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I'm a hopeful cynic.


Afflicted - Brandon Shire Well, this book was a letdown. And I feel I have to clarify that the lyrical prose had nothing to do with it. If anything, it was one of the interesting aspects of the story. Also, if it makes any difference, I should also mention that the book isn't brimming with flowery similes, metaphors, analogies and collocations. There are several of them, yes, and some of them sound really strange and uncommon, but I'd say it's sprinkled, not packed with them and they're mostly found in the first 40% of the book. I guess what I want to say is, if you're avoiding this because of the language, maybe you should reconsider.My biggest issue with Affliction was that it felt extremely unbalanced. The first half of the book was way too polished, while the second half was all over the place. The only thing I wondered about in the first half of the book was how did Dillon know Hunter was gay. How did he know Hunter would accept his proposition. Did he feel he would be safe (if he was wrong, I mean) because Hunter was blind? Also, in the first half, the narrative felt paced, solid. The story felt like it had potential, despite having a somewhat cliché air about it. I liked the connotations of Hunter's name, I said in a comment somewhere that I felt Hunter wore his disability like an offensive weapon, not a defensive shield. His blindness carried a silent power with it. And I couldn't wait to see where the handicapped man/male escort storyline would go, who was really the afflicted one. Hunter or Dillon? Or both—maybe neither—of them?To my disappointment, the story never took off. After Hunter and Dillon hooked up for the second time, it turned into a sappy, unoriginal romance, where Dillon quits his job as an escort because he feels he has found "the one," where Hunter dismisses the warnings of his "bestie," Margie, the stereotypical fag hag who delivers the standard line "hurt him and I'll cut your balls off" to Dillon, where any character/plot development that had started or was setup in the first half either went nowhere or stopped altogether (for instance, why include the Down syndrome boy subplot if you don't intend to do anything with it?), where the technical aspects of the writing became more and more frustrating (e.g., this book suffers from a serious case of the head-hopping), where what the author probably considered a smart plot twist fell flat and served only to feed the drama.I won't comment on how Hunter and Dillon very intentionally avoided using protection when they had sex. Others have done it numerous times before me. I did notice it and wonder about it though.The ending was very abrupt and it felt like the author wanted to get done with the story already. The misunderstanding was resolved, they had another round of passionate sex so the book should end, right?Well, no. And if Mr Shire intended all along to split his story into two books he should warn the reader somehow. Maybe it would have worked a little better for me if I had known.