This is the seventh and final volume of Moira J. Moore’s charming and overall very entertaining series, self-published by the author when her regular publisher dropped her after Heroes at Odds. I’m not sure whether the series was supposed to have seven volumes from the start or whether the author sped things up to arrive at an ending with this installment – there do seem to be some unresolved minor threads, but everything major gets resolved nicely.
With all the enthusiastic genre-mixing this series has been doing it would have been strange if there had not been a last surprise in store for the final installment, and indeed it has – Heroes’s Reward is going all Epic Fantasy on us, with marching armies, pitched battles, a forgotten heir and stuff. Moira J. Moore really ramps things up here and raises the stakes, giving events a dramatic impact and urgency that is appropriate for a series finale. And after the (comparatively) quiet and pastoral last two volumes, Heroes’ Reward is pretty much non-stop action.
Not that non-stop that there wasn’t time left to spend on the characters, however – in fact, my favourite part in this volume was the return of Aryne (from the third novel, Heroes Adrift – the one of the piratey cover). She has matured quite a bit in the meantime, and as it turns out into a very interesting character – smart, fiery, with a decided penchant for being reckless and generally a lot of fun to read about. I’d really love to read a spin-off with her as heroine – actually, if I remember correctly, Moira J. Moore did write some stories about Aryne’s time at the Academy and published those on her website, maybe she’ll release those as an e-book some time, too… Or I could bite the bullet and read them on her website, I suppose, but I don’t really like doing that.
Anyway, Heroes’ Reward presents the satisfying conclusion to a very enjoyable but sadly underrated series. It really would have deserved to be more of a success, and I hope Moira J. Moore’s next novel will do better – I for one am definitely going to grab it when it comes out.