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Affliction, by Laurell K Hamilton

review published on September 10, 2013. Reviewed by Jennie Blake

Nudge Reviewer Rating:

I turned automatically, giving myself room to draw my gun if I needed to; I hadn’t done it for the doctor, but the last few minutes had made me tense, and I gave in to that tension. Logically I knew that nothing would get through Nicky and Dev at the door, or the cops outside, that I needed to shoot, but sometimes it’s not about logic; it’s about habit.

Anita Blake’s adventures, first chronicled in 1993, have gradually evolved from her more detective-fiction oriented beginning to battles against the most dangerous of the other. Along the way, Anita herself has changed, become both tougher and softer, more dangerous and less likely to strike out on her own, the Executioner incarnate and the beloved of her lovers. She is reacting from habit, from years of experience, from a life steeped in death. Affliction, then, is as much about Anita’s own journey, where she was, is, and might be, as it is about the flesh-eating zombies that have attacked Micah’s family.

Of course, there are still flesh eating zombies, vampires, various were-animals, and Edward and Anita–human, but as dangerous as the rest. This time, Anita is fighting an enemy that seems outside her experience, whose endgame seems murky, with only the guarantee that it will be catastrophic for those she loves. People are disappearing, are turning up other-than-the-dead-they-should-be, are attacking and terrorizing a countryside already antagonistic to anything more than human.

Anita soon finds herself dragging those closest to her into yet more danger, and, finally, admitting that what she does is not necessarily best done alone, that the support of those she loves makes her stronger, that as her powers grow, so does her need of the help of those around her. Anita grows stronger in every novel, but she is no superhero, and she struggles with the emotions and past she carries with her no matter what supernatural skills she acquires.

Anita’s plethora of bodyguards, lovers, and beloveds are a major part of this novel, and it is satisfying to see her relationships continually moving forward–Hamilton doesn’t cut Anita any slack, she needs to be as worthy of the love of her chosen family as they do of hers. Of course, it does help that all of them are also extremely, extremely lethal in one way or another. Because Affliction doesn’t disappoint there either, and Hamilton’s rapid fire style makes the action scenes nearly breathless to read, let alone imagine participating in.

Vampires have been big for a long while, now, but Anita Blake was around long before the craze, and she’ll be around for long after, she’s not only a vampire hunter, necromancer, beloved or detective, but a character that constantly grows and changes as she moves through the adventure that is her life–luckily for her fans, Hamilton keeps letting us know what happens next.

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The Moment of Panic, by Steve Duffy

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Stoker’s Manuscript, by Royce Prouty

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