Dark Flame by Alyson Noel St. Martin's Griffin 2010 Unfortunately, I found this installment of the Immortals series to probably be the weakest yet. We jump right into the action, and readers would be strongly advised to read the preceding books, Evermore, Blue Moon, and Shadowland first. In this latest episode, Ever and former best friend, the newly immortal Haven are at odds. Ever feels terrible for "cursing" Haven with immortality, but Ever's boyfriend Damen accurately predicts that Haven will love her new preternatural abilities. Meanwhile, Ever is struggling under an evil spell that makes her attracted to rogue immortal Roman, Damen's centuries long arch-rival, and is desperately trying to hide her embarrassing feelings from her friends. Roman already has the upper-hand, being the only person with an antidote to the spell that prevents Ever and Damen from touching. (Ever and Damen hug and kiss a lot for people who supposedly can't touch, though.) Roman intensifies his position by successfully wooing Haven, driving another wedge between Ever and Damen.
Nice-guy surfer Jude still pines for Ever, but she doesn't seem to feel anything for him. Damen is creepily Edward-esque, being alternately distant and jealous of Ever. Ever and Haven's gay friend Miles is terrifically out of the loop on all of this, but he is too busy and happy to be going on a trip to Florence, Italy to really notice or care about any of the new stresses his friends are experiencing.
For me at least, the introduction of Roman as a new potential love interest for Ever (one that she's simultaneously addicted to and disgusted by) turned this series away from being a love triangle, Ever-Damen-Jude, into a love square, which is a much harder balancing act. It also pushes Ever a little more solidly into Mary Sue territory if all of the male leads (except for Miles, of course) are crazy about her.
This series has always been very Pagan friendly, and that continues in this book. Most of the main characters regularly use plenty of New Age meditations, chakras, crystals and herbs. Reformed charlatan psychic Ava returns briefly to lecture Ever about thinking positively. One of the major problems of the book is that Ever just isn't as smart as I'd like her to be. As she reminds us several times throughout the book her weakest chakra is her throat - so she's bad at discernment, and always making bad decisions.
One redeeming feature of the book was that I was completely taken by surprise by the ending. I love a story that has some kind of twist at the end - and this definitely delivered on that score. Long-time fans will probably already have eagerly snapped up this book, but new readers to the series may find the lack of forward plot-progression somewhat daunting.