Although I didn't read numbers 20, 20.5 and 21 of the series, I didn't miss a thing. This book is so repetitive, it could have been 150, or more, pages shorter and not a thing would have been lost. Actually, I read to page 506, Chapter 69, said, "the hell with it," and skimmed the rest of the book without skipping a beat. It's gotten to the point where this series needs to end - NOW: S.O.S., different book.
There are a few things about AFFLICTION that baffled me (spoilerish):
1. Why did Jean-Claude even bother to show up? He made what - ONE - appearance? Maybe it was the needed sex scene.
2. Why was the entire entourage from St. Louis needed? If the reader isn't familiar with the past series...Too many unfamiliar characters are a waste of space. They sure didn't pile on for any orgy!
3. The continual references to polyamory and open marriages will surely turn some readers in other directions.
The high point of this book - one word: Edward.
Stick a fork in me, I'm done with Anita and her long list of sidekicks.
2.5 STARS, but I'm rounding up because there was an actual plot buried under the nonsense.
The first 1/4 of the book was pretty interesting if you ignore all the descriptions referencing hair style, eye color, height, build, musculature, masculinity, femininity, etc. I know some of those could be the same thing, could they not? Apparently, not enough for Hamilton because they are used redundantly! Nonetheless, ignoring all that there was indeed a STORY! STORY? Yes, it was there. I didn't expect it to be there, but alas it was. I admit it was buried and tricky to remember at times. Still, that was an important improvement over the last Anita Blake novel.
Perhaps, it was at the 1/2 way point...shortly after search for the missing hikers that the plot devolves into sex. Kinky sex and some readers will be horrified. I just felt like screaming at Anita and her men to "Move it the fu*k along! There are Zombies, Flesh-eaters, Vampires, Terrified Town Residents, Antsy Police Officers...REMEMBER? For the love of dsflkjdflkodjf can we keep the sex from overshadowing all else? I don't care what or who you do, just make it FASTER! Less pages of it would help too, thank you!"
And, the final 1/4 or whatever of the ginormous book the pages part, the sun seems to shine down and the plot once again emerges from the dank sweaty sex soaked pages (or perhaps I'm feeling overly dramatic), but the reading was once again freaking enjoyable. Things burns, everyone fights, some cry, others die, Anita Raises the DEAD, and evil is once again extinguished. It was bloody & lovely (keep in my I am a horror reader).
My final verdict: Enjoyable; IF you skim over the redundancy and the sex doesn't want to make hurl, LOL! :)
I have read this entire series. I loved many of the books. This is not one of those. Every day conversation between Anita and Jean-Claude is an awkward, lame attempt to catch readers who may not be series-junkies like me up on more than 20-some-odd-books-worth of details. Half the time I don't even think the details revealed in this tedious manner were even all that necessary to move the current plot forward. This is not the wrst of the series by any means, but it is far from the best. I will read the next one, regardless, because I like the characters. I hope for better writing and more elegant handling of long term plot lines.