The Hero series so far:
Book 1: Resenting the Hero (livejournal | vox)
Book 2: The Hero Strikes Back (livejournal | vox)
Book 3: Heroes Adrift (livejournal | vox | wordpress)
Excerpt of Heroes at Risk (it's the only one I could find)
****** mild spoilers for the rest of the series, go read my earlier reviews if you aren't up to this book yet *****
The Premise: This is the fourth book in the Heroes series. Shield Dunleavy (Lee) Mallorough and Source Shintaro (Taro) Karesh are back on the mainland (they henceforth only refer to Flatwell as "that damned island") and have to face their old life and friends again, which leads to some awkward situations because their relationship is not really clear. Meanwhile High Scape has gone from being a hotbed of disaster to a cold spot, but the people of High Scape have taken to a new trend - dabbling in magic. Some particularly misguided citizens are murdering "lucky" people so they can use their ashes for these spells. Of course, Lee's first thought is that her handsome partner is prime pickings for another kidnapping.
My Thoughts: This was a good one. I don't know what it is, but I love to analyze these characters, especially Lee, and we get a lot of fodder for discussion when Lee as usual gets everything all wrong by assuming things in her own blind way. Oh god do I want to shake this woman! Of course, if she was the type of person who was better at reading people (or even as half as good as she thinks she is), I don't think this series would be as fun. As people have commented on my earlier review, she's the ultimate unreliable narrator. I was amused that in this book Lee's faults such as this one, are pointed out to her face, much to her irritation. I agreed with Lee that it was rude, but I think she should listen to some of these criticisms sometimes.
The primary relationship I love to observe is of course Lee and Taro's. I'm going to point at Angie's review where she said it perfectly with "it's always a treat to watch them circle each other once more, to attempt to navigate the treacherous waters that lay between their opposing natures and meet somewhere in the middle". After the events of the last book where the Pair reach a new plateau in their relationship, some may think that everything is settled, but this is Lee we're talking about. She as usual makes her assumptions about Taro and when they're back in High Scape, she bases her actions on these assumptions. It's a little telling how Lee shields herself from grief by doing things like this, but she's emotionally inexperienced. Taro's reaction to this is so Taro as well - he gets emotional, but his reaction seems to bounce harmlessly off Lee's Impervious Wall of Logical Assumption. Watching things come to a head was one of the reasons why I love this series.
While I'm obsessed with gleaning meaning from every interaction between Taro and Lee, the story is really not primarily focused on their relationship. Lee spends a lot of time in the city trying to learn about the new trend in dabbling with magic. She questions why it's considered illegal if it is supposed to be all fake anyway, and her discoveries raise some interesting questions about whether magic is real and what it means for Sources and Shields. This intersects with some of the other odd discoveries that she and Taro have made over the past few books regarding their powers and their world. I'm not sure where the author is going to take this, but I sense she has a plan, and I'm really curious to see how it all comes together. Moore introduces a new group of people in High Scape who seem to know a lot about magic and hold a lot of power, and meanwhile there has been a shift in rulers which suggests that their world is on the cusp of change. I think I'd be most happy to see some sort of change in the expectations that are put on Sources and Shields. Throughout the series, there have been questions about how Things Are Done regarding for example, the role of the Triple S in politics, if Sources and Shields are allowed to have a relationship, and whether it's fair that Sources and Shields never have to pay for anything or never get paid.
A not on the cover: I love the colors and I like how Lee looks, but this is not what Taro looks like in my head. He doesn't look good to me here.
Overall: Possibly my favorite book in this light fantasy series so far. I'm loving Lee and Taro's relationship, and the way the series is unfolding has me very interested in where it's all going.
Buy: Amazon | Powells
Other reviews (all good!):
Angieville - A lovely review. She writes what I want to say but better!
The Book Smugglers - Thea gave it a 7
See Michelle Read - also a positive review
Interview with Moira J. Moore at Angieville
Originally posted on janicu.vox.com