Author: Anne Leonard
Published: February 2014
Source: NetGalley and the lovely Gillian Berry from Writer of Wrongs sent me a physical ARC
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.
I liked this, marginally. I wanted to love it, but I liked it. The basic fantasy angles are all there from early on -- dragons, fairly well-drawn worldbuilding, characters with charisma -- but then the narrative met the ill-advised romance and the actual plot and progression seemed to die. The writing style itself is odd and distancing, but just needs an initial adjustment.
The problem lies with the plot, or lack thereof. When I wanted dragons and air battles and blood and vengeance and princely quests... I got an illicit romance that took up far more than its far share of attention. I got lovers waxing on at length about their love, their soulmate, their relationship...For me, Moth and Spark was more about a central romance than anything else once Tam and Corin become together. I have nothing against romance novels. But when I am promised a fantasy with dragons, I expect more dragons and less candelit dinner dates.
The characters' relationship and the book's chosen narrow focus will work for some readers, but for me, it rang hollow and was a sorry substitute for all the other awesome Moth and Spark could have offered in their relationships' stead. The worldbuilding faltered after a promising start, the magic angle was sorely neglected, all in favor of a narrative that focused too narrowly on Tam and Corin. Despite my disappointment, I can't say it was a particularly memorable for this particular fantasy fan.