A Rose by any Other Name: A review of Affliction by Laurell K Hamilton, Anita Blake Vampire Hunter #22

afflictionUnfortunately, I think that we have all gotten that call. We are at work, doing what we have to do, and if we’re lucky, what we love to do to pay the bills, to eat for the next few days. Everything is business as usual. And then the phone rings. It doesn’t matter who it is, just that the news is awful. For me, it was my father-in-law, and thank heaven, I was home. But John, he was working. And his father was gone.

Anita is spending a rare (at least from what we see) day at Animator’s Inc. when her call comes in. At first, she has no idea who it is that is calling. The names given don’t match up with anyone that she is seeing, so she chalks it up to a wrong number, until in the blink of an eye, it clicks. She knows whose family is calling, she knows who will be hurting and need her as a hole is ripped in his heart, because his father is dying of an incurable wasting disease.

The St Louis crew pull together to get done what must be done in order for this person to go home and see his father one last time. On the ground, Anita does her best to just be the girlfriend, the moral support, what her lover needs her to be.  When he tells her to do what she does best, Anita sticks her nose into the local investigation. The disease is a rotting disease, called the Zombie Disease, because it rots its victims, and Anita is best zombie expert in the country. When even she doesn’t know what is going on and all of the bad guys seem content to break the rules, you know it’s gonna be bad and bloody.

We see a new side of familiar characters here. Edward hints more at his past (Yay for another book with Edward!) which we know next to nothing about, and Anita gains a new animal in her panwere state. We see Micah, Nathaniel, Asher, and even Jean Claude in new roles, taking new actions. While this is a familiar feel for all returning AB fans, it is new enough to stay fresh. That is something that I can always complement Ms Hamilton on .

I’m fairly for certain that she must upload some baking soda into her hard drive, because her stories are always fresh, there is always something new to learn.  I loved this story, not for all of the blood-and-guts action that often accompanies an Anita adventure, but for the tenderness, and the love she shows to each of her men.  This also brings to mind the recent LGBTQ victories, and alternate lifestyles. Something I take away from each of Ms. Hamilton’s books is that just because your type of love is rare, doesn’t mean it isn’t love. Gay love is love. Lesbian love, is love. Polygamous love, is love. Polyamorous love is still love. Who is to say that it is wrong if it works for someone else. No one should have the right to tell anyone how to live their lives, or that how they are living is wrong as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else. Bravo, Laurell, for standing up for alternate pictures of Love.

Here Anita makes me think of the early days of the AIDS epidemic. An otherwise healthy, middle-aged gay man is wasting away while his family watches and can do nothing. I probably see it that way because of having just finished And the Band Played On by Randy Shilts, but think of it this way.  If you knew your loved one had been with someone like Gaetan Dugas and that person was still out there spreading the sickness while your loved one lay dying, many of us would want to catch that person and have him/her up on neglegent homicide charges at least. But here, in this world, it isn’t AIDS, they need to worry about, but a similarly contagious case of zombie-rot that spreads throughout one’s organs. And it is controlled by a master vampire so old that he is also a rotting vampire. But his rot doesn’t stink.  That is seriously old. But reports said that Amour Morte died in Atlanta. It’s happened before. It happened again. The report was wrong.

This is a beautiful story of racing against time, and doing what Anita does best to help one of her lovers.  There are some bombs dropped, and that’s all I’m saying, but Death and the Executioner (known in Law Enforcement circles as Death and War) have their work cut out for them if they are going to save the day. If they can save they day. If they can make it out of all of this alive.




About Navah Vesper Anat Yehudit

I am an avid fan of the Ballet, am expanding my tastes in Opera and all all Classical Arts. I enjoy Japanese art, needle craft, crochet, knitting, and though my past-times are old-fashioned, and some of my ideas are, that isn't necessarily a bad thing in this age of progress for the sake of progress.
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