Book 1: Resenting the Hero (livejournal | wordpress)
Book 2: The Hero Strikes Back (livejournal | wordpress)
The Premise: This is the third book in the Heroes series which is about a Shield and Source Pair who protect the populace from natural disasters by channeling them away. Dunleavy Mallorough (Lee) and Shintaro Karish (Taro) have been mysteriously called to court in Erstwhile by the Empress. Lee doesn’t like it, and soon she’s proved correct for this reaction because the queen tasks the Pair to find one of her heirs, who was hidden away on Flatwell, one of the Southern Islands. Lee and Taro go there, only to discover that Flatwell doesn’t recognize Pairs the same way that the mainland does. This means Lee and Taro have to actually earn their own money while trying to find this lost relative!
******** possible mild spoilers of the earlier books from this point ********
My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this one, probably because when push come to shove, Lee and Taro really worked together in this book. They’re both miserable, and only have each other. It’s hard, particularly for Taro, because Flatwell people see him as plain and useless, not as vibrant and beautiful as he was always seen in the mainland (and in other books). The role reversal was amusing, and Lee becomes the stronger, more admired part of the Pair, much to her and Taro’s astonishment. Meanwhile, poor Taro begins to question his usefulness, because in Flatwell, his skills as a Source and his pretty manners are seen as unmarketable. Only stubborn Lee continues to see him as he was seen on the mainland, which says a lot about their relationship.
This book was a little bit of a breather for me in terms of getting annoyed at Lee. I think that Lee has a habit of not speaking her thoughts out to people (because Shields are supposed to be stony), and just letting them talk, which leads to misunderstandings. I often think “Why don’t you SAY that!”, but no, she doesn’t, she assumes they should logically realize what she’s thinking and then she’s surprised when they come to their own decision, because of their “talk”. Thankfully, in Flatwell, the people are a bit different from the mainland–they’re less interested in what Taro and Lee are up to, and so Lee doesn’t get into those situations so much. The focus is much more on just the two of them, and the results are delightful.
You could say this is sort of a transitional book, but I think the mission this Pair is on may have repercussions later on in the series. I feel like Moore is very subtly putting it into the readers heads through Lee that there’s beginning to be a shift in the political climate in this world. There’s also a lot of questions about if things being done the way they are now are the right way to do things, particularly in regards to Sources and Shields.
Also: This may be my favorite cover for this series so far.
Overall: A really interesting installment where Lee and Taro’s roles get a little twist and there are some juicy developments in their relationship.