I’ve been getting more into adult epic fantasy lately. I can thank Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings. When I had the opportunity to feature Anne Leonard and her new fantasy book Moth and Spark, I jumped at the chance after reading the blurb. From the description it seemed to have all my favorite elements for an epic fantasy. And though it took me a bit to get into the book, I’m glad I kept reading.
Though I don’t usually like to, I’m going to use the online summary of the book for your reading pleasure (they say it really succinctly):
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.
The hardest part of this book for me is something I struggle with in general with high fantasy: the unfamiliarity of the world. It took me a bit to sort out what was happening, who was bad, how the government of this world was run, but once I got it I really got it. I say this because I know a lot of people who read fantasy won’t struggle with this like I do, and that’s my main “complaint”, if you want to call it that.
The book starts with some serious stuff happening in a prologue, and so immediately you have some big knowledge that the main characters aren’t aware of at the start. It helps make sense of motivations and political moves, and the whole time I was reading the first half of the book I was so curious how the info given at the beginning was going to play into the rest of the story. It plays out well, and I thought it was a wise choice of the author to start the story like that.
There’s also a great romance element in this book, which I think balanced the heavier political game-playing nicely. At its core this story is an adventure for Corin and Tam, and their story is what kept the pages turning for me.
Overall I really enjoyed this book. I’m really glad I read it, and I can’t wait to see what the author does with book two. Between the romance and the way the dragons were presented this book was like a nice breath of fresh air being blown into epic fantasy.