I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Moth and Spark by Anne Leonard
Published: 2014 by Viking
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Source: the publisher
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Moth and Spark by Anne Leonard is a gripping blend of fantasy and romance. Prince Corin was chosen by the dragons to free them from their slavery to the empire. He has some of their powers, but doesn’t really know what they are or how to even go about his quest. He’s more concerned about taking care of his own kingdom, which is facing threats of foreign invasion.
The last thing on Corin’s mind is romance, but when he stumbles upon Tam in the library, he falls head over heels in love. Tam’s not like the other women at court, who tend to be a particularly vapid lot. She’s a commoner, but she’s educated, worldly, and has a strong work ethic. When is smart-ass in the library, she becomes the first woman to see Corin for who he is and not just look at his title. Even their disparate social standing means that Tam wouldn’t be a suitable bride for Corin, they begin a relationship anyway, and she ultimately helps him become the person he needs to be to free the dragons and save his kingdom.
And the dragons! The dragons in this world enslaved through powerful magic, and they’re bound to fighting for the empire. Each dragon has a rider, and they communicate telepathically in a sort of picture speech. Dragons don’t live in time the same way that humans do, and their perception of the world is fascinating.
I enjoyed the side characters in Moth and Spark almost as much as I enjoyed Corin and Tam. There’s the king, who seems like a kind and fatherly figure when Tam first meets him, but is revealed to be a shrewd politician whose plans and strategies for saving the kingdom were put into place years before the threat was evident to anybody else. Or Joce, the wizard/ninja. You see, everyone thinks that the wizards died out, but the king secretly employs them as spies, which goes a long way in balancing out the emperor’s dragons.
I’m a reluctant reader of most romances. I like the idea of romance novels, but in practice, I almost always end up hating them. Part of the reason is that every story needs some form of conflict, and “relationship drama” is something that I find petty and annoying. Moth and Spark is different. Corin and Tam act like grownups about their relationship, which is ultimately a solid one. The central conflict is the impact of the war and the quest to free the dragons rather than miscommunication or breaches of trust. That’s a huge part of why Moth and Spark worked for me when other romances don’t. It takes almost a quarter of the book for Corin and Tam to meet, and even though their romance is one of the central plot points, there’s also a story of war, intrigue, and magic to keep things interesting.
I’d recommend Moth and Spark for anyone looking for a standalone fantasy romance. It’s light but not too fluffy, and is perfectly suited for bouts of escapism and flights of fancy.