Thursday, February 17, 2011

Resenting the Hero

UPDATE: David informs me that my review is lean on real info about the book,  for example . . . "Why would I want to read it." So, here's a bone for those of you who like more of a teaser. (In purple to match the ridiculous cover. Don't worry, no spoilers.)

In this world of extremes, the population is constantly threatened by violent atmospheric events (earthquakes, floods, tsunamis). A few gifted people "Sources" are able to channel their mental resources to dispel these events, but left undefended, they die in the process without protection from a "Shield"--another gifted person capable of reaching into the Source to regulate heartrate, shield the mind, and whatever else is necessary to help the Source survive channeling.

The story begins as novice Shield (and smart girl) Dunleavy Mallorough is waiting for her pairing ceremony--where Sources and Shields are brought together for the first time to see who, if any, will "bond." Bonding is instantaneous, spontaneous and permanent. Source and Shield will be connected for life and when one dies, so does the other.

Lee (Dunleavy)has read up on the Source candidates and is appalled when she bonds with overly beautiful Source Shintaro Karish, widely known for his pretty face, excessive philandering, and general debaucheries. But, he's a mighty fine Source: the only one who can sense an event before it arrives, which gets them immediately stationed in the largest and most difficult, weather-torn city on the planet--High Scape. So begins a rocky friendship. 

If this channeling and bonding business sounds weird, it's only because I'm not Moira Moore. It's all very convincing, and our new heroes are flung into an impossible setting where more experienced pairs have failed.
For all it's adventure, the story is also very sociological. The pairing situation creates some unusual dynamics, and injustices surface like they do in any culture. It's a very real world.

One more thing: I am VINDICATED in my LOW opinion of the title and cover, by this hilarious review at Angieville. (I'm not just being picky.)

Now, as we were . . . 

I just finished this fun book. 

NOTE:  This is the all-time WORST cover I've ever seen, mostly based on its total irrelevance: nowhere in the story does anyone polish a man's boots. The characters look like idiots, and that bubble cloud makes it look like some kind of Sweet Valley tween drivel--very misleading. This is not a romance. It's also not for young YA (sorry, Lizzy). It's got some heavy themes, though nothing graphic. 

As long as I'm complaining, it's a poor title as well.  I imagine Ms Moore had some fine words for her publisher.

BUT, don't let all that dissuade you.  This is a great story. I read about the series on my favorite YA book blog:  Interest piqued, I got it from the library, thought I'd read a few pages before sleep--ha! 

I read deep into the night until the book hit my face and finished it the next night. It's a very compelling story, and her writing style is quick and immediate. She covers all the background you need in just a few pages and the story is off and running.

I started to write a long description of the setting and characters, but I realized part of the fun is discovering this unusual world and this pair of characters. For setting, think 18th century Europe or maybe more like 19th century America (roughly!) but on a different planet. That's all I'll say.

I was a little disturbed by too many allusions to sexual forays, even homosexual flirtations--not my fare for YA--but we never see anything overt or explicit. And that ends in the first half.

Still, she's an excellent storyteller. I couldn't put it down. Very interesting social constructs drive this unusual culture. It made me think about our own world. 

I've vowed not to start the next book until my work is done for the week. I can see from other reviews that they're all productivity killers. 



Diane said...

I don't think I can read any more of your book reviews. I get too engrossed in the books, then have to scramble around getting back into real life afterward.

But of course, I will not be able to change my ways. Thankfully.

Dave and Bianca Lisonbee said...


If the book is anywhere near as enjoyable to read as your review of it is then I'm sure it is well worth the read.