Title: Heroes Adrift
Author: Moira J. Moore
Genres: romance, fantasy, adventure
Age Group: older audience
Days to read it: 3
Suggested Reading Atmosphere: Read it while eating your breakfast cereal. Read during your break at work. You can probably read it anywhere and at anytime. I was reading it while simultaneously flipping through another book.
Where did I hear about it? Angieville
Recommend to: Those who have a craving for romance and fantasy and want it straightaway!
Synopsis: Lee, a shield, and her partner Karish, a source, work together to control the natural disasters that ravage the empire they live in. Lee just wants to be left alone to do her job properly, but, thanks to a past act of desperation from Karish, she and Karish find themselves assigned to a mission that places them in the middle of nowhere, with hardly any idea where to start. In addition to that, societal roles and customs that they’re used to are turned topsy-turvy, and the sweltering climate is turning them absolutely insane! In the midst of their mission of great importance, Lee and Karish discover more about themselves than they ever did before, and their bond as a Pair flares with new strength.
Impressions: From page one, I was definitely hooked, I think because Lee is such a great character. Initially, she prides herself for being able to calm her emotions, maintain a blank face, and keep her mind clear. But, as the novel progresses, her true self slowly comes out, much to the surprise of her long-time partner Taro. She’s a short tempered, dry-witted, head-strong woman. At the same time, she’s got her own insecurities, which complicates her relationship with Taro. Despite how grating her character sounds, she’s undoubtedly the gutsy heroine of the story, who definitely leads the way on this mission.
Best part of the story: When they half-buried Border, the traveling medicine man/rogue guard. That was strangely satisfying (though, I never did get a satisfying answer as to why Border decided not to return to Ertswhile once his mission was fulfilled).
Worst part of the story: The annoying islanders, who refuse to explain themselves rationally! I think this might be Lee’s influence speaking, but the Flatwell-ians were exasperatingly superstitious (not to say, I’m not superstitious myself) and I definitely felt the clashing of the cultures while reading Lee and Taro’s interactions with them.
A withered old woman was sitting on the porch, her dark skin deeply lined and her iron gray hair cropped short. She was drawing on a pipe with a long, curved stem. (…)
“Excuse me, ma’am,” I said, approaching the porch. “Are we anywhere near Pink Shell?”
She looked me over, gaze raking me from head to toe. After a long moment she pulled the pipe from her mouth. “I’m the road keeper.”
I know I stared at her far longer than was polite. She had the thickest accent I had ever heard, speaking about three sounds for every vowel in each word, and slurring the consonants together. Once I was able to figure it out, I said, “Oh.” Was that an answer to my question?
“Road tax,” she announced.
“Road tax,” I parroted with no comprehension.
She rolled her eyes. “You got ta pay the road tax.”
“I have ta—” Was she serious? “You expect us to pay a road tax?”
“Everyone pays the road tax.”
“I’m a Shield.” See the white braid? “He’s a Source.”
She looked at me blankly. “So.”
So? So?”We don’t pay taxes.” Or anything else.”
Her eyes narrowed, “Neither do thieves. ‘Til they hang.”
“Nice shirt” were the next words out of her mouth. “Like the braid.”
With a sigh of impatience she spoke again, slowly and carefully, like I was an imbecile. “I like your shirt.”
What did that have to do with anything?
And how could she possibly? Even I knew it was drab and shapeless.
“Give her your shirt, Lee,” Karish hissed at me.
“What?” Yes, I did feel like an idiot echoing the same word over and over again, but under the circumstances it was warranted. Everyone had gone insane.
“That’s the road tax. Give her your shirt.”
“That’s theft! I’m not giving her my shirt.”
“Coin’ll do too,” she said.
“That’s not the point.”
“You pay or you don’t pass.”
I raised an eyebrow at her. I pointedly looked down one side of the road, then the other. Just empty long stretches with no one but her and the two of us in sight.
“Dunleavy Mallorough!” Karish gasped with shock…
Rating: 4/5 Bench dancers