REVIEW: The Flame by Jean JohnsonTuesday, January 27, 2009 13:00
As I’ve said in my last few reviews of the books in this series, I’ve been a slavish follower of Ms. Johnson ever since I discovered her books. They have a combination of fantasy and romance that’s maybe a bit lighter on the romance than some romance readers prefer, but which is interesting to me nonetheless. This seventh book is no exception, as it brings the seventh of the Nightfall brothers his destined mate and moves the plots begun earlier in the series toward their conclusion in the eighth and final book.
Koranen, the seventh of the brothers stranded on the island of Nightfall, is that rarest of all creatures, the virgin hero. His affinity with fire has a tendency to flair up out of control and he’s left a few burns on tender female flesh to prove it. So he’s got a huge case of sexual frustration going for him. But he’ll finally get a chance to exercise some of that frustration after an agreement brokered by his brother Morganen sends several Aquamancers to Nightfall. Now Kor has to figure out which of them he can touch without burning.
Danau, one of the chosen Aquamancers, is the kind of heroine I love to distraction when she’s written well, which, like all of Johnson’s heroines, she is. Her problem is pretty much the opposite of Kor’s, in that when her passions run high, she gets cold. Let’s just say, her last lover had frostbite in an unpleasant place. Oops. Danau’s culture views this as a failing on her part as a woman, and so she’s determined to figure out the secrets of Nightfall’s famed desalinator, which processes salt water and makes it fresh. She’ll let her fellow Aquamancers play courting games with Kor, because obviously he wouldn’t want someone like her. Sure, she’s attracted to him, but all she can have are frustrating nightly dreams. That combination of prickly exterior concealing a woman who really just needs a hug–or a lot more, come to that–is something I find irresistible. I find that quality in Eve Dallas, and I find it in Danau, and I want more heroines like them.
Unlike Gwen, I really liked the romance. It did take a while, but I thought the reasons were good ones. I mean, Danau is obsessed with her work, and doesn’t send off friendly vibes, while her fellow Aquamancers are all over Kor like white on rice. It’s no wonder he doesn’t see the very, very obvious until he gets smacked upside the head with it. I think that’s a fairly realistic reaction, and provided a conflict that didn’t feel forced or artificial. I also loved that Danau and Kor have to figure out the whole sex thing. It never feels awkward or uncomfortable to me as a reader, but it did feel very true to the characters.
I can’t speak more about the fantasy plot without going into spoilers, but I expect great things from the next book in the series where that plot is concerned. It was also nice to see all the secondary characters, and I devoured this book quickly. It’s not a good book to start if you haven’t been reading the series, but if you’re following it, you definitely want to read it.
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Seventh in the hot series from the national bestselling author that Jayne Anne Krentz hails as “fabulously fresh.” Eight brothers, born in four sets of twins, two years apart to the day–they fulfill the Curse of Eight Prophecy. Though no longer trapped in exile, their growing family faces new problems. Now that it’s his turn to look for a bride, Koranen, the seventh-born brother, cursed with a flame that courses beneath his flesh, must find a woman able to endure the literal heat of his passion. Then Danau the Aquamancer arrives, and as everyone knows, fire and water create steam.
Read an excerpt.
Other books in the series: