Published by Penguin on February 20th, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
A prince with a quest. A commoner with mysterious powers. And dragons that demand to be freed—at any cost. Prince Corin has been chosen to free the dragons from their bondage to the Empire, but dragons aren’t big on directions. They have given him some of their power, but none of their knowledge. No one, not the dragons nor their riders, is even sure what keeps the dragons in the Empire’s control. Tam, sensible daughter of a well-respected doctor, had no idea before she arrived in the capital that she is a Seer, gifted with visions. When the two run into each other (quite literally) in the library, sparks fly and Corin impulsively asks Tam to dinner. But it’s not all happily ever after. Never mind that the prince isn’t allowed to marry a commoner: war is coming to Caithen. Torn between Corin’s quest to free the dragons and his duty to his country, the lovers must both figure out how to master their powers in order to save Caithen. With a little help from a village of secret wizards and a rogue dragonrider, they just might pull it off.
How appropriate to finish and review Moth and Spark by Anne Leonard on Valentine’s Day. I’m not one to make a fuss about the holiday, but even I have to admit, if I am going to post a review on Valentine’s Day, it is very fitting that it would be for Moth and Spark. This is very much a love story. It is about freeing dragons, saving the empire and winning love. And I won’t say that it is the boy’s story to do these things, because in this the romance is also a partnership. Together, what can be accomplished is much more than individually.
The romance in Moth and Spark is an unlikely romance (and I mean unlikely in their world, obviously as readers, we are quite used to such things). When the two meet, sparks fly. They are drawn to each other as a moth to flame. You get the idea. Like I said, this is very much a story of love and romance.
Corin is, of course, the handsome prince that all the court is swooning over in hopes of landing a royal marriage. Well, maybe not all the court. Only those who have a high enough status to be deemed a worthy match swoon. The rest know their place and set their sites accordingly. But they still probably secretly fantasize.
Tam is the strikingly beautiful, incredibly witty, and very intelligent daughter of a doctor. She is a commoner who was invited to court for the first time, new to the formalities, the ways of court, and to knowing when to keep her comments to herself. Of course, these comments are why readers will enjoy her. It is also what draws Corin to her, despite the fact that she is obviously not just below, but way below what would be considered even an option for marriage. There is no falsity to her, which is a rare thing in the world he knows and Corin can’t help to appreciate and crave it.
It sounds sweet and lovely so far does it not? But, the romance is most certainly not the only part of the book. There is a plot that has found itself entwined with the couple. So much so, that it is in many ways hard to separate out. For without Tam and Corin coming together, the story would have unfolded to tell a much different tale.
Dragons are being held and forced into servitude. The Emperor that holds them has gone a bit mad and Corin has been selected by the dragons as the one to free them. Only, he does not know how to accomplish such a thing. Tam has also had brief moments to show that there is more to her than one might think. Their romance unfolds and strengthens as they work to solve problems larger than what the court might think of them as a couple.
I very much enjoyed this because it was a refreshing change of pace from my normal books. Leonard did a great job with the characters and also in keeping an appropriate balance between romance and how it plays into the plot. I also enjoyed that it was not the story of just ‘winning the prince’ but rather winning love together in the process of trying to free dragons and save the empire.
Moth and Spark will be released February 20th 2014 by Viking (Penguin Group) in the US and Headline in the UK. Many thanks to Viking (Penguin Group) and Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.