Saturday, 8 December 2012

Afflicted II (Afflicted #2), Brandon Shire

Afflicted II

A beautifully written sequel to Afflicted.  
This review has slight spoilers.

- Review by Cindi

Brandon Shire's writing is beautiful. There is no other way to describe it.  I remember reading the reviews of the first book of this series and words like beautiful and lyrical were mentioned often in describing his writing style.  I remember thinking "It's about a male prostitute who hooks up with a blind man.  How 'lyrical' can it be?"  I learned quickly.  You are not just reading his story, you are feeling it.  Not many authors can do that and I am in awe over how this one manages to... and he did it twice because Afflicted II is just as beautifully written.

In Afflicted, we met Hunter, a blind gay man who was angry with the world.  He had an overbearing mother.  He hated people.  He hated to be coddled and refused to give up any type of control.  He had a job narrating audio books and he, while not necessarily happy, was content.  As long as everyone left him alone. He was blind but not incapable of taking care of himself and he let everyone know this.  One day he was approached by a man on the street.. a prostitute.  This man was Dillon.  Dillon was a high-priced escort and did not make a habit of picking up strange men on the street.  He didn't have to.  Not any longer.  He had plenty of money and clients willing to pay an astronomical amount of money for his services.  Dillon went home with Hunter that night and later kept coming back.  Not for the money paid for his services as he returned that. He came back because of the connection with Hunter.  The first book tells the story of how Hunter and Dillon overcome a lot to become a couple.  It ends with questions unanswered, a few surprises thrown in and a lot left to say.  When the author announced that a sequel was quickly in the works, I stalked his Goodreads page until it was released.  I could not download it fast enough.  

This takes place a very short time after Afflicted ends.  I hate when sequels start weeks or months later so I was thrilled that the author had it pick up immediately after the last one ended. 

Dillon is dealing with knowing his blind cousin is dating Hunter's much older mother.  This man, Travis, had been Dillon's best friend growing up.  Dillon's parents disowned him when he was sixteen and Travis, only fourteen at the time, gave him all the money he had so that he would have something when he left.  Dillon has not seen or heard from him in over ten years.   Dillon was forced to prostitute himself in order to survive, at only sixteen years old. The pain and anger at his family has never left him.  Finding out that his cousin is dating Hunter's mother devastates him.  He will now be forced to deal with family issues that he feels were better left in the past, regardless of how close the two had been as teenagers.  Dillon tells Hunter everything about what he was forced to endure on the streets and how he got where he is today.  Their relationship is moving quickly and he wants no secrets.  He has walked away from the escort service and now only wants to build a life with Hunter.  Travis complicates things.  After Hunter has a confrontation with Travis, he is forced to tell Dillon that his father had died years earlier and no one felt the need to try to find Dillon to inform him.  This hurts Dillon to the point of disappearing for a few days.  He is not leaving Hunter..... he is leaving to try to deal with knowing now that there will never be another chance to make things right with his father.  He is consumed by grief and angry at his mother and cousin, who could have found him to let him know his father was ill. He comes back and forces himself to attend Thanksgiving dinner with Hunter's family... with his long-lost cousin in attendance.  There are confrontations that do not end well.

Later, Dillon's mother makes an appearance with Travis in tow.  Wow.  That is the word that immediately comes to mind when I think of his mother.  She's evil and bitter.  She uses religion as an excuse to condemn her son instead of looking at herself.  She angrily confronts him and it takes Hunter holding him to keep him from hurting her.  Knowing that Travis brought her to his home after Dillon specifically said he never wanted to see her again makes the strained relationship between the two men worse.  When Travis confesses something to Dillon in regards to his father, the situation almost becomes violent.  Thankfully Hunter is there to rein in Dillon's temper.

Hunter and Dillon are the perfect couple.  As with the first book, I found myself forgetting that Hunter is a blind man.  The signs are there and it is never set aside, but he is written so well that he is simply Hunter.  It's not something that is so glaring that that is all you think about when he is in the book.  He still has an edge but he softens as the story moves along.  His mother is not quite as overbearing as she was in the first book (having sex with a 24 year old man probably had something to do with that).  Dillon has suffered so much but he is willing and eager to make a life with Hunter, the only man he could ever love unconditionally.  

This book was moving nicely along until the 86% point on my Kindle Fire.  Dillon does something that angers me.  While the explanation kind of made sense, I was not pleased.  He was aware of Hunter's reluctance in regards to this situation but he disregarded those feelings for a little while.  It was not intentional on Dillon's part but it still happened.  Thankfully, what came later (much later) made up for that.

Overall (obviously), I loved this book.  It is the perfect continuation of Hunter and Dillon's story.  There are still a few things I felt were left incomplete but not in regards to the two main characters.  Considering I was not a fan (at all) of these particular characters, I have no need to see them have their own happily ever after.  

The ending was a nice "aww!" moment and was absolutely perfect.

Another excellent book by Brandon Shire.

Reviewer note:  10% of the proceeds from the sale of any of Brandon Shire's books are donated to LGBT youth charities.


  1. Glad you liked it. Good review, Cindi. I have one of this author's books sitting on my Kindle waiting to be read.

    1. Thank you. He is a brilliant writer. I would love to read his others but they look like very emotional books and I have to be in the right frame of mind. Maybe after the holidays. I know I can't stop with just two of his books.