Dunleavy Mallorough has prepared for years to be a Shield, and it's finally the big day, when she will be Chosen (hopefully) by the Source she will be paired with for life. Together Source and Shield are a bonded Pair, who work together to keep their world safe from the natural disasters that beset it.
To Dunleavy's chagrin, she is Chosen by the Source she finds unbearable: the fabled Shintaro Karish, who is not only handsome and noble-born, but popular, self-assured and heroic. Lee wants to do her job and stay out of the way but she is stuck with someone who will always be in the spotlight. To make things worse, the Pair are assigned to High Scape, a city so bedeviled by natural disasters that seven Pairs are assigned there.
That's where things really get interesting, when a disaster kills off all the other Pairs, leaving Kintaro and his reluctant partner the only ones standing between the city and complete destruction....
This is a fun set-up for a fantasy series. I liked the concept of the bonded Pairs (this isn't a romantic situation, although it has potential--but Pairs aren't supposed to get involved with each other) and the way they work together to diffuse energy of storms, earthquakes and other natural disasters. The hidden politics of the system of service were also intriguing, though mostly just alluded to in this book, the first in a series. I definitely hope to see the shadowy background emerge in more detail as the books go on.
What was a little less enthralling, unfortunately, was the main character the reader is supposed to identify with, Dunleavy (Lee to her friends). There is no really good reason for her antipathy to Karish and he never seems to show any of the traits she supposedly despises in him. In fact, he does everything he can to be friendly and work well with her. He in fact seemed to be something of a blandly pleasant non-entity most of the time, and it was hard to see either what was so charming and heroic about him or what was so irritating to Dunleavy.
However, the plot that these characters were enmeshed in definitely held my attention: what (or who) is causing the increasingly powerful and seemingly targetted disasters in High Scape? Is it something about the cities, or the Pairs themselves that is drawing the events, events that almost seem like attacks? Although I found myself impatient with Lee and wondering what the big deal was about Karish, I was drawn in and found myself turning the pages quickly.
I look forward to more from this first-time author and hope to see more development of these two characters as well as the interesting supporting cast, and the rather fascinating world they live in, in future installments.
I know others have mentioned this. And the viewer can see the cover themselves. With that title and that cover it sounds like a romance novel of opposites within a rather bland fantasy setting. Even the description on the back cover doesn't quite clear this up. And the title is of no help at all. This is not a romance, it is not quite a traditional fantasy tale, and it is not a comic fantasy of the Craig Shaw Gardiner variety. In this case, don't judge the book by its cover or title.
What this book is, is a fairly brisk paced story in a medieval-style setting. That it happens to be on a planet where long ago starships came and settled is the only real SF link to the story. The rest can fall comfortably into the fantasy realm, though there's none of the typical swords and sorcery here. There are some form of paranormal powers however that can affect natural events, and even stop catastrophic events like earthquakes from happening. This is the job of Pairs, two people bonded together with complementary gifts. Dunleavy Mallorough is a newly minted Sheild hoping for a worthy bond with a responsible Source. What she gets is Lord Shintaro Karish and some very interesting times indeed. This reluctant Pair soon find themselves the only ones who can stop the sinister plotting that could mean the death of thousands of people, and they'll have to work together to do it.
For a debut novel from this author, it's not bad. The writing is steady and compelling, the world building is decent and the author's created an intriguing premise with her Pairs of Sheilds and Sources. Even the fairly cut and dried plot isn't a bad one. I was impressed that the author was able to expand upon the talents of the Source and Sheild to make them interesting and engaging. That peice of original design kept the story from becoming too run of the mill or familiar. One of the authors best bits of writing is whenever her main character encounters music. The descriptions are rich and vivid and provide some key character building to the story. Other than the fact that I started off thinking this was a comic fantasy and finding out otherwise, my chief complaint is character. This is a big issue for me, since I read for character first and foremost in a story. Dunleavy's dislike of Taro based on mere rumor is very over the top, and it was very hard to be charitable towards her at all, especially when the rumors did not match his behavior. Taro, on the other hand, is painfully bland--he's friendly, handsome, generous and just seems like a decent fellow with good-looks and a few extra talents. I would have liked to see more friction between them because of actual personality clashes rather that Dunleavy's own personal prejudice against him. Neither character has a true depth of personality or a sense of the profound about them. Perhaps its the fact that Dunleavy is essentially narrating the story, so the story is filtered through her character. If so, I still feel like more could have been done to fill out the characters and make them more three dimensional.
Still, overall this was a good romp, and a decent recreational read for fantasy lovers. Those who like this and would enjoy other fantasy reads might want to check out the sequel, The Hero Strikes Back (the cover is still pretty bad) and also might want to look for The Prince of Ill-Luck by Susan Dexter or Bronwyn's Bane by Elizabeth Scarborough.
Happy Reading ^_^ Shanshad
on June 27, 2006
Like many of the reviewers on this book, I agree this world has a great deal of potential. I enjoyed Karish's character and look forward to reading more about him and this world. Hopefully, though, we'll leave Dunleavy's character behind--her grudge against Karish exists merely because of her believing rumors of his behavior--ironic, given Dunleavy would consider another person doing this in a similar situation an absolute travesty. I couldn't quite get through to the end because while I wanted Karish to win the day, I really wanted Dunleavy left behind. Let us hear more of their world, and perhaps Dunleavy won't be such a stick in the mud in future endeavors.
on July 30, 2006
Resenting the Hero is an entertaining read, although I had reservations with the characters and storytelling. I still read it in one day (amazing, considering I haven't finished a book in a few months).
Synopsis: In a world beset by chaotic weather patterns, only the Sources and Shields stand between the people and disaster. Dunleavy Mallorough is a Shield, matched to Shintaro Karish, a Source with a reputation for living wildly and sleeping with half the population. They're assigned to High Scape, a city so surrounded with extreme weather that it takes 7 Pairs to protect the city. When a strange force begins killing off the Pairs, it's up to Dunleavy and Karish to discover the reasons.
Review: I enjoyed the world Moore has created - and look forward to more from this series. There's a lot of possibilities the author can explore in this world, and the added mystery of why the Academies control their Sources and Shields so much will definitely play into future books. Perhaps my favorite character was Karish, as told through Dunleavy's point of view. He has a sense of responsibility and honor that becomes very obvious.
Which is why I didn't understand Dunleavy's continued resentment and dislike of Karish. Throughout most of the book, although there is a lot of evidence that Karish is a good, responsible Source despite his partying ways, she continually sees him as irresponsible and overbearing. Dunleavy herself came across as a stuffy stick-in-the-mud. Maybe the author meant for her to be that way (after all, the essence of good fantasy is watching your characters grow and mature). Despite having cause to be a bit naive in the ways of the world, Dunleavy just doesn't seem to be a good judge of character at all. Her self-righteous attitude also started getting on my nerves. I simply couldn't connect with this character.
By the time we get to the climax of the book, I had to pause because when the entire villianous plot was revealed, I had a moment of "buh?" This is it? The villains themselves didn't seem very intelligent or planned out. but then again, complete and total madness doesn't make for much logic. In general, many of the characters' actions and reactions didn't seem based on any reasoning. I decided to place this with maybe the author's storytelling methods. There is a scarcity of clues to why secondary characters act the way they do, and maybe this is because we're seeing the action through Dunleavy's limited point-of-view.
All the same, the book worked for me and I'll look forward to the sequel. The author managed to pull all these pieces together and have a good story to tell. It's not quite a romance, though there is some hint that maybe there'll be one (I'm not holding my breath, however). There are lovely moments of affection between Karish and Dunleavy in the end.
on January 31, 2011
On the surface this may seem like a quirky fun book, with it's title and comical cover. On the cover it gives the blurb "She wanted someone reliable. Instead she got him..." well, I would like to switch that around. HE wanted someone reliable. Instead, he got her.
This was a very interesting book. The author does a good job easing you nicely into the fantasy world (one which has a slight SF background that seems rather unnecessary). The idea of Source and Shield working together to protect the world from disaster is very interesting and the plot, while rather flat at times, still kept me interested and wondering what was going to happen next. Really, this would have been a 4 or even 5 star book...were it not for her.
We are unfortunately put in the viewpoint of the heroine of this novel, Dunleavy "Lee" Mallorough, a very plain girl who from page 1 resents the fact that she's being paired with Lord Shintaro Karish, an aristocrat and playboy who loves to drink and always has a woman. At least, this is what Lee hears about Karish, but in fact during the book we hardly see any of these traits. From the beginning Karish seems kind, charming, and yes a bit flirty and adventurous but certainly not in a way that was annoying. He seemed like a generally nice guy, and yet Lee insists on hating him and being annoyed by him throughout the novel. She is cold, arrogant, and often takes Karish offerings of friendship as him wanting Lee to obsess over him. Lee is convinced that Karish hates the fact that she doesn't worship the ground he walks on, when in reality it seems clear that Karish just wants to be friends with her.
Lee also seems to be a bit in the background at times, watching the plot from the side. I think it would have been much better if we saw the story from Karish's POV, because not only would we get a much better personality but we could get a more first-hand experience of the power Karish deals with and the dangerous trouble he faces in High Scape.
But despite Lee's rather annoying personality, this book still kept me reading until the very end and I might be tempted to even buy the next book, if only to see if Lee's character improves at all. So all in all Lee was irritating, Karish was okay, and the plot was rather interesting.
on February 28, 2006
I picked up this book by chance at the bookstore the other day, because I was intrigued by the title. The book did not disappoint: it's got an interesting, believable setting, engaging characters, and a satisfying mystery. I had a hard time putting it down, and finished it just this morning; now I can't wait for the next in the series, <em>The Hero Strikes Back</em>!
RESENTING THE HERO is the start to an excellent series, much better than you'd guess looking at the title or cover art. I decided to trust other reviews pointing this out, and now I'm repeating it in mine because it's true.
The origin story for this fantasy series sets up the odd world where Lee and Taro, our hero and heroine, have their adventures: nearly six hundred years before the start of the story, spaceships descended from the sky. The passengers intended to settle, but when their sophisticated machinery didn't operate properly and the beautiful landscape was constantly beset by terrible natural disasters, most of them packed up and left. The result? The state of technology is relatively primitive, but morals are relatively modern. Example: characters travel on land via carriages but enjoy near total gender equality. Since I really like a good medieval-style sword and sorcery novel and also really enjoy modern sensibilities, I was pretty tickled by how cleverly this world was designed.
The zeitgeist is familiar, rational and scientific, with the notable exception of the Sources and Shields - who are able, through their combined efforts, to "channel" the energy of natural disasters into a harmless form. Sources channel the energy, and Shields stop them from dying in the process. While any Shield and Source can work together, almost all of them bond to a particular partner, forming a Pair. The connection is instant and life-long, and if one member of the Pair dies, the other does too.
The narrator, Dunleavy Mallorough (Lee), is a Shield, and a very gifted one. Shields are unemotional, sensible people who are numbed to physical sensations like pain but profoundly, intensely affected by music. Lee is intensely practical, intensely cerebral, with a wicked dry wit. She's very funny, though sometimes it's just because she finds regular people - people with emotions - completely mystifying.
Much has been made of Lee's dislike for the Source she's matched up with - handsome, aristocratic, charming, and wildly talented Shintaro Karish (Taro). After all, what's to dislike about being professionally attached at the hip to a bona-fide hero? Well, as Lee points out, "I would die with this man. He'd catch some sexual disease, or some enraged spouse would kill him, and the bond would drag me down with him. He was that sort, the sort that shone too bright and burned out fast." Can I just say that I love her narrative voice? Lee is straightforward, always cutting right to the stinging heart of the matter. And Taro shines brightly indeed. It would be noble of Lee to want her destiny tied to his - but it's sensible to hope for something less dramatic.
RESENTING THE HERO seems to wander a bit as Lee and Taro meet up, travel to their assigned city of High Scape, and settle in. But the wandering is an illusion - everything adds up at the end, as the Pair unravel a plot to destroy the city. I've read all four books currently available in the series, and I really like the way that the series is going. Not only do Lee and Taro develop as characters, but the world they live in does too. Big changes are afoot, and Lee and Taro are at the center of them. But the real centerpiece of this series, it's spine and chief delight, is the relationship between Lee and Taro - opposites in almost every way, they are excellent partners to one another.
By the time I cracked RESENTING THE HERO open, I'd been sufficiently warned not to be deterred by the ridiculous cover and anemic title. It's difficult to get past the outside, they said, but persevere you must. The cover is truly cringe-worthy. But the contents are not. The story has its laughable parts. But they're meant to be funny. So that's all right.
Lee (short for Dunleavy) Mallorough has trained her entire life to be a Shield. Shields work together with their Source counterparts. Sources have an uncanny ability to detect natural disasters and avert them. Unfortunately, channeling that much power is guaranteed to kill a Source, unless he or she is bonded to a Shield, whose job it is to protect the Source's mind for the duration of the channeling. A few times a year, unbound Sources and Shields are brought together for The Choosing. Tradition has it that the first time a proper pair sets eyes on each other, the bonding occurs and they both just know. And to make The Choosing even more nerve wracking, the pairing is a lifelong bond. When one dies, so does the other. So, yeah. No pressure.
Suffice it to say Lee is less than thrilled when she looks up into the eyes of Taro (short for Shintaro) Karish, the infamous golden boy of the Source-and-Shield world, and just knows. The unlikely and, on Lee's part, completely unwilling pair are immediately assigned duty in High Scape--the most hazardous city in their world. Shortly after they arrive, a series of inexplicably powerful disasters strike the city, cutting down all but the newest Pair. Lee and Taro are left alone to protect the city and discover the force at the root of the disasters. Moira J. Moore has set up a rather unique fantasy world and two interesting, complex characters whose strengths and insecurities drive the story. I liked Lee and Taro and the fact that things didn't feel rushed. This is the first in a series and there is plenty of room for development and exploration, inside and out.
on November 15, 2007
Dunleavy Mallorough is a shield, a psychic who shields a more powerful psychic while he or she manipulates magical energy usually to prevent natural disasters. When it comes to be Dunleavy's time to be chosen (a process similar to lifebonding), she is shocked and horrified when she is bonded to Karish, a young man whom she assumes is irresponsible and vain. When Karish is abducted Dunleavy decides to rescue him with unexpected results.
I enjoyed this book. Moore's voice is entertaining and while not especially original, is a new take on the lifebonding issue I have not seen before. There is a certain 'herald of Valdemar' feel to the story. Bisexuality is quite common amongst characters and gayness is dealt with frank candor.
My big issue with the story was Dunleavy herself. I felt she was rather unlikable especially where Karesh is concerned. Dunleavy treats Karesh at best with indifference and worse as though he is a child incapable of telling right from wrong. Though in part this is the result of her training, she seemed an observant intelligent individual so I found it rather grating that she kept making so many assumptions about him.
I also felt the cover of this book is entirely inappropriate. It makes Karesh look like an idiot and the heroine look like she was a slave. At no point did she ever clean Karesh's boots, nor do I think she would if she could.
Overall, this was an entertaining novel, that could've been better if I warmed up to Dunleavy. I prefered Karesh to her hands down. 4 stars.
on March 5, 2006
Found this book by chance and finished it in two reasonable reading sessions. I enjoyed the premise of the Shields and Sources, the story of the disasters, but the books lacks some necessary character development to make it a five star effort. In fact, it feels like a short story that was lengthened to short novel. It could have been twice as long, it was that intriguing, but the author stayed with the tale. I just don't know why the big issue of resentment, nor why Taro the Source had such a reputation for being a partying cad. Don't know how or why Aidan fell in love with Lee the main charater, but frankly I enjoyed the ride as it was. The story line was interesting and well developed, and the writing was really well done, very natural first person tone, and viewpoint-- I think this bodes well for this author as she writes more. I'm really looking forward to the next effort in the story, which will likely flesh out some of the backstories, and build more depth in this new world.