Review: Moth and Spark

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Moth and SparkMoth and Spark by Anne Leonard
Published by Viking Adult on February 20, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 384
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
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three-stars

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.

Moth and Spark got my attention with that pretty cover. Then there was the blurb with dragons and romance. That sounds like so much a Christina book that I simply had to have it. Up front, I do want to warn you that, as the blurb suggests, romance definitely outweighs the fantasy plot line. If the romance aspect doesn’t interest you, this might not be the book for you.

My primary enjoyment lay in two things: the writing and the character of Tam. Leonard’s writing is lush and filled with detail. It’s quite beautiful and sometimes I like to sit back and soak up some gorgeously ornate writing. There were a couple of weird quirks to it that I didn’t care for however. One is the preponderance of comma splices in dialog. The other, rather stranger, is that it was occasionally difficult to tell who was speaking, because Leonard didn’t use either Tam or Corin’s names in the dialog tags; they were always “he said” or “she said.” I can’t think why, but this occasionally resulted in me guessing who was talking.

Tam is a delight. Aside from the romance itself, she’s calm and steadfast. In one of her first scenes, a man dies a gruesome death at her feet. Rather than swooning or crying, she alerts the guards to fetch the doctor and speculates at what caused his death. Of course, she was lucky enough to be well-educated and be one of the only people in the kingdom with the knowledge of that particular poison, since her dad was the one who wrote about it, but still. She describes herself this way, by all the things which she is not:

“I am not a poetess. Patient. Either brokenhearted or engaged. A good archer or rider. A spendthrift. A faithful correspondent. Uneducated. An older sister. Kind or a drunkard.”

Basically any time a heroine lists herself as not being kind, you can bet I’m going to like her. This is exhibited in several instances as well, with her tendency to reproof people above her station, even if it’s not a good idea. She’s witty, clever and pulls no tongue-lashing punches.

The romance in Moth and Spark is instalove of highest proportions. They fall in love with one another within five days. Actually, they both claim it happened the first time they saw one another, probably because they’re both incredibly attractive. For all that I hate instalove, I will acknowledge that it’s well done here. There is a real connection between the two, and, while I would have shipped it more had their been more time, I did think they had true feelings for one another. It was clear that they cared about each other’s good qualities and the bad ones too. Still, the ease with which Corin trusted her and the quickness with which their relationship was accepted was far-fetched.

The fantasy plot line is interesting, but does suffer some from the lack of time devoted to it. The dragons are scarcely in the book, I warn you. I do like that the dragons are clearly intelligent and speak a language all their own, too complex for humans, but their subjugation is upsetting and its mythos puzzling. The resolution of the fantasy arc happens too easily as well. What’s here is compelling, but clearly wasn’t the aspect that Leonard was most interested in, so it’s not as well fleshed out as I would have preferred.

For all that, I did like Moth and Spark. It wasn’t everything I hoped, but it was still beautiful in its own slow way. I definitely will check out more of Leonard’s work, because she shows a lot of talent and I look forward to seeing her grow as an author.

Favorite Quote:

“I regretfully must decline, my lord,” she said, “as I have already been engaged for the first three dances.”

“I will take the fourth,” he said, in the tone of one who is used to receiving what he demands. She had never heard Corin use that voice, not even to servants. It riled her.

“I’m afraid that will not be possible, your lordship,” she said. She shouldn’t, she shouldn’t. But the words would not stay back. “I’ve just decided to give it to the first gentleman who asks me courteously.”

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

we shall be married in the morning

7 responses to “Review: Moth and Spark”

  1. Kayla Beck says:

    I am all about getting my hands on this book! I promised myself a new pretty after I get through some of my review pile for the year. And I have to wait for the price of this one to go down. There’s no WAY that I’m paying $20 for a hardcover! *faints* Anywho, I interested in it before, but I really want it now after reading your review. I love romantic fantasy novels if they’re done right. 🙂
    Kayla Beck recently posted…Review: Ask Again Later by Liz CzukasMy Profile

  2. It definitely sounds like Tam is a great character! I always hate when a character calls themselves a certain thing but then never do anything to prove why they say that they’re “funny” or something like that. It’s great that she’s levelheaded, especially with how she knows exactly what to do when someone dies in front of her. Also, ew on the instalove. While it can be realistic, it rarely happens. Fantastic review, Christina! <33
    Eileen @ Singing and Reading in the Rain recently posted…Sourcebooks/Wattpad Tour StopMy Profile

  3. I loved this but wanted more..more dragon time, more plot time and more of this awesome couple. Yes I agree the romance was well done and I believed. Awesome review
    kimbacaffeinate recently posted…Come a Little Bit Closer by Bella AndreMy Profile

  4. I like that you liked Moth And Spark. 🙂

    I loved this book, but you know I don’t pay attention to comma splices or anything of that nature.

    Also, yeah they were totally instaloving, but at least it was done well.
    April Books & Wine recently posted…Allison: Christmas in Snowflake Canyon | RaeAnne Thayne | DNF ReviewMy Profile

  5. Bonnie says:

    Meh, I was on the fence about this one but I think this decides it. Not for me. I feel I also would have wanted more dragons and definitely less instalove. Boo.
    Bonnie recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday – Currently UnfinishedMy Profile

  6. Anya says:

    “ease with which Corin trusted her and the quickness with which their relationship was accepted was far-fetched” this! I also started counting the number of time they were messing around and then heard voices/footsteps approaching and it got a bit ridiculous ;-). I was either not in the right mood for this one or this just wasn’t the book for me since I couldn’t handle the romance angle at all D:
    Anya recently posted…Do You Get Audiobook Slumps?My Profile

  7. Hmm I’m a bit sad to see that the dragons don’t get a lot of time and that the story takes a back seat to the love, but I think I’m still on board for this one. Great review!
    Michelle @ In Libris Veritas recently posted…Mini-Read Review: Poison Dance by Livia BlackburneMy Profile

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