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Heroes at Odds by Moira J. Moore

It's been a year--an entire year--since Heroes Return came out, and I am nothing if not ready for my fix of Lee and Taro. What better way to celebrate the summer than with a visit from my favorite paranoid and accident prone Source and Shield? I can't believe we're six books in with this series. It's one of the most consistently good series around. I can always count on a madcap adventure, humorous interactions between this long suffering Pair, and that vaguely ominous threat I've felt from the very beginning, and which I just know is going to erupt in all sorts of unpleasant ways in the very near future. Truly? That's one of my favorite aspects of this weird and fascinating world Moira J. Moore has created. I never feel like I get it all, like there are massive secrets lurking above me in the restless clouds, and when they are revealed will they be as sinister as they feel? As Oscar Wilde said, "The suspense is terrible, I hope it lasts." Truer words . . . Last but not least, I do have to hand it to the cover gods this time around. Taro has gotten measurably more attractive. He's gone from having a face like a foot and jazz hands to an NFL linebacker-type mug with yon brawny sword in hand. You never fail to entertain, cover gods. I want to thank you for that.

Lee and Taro are still in Flown Raven. Still serving out their time (and the Emperor's bidding) in Taro's former home, though some things have changed. Lee has grown more comfortable exploring spell casting. She even joins a group of local casters who are interested in exploiting her particular powers as part of their enterprise. And Taro has grown a bit more at ease in the place that meted out such pain and disappointment to him throughout his childhood. And Lee is excited because her family has announced they're to visit her soon. She hasn't seen them in so long and it will mean some variance from their normal routine. Her excitement is extinguished quicker than Taro can channel a storm, however, when her mother reveals the reason for their visit. It seems a very long time ago, when Lee was just a child, her parents betrothed her to a fellow merchant's son--one Marcus Pride--as part of a business deal intended to benefit both families. They never expected the betrothal to amount to anything, though, and Lee's calling as a Shield should have annulled any prior contracts in any case. But wouldn't you know, the Prides are here to collect on the bargain. The father and son are, in fact, soon to arrive at Flown Raven themselves. And so the greatest challenge Lee and Taro face may in fact be winkling Lee out of a wholly unwelcome marriage before she is forced to wed where she does not want in order to save the family she left behind years ago.

I laughed several times while reading this one. It was lighter and funnier in tone than the last couple have been. Though there has always been an appreciable amount of humor to be found in Lee and Taro's banter and haplessness, this time around they seemed wryly cognizant of how often their circumstances go south. They seemed to take it in stride, so that the sham betrothal that could very well take them under just adds a cherry on top of the sundae that's been their predicament ever since they bonded. In one sense this was very satisfying because Lee and Taro were on the same page and very much at home in their own skin, within their relationship, and of one mind when it came to the impossibility of Lee marrying Marcus. I loved that. I loved Taro playing his part in keeping Lee from a distasteful marriage. And I most especially loved Lee's family in this one, specifically her two brothers. They are irreverent, fun-loving, boisterous and, more importantly, they care about Lee even when she doesn't quite get them. They don't take any of her occasionally dense nonsense when it comes to people. In that sense, they reminded me of a certain Source who cared about our Lee from the very start. Interestingly, they care about Taro as well, and they know how to go about it. In fact, they seem to really get the endlessly complex relationship between their sister and her partner better, at times, than anyone. And so I loved them, because they had the good sense to love Lee (and by extension Taro). I did miss a little of the, well, fire between the Pair in this one. Despite their solidarity, they seemed utterly exhausted throughout. I felt for them, but missed their more heated encounters. In the final installment, I would welcome a little more focus on their wonderful connection and that sense of concern for each other that makes me so fond of them. As for the ending of Heroes at Odds--it may possibly be my favorite thus far. It was touching, funny, fitting, and exactly what I wanted. I am so looking forward to the next and final book in this wonderful series.

And now the depressing news. Moira has announced that Ace will not be publishing the last book in the Heroes series. In an utterly shocking (and in my opinion reprehensible) move, Ace has chosen not to renew her contract and publish the finale of the series. Ms. Moore has said she will finish it and publish it either herself or on her blog for loyal readers to read. For this, I'm incredibly grateful as it would be devastating not to get to conclude the series. And at least this way she will have the freedom to finish the series the way she would like to. Hey, I bet there might even be a more accurate (and attractive) cover! And I think we'll be getting quite a treat as a result, since it sounds like there will be several short stories along the way and, of course, the final volume. Speaking of, if you get a chance, be sure to stop in and read the great Taro POV piece Moira recently posted on her blog. It's set early on in book one and it has a killer last line. I love that boy so much.

On a happier note. Just a fun peek at what you'll find inside Heroes at Odds should you pick up a copy:


Linkage
The Book Smugglers Review
Skunk Cat Book Review

Comments

  1. Anonymous4:28 PM

    I love this series! And I loved this book. I hope Moira finds a way to self-publish the next one so we can pay to read it. KarenS

    ReplyDelete
  2. That's awesome, Angie. Have your reviews ever been published in a book before?

    ReplyDelete
  3. I just got happy tears in my eyes seeing your review PUBLISHED IN A BOOK!!! I love it every time the world recognizes more of your greatness. Miss you much and I can't get enough pics of your kids....keep em coming on facebook. love ya

    ReplyDelete
  4. Holy cow! Did you just die when you saw that? Awesome.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Karen, exactly. So that we can pay to read it.

    Diana, to my knowledge this is the first time! :)

    Liz, why is it again we have to live so far apart? I miss you all the time. Will try to keep pics of the kids coming your way.

    Tiah, yes. Yes, I did. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Yes! I am so pleased this is just as good as the others. Big fan of Lee and Taro thanks to your post way back on the awful covers (I don't think I would have picked them up if you hadn't been so obviously enamored with them)
    Can't believe Ace wont at least finish the series, what a gip!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Anonymous3:01 PM

    Wow, I was just going to comment on that cover! Endless entertainment for sure!

    --Sharry

    ReplyDelete
  8. I just went and read that Taro POV scene and loved it. Oh man, poor, poor Taro....

    ReplyDelete
  9. I haven't read this series but I just wanted to say CONGRATS for having your blurb published in a book! :) That's awesome.

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  10. Holly, those covers . . . ugh. But I'm so glad you're a big fan of Taro and Lee! They are worthy of fandom.

    Sharry, lol. I know. I know.

    Michelle, he really puts up with a lot, doesn't he? :)

    Chachic, aww, thanks! Made me smile pretty big.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'm a book or two behind on this series, but I'm SO bummed about the news that Ace isn't continuing it. :( This one sounds good though, especially if it's your fave so far. I need to catch up!

    Loved the Taro POV, and you were right about that last line.

    Awesome! (On being blurbed!)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Janice, I know. It's . . . disheartening. But I am so glad she's going to finish it. Think you'll like where things go.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Congrats on the published book review/blurb thing! What a fun thing to add to your claim to fame! :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Christine, lol. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  15. This cannot work in fact, that is what I consider.

    ReplyDelete

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