My first impression of Affinities by Chris Hollis, was that it was a well-paced, consistently written and intriguing novel.
A key feature of the writing in this novel is that the level of intrigue continually increases as the plot thickens. The story line to Affinities is unlike anything I have ever read before. In the initial chapters the character development is a slow but it is interesting, and revealed in an interesting way via one of the main character’s (Andrew Goodwin) memories. I’d have preferred a more substantial character description earlier I the novel- by chapter 7 I couldn’t remember if I knew what Andrew looked like or not. More details would have helped Hollis’ characters more relatable and believable. However, having said that from what I did know about Andrew (by chapter 7) I imagined him to be a very ‘normal’ and likeable person, which helped to make the plot even more intense and intriguing- those things just don’t happen to nice folk, do they?
The flow of this novel was great , Hollis is clearly skilled at conveying emotion to the reader. I could feel the panic when Andrew’s days went missing, and I could feel his pain when he suffered those blinding headaches.
Facing Ryan, thinking that he was the husband of his married girlfriend; was an unexpected and enjoyable twist. It was just one of the several intriguing sub-plots hidden within Affinities. Much more could have been made of the conversation they had, but the next plot twist I never saw coming- the sign of unwittingly brilliant chapters to come.
Readers hold on to your hats when you reach chapter 8! The stark revelation it contains about the two main characters Andrew and Daniel, I found it not only shocking but also chilling as well! As Affinities progressed it became increasingly more gripping, each time control passed between Andrew and Daniel I was pulled in just that little but further.
The confusion sub-character Isabel felt at the entire situation matched my own at times. Each time control was passed between Andrew and Daniel neither I as the reader; nor the characters within the novel knew which man we would be faced with. Just when you think the end will offer some reprieve from the thrills. Hollis lures you in with a brief lull from the insanity, before plunging you right back in with a cliff hanger that sent chills down my spine.
Affinities takes you on a rough, psychologically thrilling reading experience. As the events unfold you’ll find the pace quickens and your heart rate with it, which just adds to the thrill. Although the plot turned out to be nothing like I had imagined, it was far better and well worth the read. Hollis made lying by the pool on my summer holiday exciting!
© Gemma Feltham 31st August 2013