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Review: ‘Heroes at Risk’, Book 4 in Heroes series, by Moira J. Moore

February 24, 2011

Summary: The events of this book pick up right after those in the third book, Heroes Adrift. Shield Dunleavy Mallorough, known as Lee, is finally back home where she belongs: the Triple S house in the volatile city of High Scape. High Scape, the city of such frequent natural disasters that multiple Pairs are needed to keep things stable. But not long after Lee and her Shield, Shintaro Karish, finally return after their unexpected trip to Flatwell, they find out that High Scape is actually stabilizing—and Pairs are being transferred out.

Other strange things are going on in High Scape. Taro and Lee find themselves channeling strange events that feel almost out of control. People are digging up the ashes of the dead to use in spells. Magic use is on the rise, and Lee finds herself conflicted over what to believe about the reality of magic. A new fad has swept through the town, which Taro gleefully takes part in. He makes Lee buy a matching harmony bob with him, and in a very public and impromptu ceremony, the other Pairs manage to find out about the relationship between the Source and Shield—and most of them do not approve.

Lee and Taro find themselves facing all kinds of strangeness and unexpected events. And when Lee falls gravely ill, the question becomes whether the Pair will survive the strangeness of High Scape, or be swept up by it and destroyed.

My Thoughts: While I overall liked this book, it has some problems. It relies far too heavily on the characters to move the story forward rather than plot. By that I mean characters interacting is what tends to fill the book rather than events. The plot also feels like Moore has done it before—it reminds me a lot of the plot in the first book. I do like that she set up the plot for this book in the previous story with the introduction of harmony bobs in Heroes Adrift, before Lee and Taro left High Scape. I also like that the romantic relationship begun in the previous story is given room to move forward and develop, especially on Lee’s end since she is the one with the expectation that it will end.

Once again, I find the Triple S’s lack of interest and involvement unbelievable—unless Moore is setting up a confrontation or revelation in the next book. If that’s the case, which is entirely possible, then it makes sense. Otherwise, the Triple S council’s lack of involvement for an organization that is supposed to be independent and powerful makes no sense and is in direct opposition to the worldview Moore created from the very beginning of the series.

You have to read the previous books to really understand the events and dynamics of this one, though Moore does give short recaps of previous events. I don’t think it’s enough in my opinion to understand the history of the characters, which has a bearing on their actions and interactions here. I think this is the point in the series where you need to have read the previous stories in order to go any further.

I liked the ending of this book. It was funny and set up the next story while still wrapping up this one. Humor is one of the best things about this book and this series. Moore pulls off the humor and sarcasm very well, mainly through Lee’s character but sometimes through Taro and the others. However, I think sometimes the humor is used to hide the fact that her plot choices are progressively less and less interesting. A book can’t rely solely on the personalities of characters to be good, in my opinion—plot and events and such are just as important, if not more so.

In the end, I do like the book. I like what happens with the characters and the relationship between Lee and Taro. However, I think the plot is unoriginal and has been done already in this series. That is a serious drawback for me.

Book info: published 2009, 328 pages, ISBN: 9780441017768

Buy from Amazon * Author’s Website * GoodReads

Copy is from personal library

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