Note: Also known as the "Lee and Taro" series, to its author.
On a world where the weather can kill you, certain folks have evolved with the ability to take care of this. Sources can stop bad weather (at the cost of their own lives), Shields can stop the Source from dropping dead. At first sight, Sources and Shields will form a spontaneous and permanent Psychic Link (of sorts) and Synchronization, bonding them together for life on a professional level.
This series is notable for taking the romanticized idea of being bonded to another person for life (which the general population thinks is romantic) and pointing out every disadvantage that could happen. Especially if you are bound for life to a jerk, an abuser, a killer, etc. and your life and career are totally screwed because of what your partner did. The public tends to romanticize the idea, but in practice, most partners are friendly, neutral, or hate each other.
Our heroine, Shield Dunleavy "Lee" Mallorough, ends up being paired with Source Lord Shintaro "Taro" Karish. Karish is the guy everyone but Lee wanted as their Source. He's handsome, charming, titled, and Even the Guys Want Him. Lee, on the other hand, thinks of herself as a Shrinking Violet (she's not), and is pretty horrified to find herself tied to the world's biggest hero. Being treated as the satellite to the world's biggest shining star isn't too fun, and there's the possibility that Karish might end up having to stop being a Source to tend to more noble duties.
During the course of the series, Lee realizes that Taro's not a bad guy, and unclenches some. Taro has to deal with his unwanted noble heritage. Both of them deal with tons of bad weather and what/who may be causing it. And then there's the time the Empress asks them to do a job for her...
Books in the series are:
- Resenting the Hero
- The Hero Strikes Back
- Heroes Adrift
- Heroes At Risk
- Heroes Return
- Heroes At Odds
- Above the Influence: Music makes Lee horny, and she ends up breaking off her own seduction until she's calmed down.
- Aristocrats Are Evil
- Backstory: Everyone thinks Taro must have had a great childhood, but it involved an Evil Matriarch, Cain and Abel, Big Screwed-Up Family, and being The Unfavourite.
- Birthmark of Destiny: The royal family all have a royal birthmark indicating as such.
- Black Magic which worryingly seems to work to diminish the natural disasters. As long as you kill people and/or use their ashes for spell work.
- Boarding School
- Bodyguard Crush: If you regard Lee as Taro's bodyguard, of sorts.
- Born Lucky: this isn't so much a good thing to have going for you in this world...
- Brought Down to Normal: kind of subverted in Heroes Adrift. Lee and Taro don't lose their powers, but the weather doesn't kill in the south, and their powers are utterly useless and unneeded there. This forces them to have to work for a living when they don't have any other job skills. Why, yes, that does make them Fish Out of Water.
- Chekhov's Gun: Aryne may very well end up being this, since she's the only other person of Royal Blood to rival the Emperor...
- Chekhov's Skill: Lee's bench dancing comes in handy in book 3.
- The Chessmaster: Creol
- Cloudcuckoolander: Sources are generally regarded as this.
- Cult and Human Sacrifice, of course, combined with A Fete Worse Than Death.
- Curse: the curse on the troupe in Heroes Adrift forces them not to stay in place for more than three nights, or a troupe member dies.
- Distinguishing Mark: a royal tattoo.
- Emotions vs. Stoicism: Sources are supposedly more emotional than the general population, and Shields are supposed to be less emotional, both by inclination and by training to balance out/manage the Sources.
- Fantasy Contraception: an actively working Source or Shield won't get pregnant due to channeling.
- God Save Us From the Queen
- Happily Married and Wedding Day: Lee and Taro finally get married in book six.
- Heroes Want Redheads
- Inadequate Inheritor: Aryne. For now, anyway...
- Kid Sidekick: Aryne
- Kryptonite Factor: Shields have a tendency to go crazy/horny/berserk when music is played. Weaksauce Weakness might apply here as well with the Shields's other physical quirk, having less ability to feel physical things than regular people.
- Last-Name Basis
- Magically-Binding Contract: signed when you join the troupe in Heroes Adrift. Lee and Taro don't seem to "get" what that means. In Heroes At Odds, the marriage contract the Malloroughs signed with the Pride family appears to be this as well.
- Meaningful Name: A one-off joke in the second book has a Beatrice and Benedict Pair (opposite genders from what you expect), who hate each other. Also, the Pride family.
- The Mole
- Only Sane Man: arguably Fiona and Dane in Flown Raven, where the populace insists on hating her no matter how much she protects them, and her relatives spend their time hanging around pouting.
- Parental Abandonment: this is pretty much forced on any parent of a Source or Shield.
- Perpetual Poverty: Triple S members don't get paid for their work, but they get free housing and can get everything (mostly) they want for free by law. You want a dress, you want a drink, just walk in, ask, get it for free! This is a lot worse than it sounds, given that all shopkeepers resent the hell out of the Triple S every time someone walks into their establishment. And in the southern islands, it's disregarded entirely.
- Prodigal Family: Lee, Taro, and Aryne all have them.
- Psychic Link: doesn't work in the usual way with mind reading, but Sources and Shields have a physical link to each other on some level.
- The Quest: the plot of Heroes Adrift.
- Rags to Royalty: Totally subverted, as Taro goes the other direction.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Fiona, especially compared to the Karish family preceding her.
- She Cleans Up Nicely: happens to Lee (who isn't terribly interested in fashion and maintenance) in every book whenever she's forced to dress up.
- The Stoic: Shields are generally regarded as this.
- Stranger in a Familiar Land: Heroes Return if you're Taro, otherwise if you're Lee.
- Succession Crisis: after Taro's brother dies, he's the heir and doesn't want to be. His mother is quite insistent on him being the heir anyway. No matter what. Another one seems to be brewing between Emperor Gifford and Aryne.
- Talent Show: a mandatory one in High Scape.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension and Will They or Won't They?, Relationship Upgrade in book 3
- Urban Legend Love Life: Lee believes every rumor she hears about Taro being "the Stallion of the Triple S", but we haven't actually seen him boinking anyone other than Lee in book 3. Taro says about this, "I couldn't breathe with as many people as they claim I've slept with. And when would I get the chance? I was always supervised."
- Values Dissonance: on the southern continent, Lee is considered attractive and Taro isn't. Lee is utterly weirded out by this.
- The White Prince: arguably Taro once he got to Source school, since he'd spent NO time out in the real world whatsoever.