Friday, June 18, 2010

Book Review: Dark Flame by Alyson Noel


In Alyson Noel’s most darkly seductive Immortals novel yet, Ever fights for control of her body, her soul—and the timeless true love she’s been chasing for centuries.

Ever is trying to help Haven transition into life as an immortal. But with Haven drunk on her new powers and acting recklessly, she poses the ultimate threat—exposing their secret world to the outside. As Ever struggles to keep the Immortals hidden, it only propels Haven closer to the enemy—Roman and his evil companions.

At the same time, Ever delves deeper into dark magick to free Damen from Roman’s power. But when her spell backfires, it binds her to the one guy who’s hell-bent on her destruction. Now there’s a strange, foreign pulse coursing through her, and no matter what she does, she can’t stop thinking about Roman—and longing for his touch. As she struggles to resist the fiery attraction threatening to consume her, Roman is more than willing to take advantage of her weakened state…and Ever edges closer and closer to surrender.

Frantic to break the spell before its too late, Ever turns to Jude for help, risking everything she knows and loves to save herself—and her future with Damen …


*Note: This review IS spoiler free for the SERIES.*

As with the previous three books in this series, the plot and characters always seem to find the perfect way to grate my nerves and make me want to smack them. And yet, as with the others, I am always intrigued from the start, pulled in, and eager to know more. Noel has written some of the most stubborn characters around, pitching numerous battles of will that always end in clashes so extreme, it sometimes throws the reader. The simplicity of one giving in always makes me scream and yet, it is an endearing quality for every character possessing it and a large attribution to the plot. I seem to have a love/hate relationship with this series, always relieved when a book is over only to turn around the next second wishing I could have more now. That is a mark of a gifted writer to twist a reader like that and Noel has nailed it with each book.

Ever continues her slightly misguided ways, determined to finish things already set in motion in earlier books. She has the same determination and generally positive her way is the right one. The latter has been one thing that has bothered me through the books though it does strike true to her character. In Dark Flame, however, Ever goes through tremendous personal growth, finally showing strong development that her character has resisted in previous books. She is far more sympathetic in this one, some of her motivations even better explained and more understandable. Ever is constantly finding herself in outrageous situations, the path to them always a convoluted one that is impossible to predict and the girl can never catch a break. While Noel continues to throw the left hooks and toy with not only Ever but the reader as well, a few plot lines that have been present from the start are tied up in this one, some are starting to reach their end, and new ones are opened.

Damen continues to be the sweet, lovable guy he is, though he takes a little bit of a back seat in this installment. His relationship with Ever is an interesting one, and continues to progress and develop in fantastic ways. In the same way Ever seems to always manage to redeem herself, Damen grows and gains status with readers as well. His history is extensive, given his chronological age, and the flashbacks to his past and the ways he has spent his centuries always come in at the right moments to remind the reader of the reality of his and Ever’s lives as immortals. Although they are in a modern time and Damen has certainly changed with the times, their roots are defined and reminded.

The well defined supporting characters continue to be in Dark Flame, primarily Roman, Haven and Jude. They play some interesting roles and progress the plot in surprising ways. The way the reader feels about them is very liable to shift and change within the book- another mark in favor Noel’s writing abilities to create such complex characters whom hold an abundance of gray areas.

The plot progresses at a relatively steady pace though I did feel jarred out of the story at times, both in the writing itself- at times it almost seemed too good for what was needing to come across- and because the passing of time seemed to happen at obscure times. A few places, several days had passed without me as a reader realizing it until it’s mentioned in passing after a new scene has already begun. Perhaps I wasn’t being an astute reader but I did find myself stopping a few times. Noel’s overall writing, however, has strengthened with this installment. Her descriptions are vivid, her settings vibrant, and the small details that make the difference between good and great abundant.

Dark Flame is the best installment in this series yet, ending in a very shocking way that leaves high promise for the next book. The readers’ appetite will be whetted for more, the constant addictive craving Noel seems to infuse in every book continuing to guarantee her strong readership. The characters are advanced and developed, the plot progressed and the continued possibilities opened. Numerous new questions and intrigues spark, and the overall feelings toward certain characters shift in a constant flow. Noel includes plenty of surprising twists, unexpected tie ins and histories, and never lets the reader know what else she has planned. The predictability present at the beginning of the series is gone, leaving only a burning need for more.

Source: Finished hardbound copy received from publisher for review
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 1 edition (June 22, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0312590970
ISBN-13: 978-0312590970

Author's Website

Series Website


  1. You described this so perfect....The characters are so annoying...yet so addicting!! Im hoping Ever stops being a bonehead, cant wait to read this one...

  2. I totally agree I love this series but am so frustrated with Ever and Damen everytime but I still wanna know what happens next ;)

  3. Ever drives me crazy too, but the books keep drawing me back for more. I can't wait til Tuesday when I can buy it!!

  4. I've been meaning to start on this series for a long time now, but havent had the chance :) Glad you enjoyed this one, great review!