Tuesday, September 16, 2014


Title: Moth and Spark
Author: Anne Leonard
Publisher: Viking Adult
Publication Date: February 20, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Reviewed by: Ellen Fritz
Ellen’s rating: 3/5


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.


Being a lover of fantasy, I looked forward to reading Moth and Spark. Prince Corin of Caithen, very obviously under some compulsion in the beginning of the story, has war coming at his country from two directions. Tam, very beautiful but not of high birth, can assist Corin in his quest with her seer's gift. Although the prince is not supposed to court a commoner, in times of war exceptions are made.

Despite the captivating beginning and lively, action-packed final third of this book, it is top heavy with the romance between Corin and Tam. Add to this the court intrigue and numerous girls fawning over their love interests, and the middle of this book reads a bit like a Jane Austen novel.

Although the characters are generally realistic and lifelike, I found Tam a bit too good to be true. At least Corin, though also a bit too much the perfect prince, fortunately comes across as more prone to human failure. He makes mistakes, has doubts and doesn't always play open cards with either Tam or his father, king Aram. 

I absolutely loved the dragons in this book. The way the dragon riders can communicate with the dragons and with one another is unique and imaginative. The world building in Moth and Spark is creative and extensive enough for the purposes of this story.
Moth and Spark is a comfortably paced, light fantasy especially suitable for those who prefer a heavy dose of romance. I would, however, warn readers not to approach this book with the same expectations as for series like A Song of Ice and Fire or even The Lord of the Rings.  

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I've written since I was a kid. Fantasy and SF always drew me because of the fun of world-building. I've had lots of jobs and took many detours to publication, but writing is and always will be my real job.

Education (perhaps too much): BA from St. John's College Annapolis, MFA in fiction from the University of Pittsburgh, Ph.D. in English literature from Kent State University, and a J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. 

Personal: Husband, son, 2 black cats. Major hobby is photography. Foolishly, I support the Chicago Cubs.

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