and true strength to go to such extremes to learn from it. I was very disappointed when Hatfield went off-screen before the climax and I seriously hope Hamilton finds a way to bring her back. This series needs another positive female role besides Anita.
Oh, just as a FYI, there are cannibalistic zombies here, but most of the people-eating was suggested rather than on-screen and despite my squickiness in this area, I was okay with it. In addition, there's a sex scene where Nathaniel and Nicky use breath play on Anita. It's all consensual, but I had a bit of a hard time with the underlying violence of it, especially when Nicky says he loves seeing Anita's face 'change colors.' *shivers* Another hard line to add to my list.