Joint Review: Moth and Spark by Anne Leonard

Publisher: Viking Adult
Where did you get the book: e-ARC from UK and US publisher
Release date: Out now

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.

mothandsparkTam, 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.

*blurb taken from Goodreads*

Lou: I can’t remember how I first heard about Moth and Spark but I knew afterwards it was something I NEEDED TO READ. So I requested a review copy and I was unbelievably excited that Viking Adult accepted my request. Moth and Spark was amazeballs. The book features a wonderful and sexy romance, dragons, and political intrigue that kept me entertained for the past two days. The book was long. Very long. BUT I ENJOYED ALL OF IT.

The story does take a while to get started. The beginning was a little abrupt and confusing. The prose in the prologue felt awkward at times, and as I read the words, they kept tripping over my tongue. Perhaps the effect was used because of the dreamlike quality of the scene.

Has: Janine from Dear Author highlighted this book for me on twitter and because I am huge fan of fantasy romance, I immediately requested it on Netgalley. I am very thankful to Headline UK for the green light because I really enjoyed Moth and Spark. It hit all the right spots for a good fantasy romance. Although I have to agree with you about the prologue; it was very vague and confusing but it did make sense in the way the events were hinted at, and is set up especially later in the plot. But I did find it hard to get into the story initially until I read the first few chapters and got to know Tam and Corin, the main leads in the story.

Both characters were engaging and likable and I loved the initial attraction that sparks off between them when they first encounter each other. There was a lovely quality to their romance which was just wonderful and sweet and I was quite surprised by the heat factor too, which i really liked.

Lou: The beginning was very vague and the beginning did finally make sense towards the later stages of the book but I think the story took a little too long to get going. But once it did I couldn’t stop reading the book. The romance was lovely, and I loved the impulsiveness and almost teenager buoyancy in their interactions; sneaking into the palace gardens, kissing and holding hands surreptitiously, keeping their romance a secret (apart from the guards) because of the war and because of Tam’s social status. But I loved that Corin was so sure of Tam, and how he tried to protect her, and then how Tam became the chaser in their romantic trysts. There was a lot of heat between them, and I so hope more romance readers pick up this book. I adored Prince Corin; he came across as normal person who was well aware of his statue but was kept down to earth by his father, Aram, The King. There was a scene where he noticed and was ashamed of the poor district. Tam was wonderful, impulsive, very intelligent and driven by logic, except when it came to Corin. I loved the dual POVs of Tam and Corin. Each had me enthralled and there wasn’t plot rehashed. The story kept moving and the tension kept building and building.

Corin’s part in the war was kept ambiguous but you knew something important was happening. His sometimes erratic behaviour and the way he behaved around dragons were major clues. I loved the scene at the fair; the imagery was stunning. I did wish we saw more of the dragons, though, because what was shown was wonderful. I didn’t know whether they were truly slaves to The Empire or if they were playing a game of their own. That being said, I think a lot of important plot points happened off page and I would have loved to have seen them played out in the book.

Has: I second that romance readers will love this book! I loved their scenes together with their sneaking around and flirty banter. It was a nice balance to the darkness and creepy atmosphere which is in the backdrop of the story. I found both the romantic tension and the political intrigue, which added to the tense overtones, really sucked me into the story which is a good thing because this was a huge book and I found that I lost almost an entire weekend reading.

But I agree about the world-building, especially the magical elements and the rules behind that needed more expanding. The romance and political intrigue, along with the different factions in the war, was fantastic because it created a complex backdrop which intertwined beautifully. But I definitely wished there was more time and details spent on the fantasy aspects which was surprisingly light, especially in the beginning. I did feel when the dragons became more of the focus in the plot, that the fantasy aspects became stronger. But I was still left a tad dissatisfied with the lack of details on the world-building about the magic especially with the dragon and their riders and seers and other magical users. However, I loved the imagery and description when the magical facets appeared. Anne Leonard created vivid and even creepy, chilling scenes which added to the atmosphere of the book. The scene in the beginning of the book, when Tam encounters a murdered courtier and sees moths escaping from his mouth put chills down my back.

Lou: I wanted to learn more about the Wizards who were also secretly known as the Basilisk. I also wanted to see more of Aram, The King, who was also a badass. I loved Joce, the spy wizard, who was also a badass.

Many baddasess in this book!

I hope the author writes more in this world because there’s so much to explore. Did I mention Joce? I have a book crush on Joce. What we saw of him left me wanting more. Coz. he’s. a badass. It’s wonderful that this book was a stand-alone because towards the end I was getting worried about how everything would turn out. There is a lot of death in this book and violence but it’s not graphic; a lot of violence happens off page which I was happy about because I’m not a huge fan. I can’t wait to visit this world again, and I will please and beg this author to write more books in this series. Hopefully with some romance pairings. *hint hint*

All in all, I gave Moth and Spark a B+

Has: I really really hope that Anne Leonard revisits this world, although I was left very happy with the way it ended. There is definitely much more scope to explore with those side characters (and yes I want more Joce and Kevlan because they really stood out to me as potential leading heroes). And there are some potential plot threads that I would like to see develop especially with supporting characters in the lead!

Moth and Spark was an impressive debut, which was filled with rich and imaginative imagery, a wonderful, sweet love story that had also had a touch of heat amongst a political intrigue backdrop. Even though I wished the world-building was expanded and explained a bit more. I adored the romance between Corin and Tam, which I think will definitely appeal to romance readers. But the courtly and political tensions and the build up of an epic war with powerful dragons also produced suspense left me guessing till the last page. I really enjoyed Moth and Spark and I loved the world that Anne Leonard created which was a fantastic mish mash of different elements from romance, epic fantasy, steampunk and even horror. I will definitely be checking out her next book, because I think she is a promising new voice especially for fantasy romance!

I also give Moth and Spark a B+

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