Susan's rating: 4 of 5 stars
Review of Affliction by Susan Harris for Bex 'n' Books
3.5 - 4 stars
Affliction by Andrew Irvine is a unique and well written take on a genre that can get over run with similar storylines and alpha males. The uniqueness of the story comes from the fact that through a sti, people can become afflicted with psychic abilities and the stigma around being afflicted, whether you have been cured or not, is a fresh take on bigots and those who fear what they do not understand. I would have liked to have seen a lot more of this involved in the story instead of the serial killer aspect that was introduced but then that's just me. I really wanted to delve deeper into that aspect of the book as while I thought the story was good, the FBI chasing serial killers has been done to death and I needed more on the afflicted.
I did feel that the author could have made more of the back story of one of my fave characters in the book, Sydney 'Parker' Sommers. I would quite happily read a full-length novel based on Parker's undercover time in the Psi ring where she risked it all for the women she loved and that lead to her becoming a social pariah with her fellow police officers and moulded her into the character she was in this book. For me, I would honestly pester the author to write that prequel just so I could find out exactly what went down. (Hint, Hint!)
There is a depth to the characters even the minor ones that leave you wanting to know more. From the way the author portrays them, most of the characters could have their own back story, even Michael's mother, who was one of serial rapist and killer Alaister Jones victims. For the short space of time we see or hear from her, the women gives off an aura of resilience that is admirable.
I will admit that I saw one or two things coming but that is no criticism on the author. My own knowledge of psychology and interest in all things where serial killers and the likes are involved, makes my mind pick out the subtle hints and underlying directions the storyline is heading.
While Affliction does have an alpha male in one of the main character Michael, there is a depth and strength of character that does not leave you think 'Oh great another male werewolf who all the girls fancy.' However, and yes this is a spoiler so turn away now if you don't want to know, I did feel slightly irked that Michael went so quickly to the dark side and becoming just like his father. I wanted him to snap out of it and if he had to feast on flesh to survive then why not lunge and take a chunk out of murdering, psychopathic dad? Although he did make amends in the end but I kinda lost a tiny bit of respect for him that he gave in so easily. I mean this werewolf took a bullet for some unknown girl but could turn monster in the blink of an eye? But again that's just my impression and I have been known to be wrong. Many times.
All in all, Affliction held all the promise of being one of those books that you remembered and recommended to people when they asked you for something different to read. I would still recommend it but can only share my little pang of disappointment that the book did not centre more on the Afflicted storyline and keep the serial killer aspect until we got to see more of that scene. But Affliction was still a unique and enjoyable read and I would totally recommend it of you like a little wolf with your FBI agent and if you throw in a little psychic cop with a troubled past for your trouble, Affliction is just the right cocktail for you.
by Andrew Irvine4.12 of 5 star