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Review: ‘Heroes At Odds’, Book 6 in the Heroes Series, by Moira J. Moore

July 9, 2013

Heroes At Odds cover artSummary: Shield Dunleavy Mallorough and Source Shintaro Karish have now gotten comfortable in Westsea and have figured out how to protect the area.  But Lee’s past has a surprise in store for her that she never expected: she was betrothed at birth!  Lee’s mother and brothers arrive for a visit and share the news with Lee and Taro, who are predictably not happy with the news.  Since Lee was accepted into the Shield academy, the betrothal contract was made null and void.  There’s just one problem–the intended fiancé is determined to have Lee fulfill her end of the bargain and marry him.  And there may be no way for Lee to escape when she discovers the contract may have been made with a spell–to not fulfill the contract now would cause serious damage to Lee and her family.  To make matters worse, Taro is determined to help, but his involvement only makes matters worse.

On top of her family woes, Westsea’s duchess, Taro’s cousin Fiona, is threatened from outside forces who want to remove Fiona from her seat.  Spellcasting, which is much more prevalent in Westsea than anywhere else on the continent, has a dramatic place in the conflict.  Taro and Lee find themselves inextricably involved in protecting Westsea from more than natural disasters as the attacks continue to worsen and threaten the duchess and her people.

Can Lee find a solution to her family troubles while still keep Westsea safe and her relationship with Taro intact?

My Thoughts: This might be my favorite book in the series.  It’s so full of humor and well-intentioned but misguided attempts to make things better but which really make things worse.  Plus, the escalating use of spells and casting catapults this novel into the magic arena in a way the previous ones did not.  It picks up where the previous book left off with Lee learning about casting and how it works.

Lee seems almost overwhelmed through much of the book, but who could blame her?  There’s a lot going on in her life all of a sudden, and her Shield training doesn’t help much in how to deal with the issues.  She still tries to do the right thing, as always, but increasingly there are gray areas and even more opportunities to bend the rules or cross the lines.

The book, to me, heavily focuses on Lee this time around.  Yes, she’s the main character through the series and we are reading through her thoughts, but this time the events are much more centered around her.  This leaves Taro much more off to the side.  He is still heavily involved, but this plot and the events within are centered around Lee and how they affect her.  Before, many of the events centered around Taro or around the both of them, but few really focused solely on Lee.  In this installment, the problems that arise are heavily focused on Lee, which means Taro becomes more like a supporting character.  I think he doesn’t develop very much in this book because the development and narrative are focused around Lee.  And Lee does develop quite a bit here.  She grows more comfortable with casting, and is able to be more assertive.  She also recognizes that family is more important than she ever considered it to be before–this is a huge development for her.

Fiona is one of my favorite supporting characters.  She has a strong presence in this book, and while I liked her better in the previous book, I still like her a great deal in this one.  She becomes more surly at places, and at times I thought she came across too noble and lofty, but her personality and how she adapts to her role as duchess is part of what makes her a great character.

The humor, as always, is in full force in this installment.  One of the things I like best about this series is the humor in Lee’s voice.  It’s a wonderful thing, and I can’t get enough of it.

The plot is better than some of the previous books.  I was pretty engrossed through much of it.  The parts having to do with the betrothal sometimes felt a little too long to me, but I could deal with that because the rest of the plot dealt with the intrigue and danger of Westsea’s endangerment.  That made up for any slow points for me.  With the two very different plot lines, the book could have fractured and become unfocused, but I never felt that it became that way.  I always felt like I knew what was going in in that scene, and answers to the questions would follow eventually.  One thing I do like about Ms. Moore’s stories: the questions always get answered, if not in that particular book, then in one of the following ones.  We still don’t know why the Emperor did what he did in messing with Taro and Lee’s appointment to Westsea, but I have confidence we’ll find out in the next one.

I’m giving this book 5 stars for being interesting and exciting, satisfying, plot, characterization, and for high rereadability.

5 stars

Buy on Amazon * Author’s Website * GoodReads * Shelfari

Book info: published 2011, 352 pages, ISBN 978-0441020645

Copy is from personal library.

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