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Review: ‘Heroes Return’, Book 5 in the Source and Shield series, by Moira J. Moore

April 16, 2013

Summary: Source Shintaro Karish, formerly Lord and heir of the Westsea Duchy, finds himself returning to his home at the request of the Emperor. Only problem is, the Emperor has no right to “request” the transfer of a Pair—that is the right of the Triple S Council only. But Shintaro has no choice but to obey, at least until the Council can come to his rescue. Pairs aren’t supposed to serve in the places of their birth.

Along for the ride is Taro’s Shield, Dunleavy Mallorough, known as Lee. Grating at the outrage of being ordered around yet again by their ruler, Lee also has no choice but to follow her Source to Westsea’s capital Flown Raven, where Taro’s cousin, Fiona, now rules as Duchess. There, Lee and Taro must contend not only with hostile tenants and intense difficulties in Shielding the natural events of Flown Raven, but Taro’s overbearing mother still pushes her way onto the scene. And Lee is presented with her own problems while Taro deals with his—magic has reared its head in her life once more, and she finds herself floundering to deal with it and find out where she stands. Yet magic might be the solution to at least one of her and Taro’s problems—it could offer the solution of how they are going to channel the events of Flown Raven that increasingly are out of control and beyond their reach.

My Thoughts: I became so engrossed in this book that I read it in about 7 hours. I don’t normally read an entire book in one day. Compared to the previous installments in the series, I think this book has a much better plot than the others that makes it so much more engrossing. Also, the reader gets some long-awaited answers from previous books, such as the reactions of the Triple S council to the abuses of the Crown with Taro and Lee, and the status of relationships.

This book takes the form of a mystery instead of an adventure, in contrast to at least two of the previous stories. In this way, Heroes Return is more like the second book The Hero Strikes Back. Like the other books, Moore writes with a great deal of humor and sarcasm, which is refreshing in the fantasy genre, entertaining, and satisfying.

Even while Moore answers some questions, she still leaves some unanswered for the following novel(s), namely the newer subplot of magic usage and belief in spells. Also still up in the air is the Emperor’s disposition and his place in the grand scheme of things. We already know from Heroes at Risk that the Emperor has an interest in Taro and, by extension, Lee, but the reader still doesn’t entirely know why or what the ruler has planned.

I still find the Triple S’s lack of real authority/spine somewhat surprising considering they were presented as independent and authoritative in earlier books. But this is probably part of the whole point and part of the overall intrigue.

Lee and Taro haven’t changed very much in this book, aside from tackling the dynamics of Taro’s family. The new key characters introduced here include Duchess Fiona, Fiona’s family, and Academic Reid. Doris, Fiona’s sister, is like the Dowager Duchess (Taro’s mother): despicable and thoroughly detestable. Duchess Fiona is funny and smart, with a genuine care for the duchy and her people. I like Fiona a great deal and am glad that Moore let us find out more about her. Academic Reid is somewhat confusing, and I never felt too certain of his motives or positions, which Lee also questions.

Positives: humor, mystery, better plot and subplots, characterization, answered questions. Negatives: Triple S Council’s apparent about-face from Book 1. Aside from this confusion, I really can’t think of anything further negative in this book. I give it 4 stars out of 5.

Buy on Amazon * Author’s Website * GoodReads

Book info: published 2010, 358 pages, ISBN: 9780441019526

Copy is from personal library

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