Publishing Info: February 20th 2014 by Viking Adult
Source: Hardcover copy sent to me for review from Viking Adult
Genre: Fantasy (Adult)
POV: Alternating Third Person (Corin/Tam)
Find It Online: Goodreads || Amazon || B&N
Related Posts: Guest Post from author Anne Leonard
From the reviews I’ve been seeing so far, it seems like MOTH AND SPARK will either be a “love it” or “hate it” book and I haven’t seen too many things in between. I only bothered to check other reviews after I was mid-way through so unfortunately you know what that means… I was struggling.
I felt like the book started off strongly — we’re introduced to dragons, mystery, action, and intrigue — but after the prologue and the first few chapters, things really, really slowed down for me. I’m okay with being introduced to a fast-paced opening scene and then slowing a book down to start getting deeper into world-building and character development, but the pacing overall just didn’t work for me.
Once the two main characters of the book go through the initial events that set up the entire plot, the book really slows down. Corin returns from the North somewhat changed, although even he himself is unsure quite how, and having survived a battle or two, he resumes life back at court. Once Tam witnesses a gruesome death, presumably be poison, she begins the games and politics of court as well. Court. One of my least favorite things about historical fiction or high fantasy. I just struggle with it so much. The politics of it all, the wedding plots, the forbidden dating between classes… It’s just something that doesn’t quite interest me unless it’s done juuuust right. Unfortunately in MOTH AND SPARK, it just wasn’t holding my attention. I felt like so much of the book was inside of the palace and just not enough time out exploring the world, which is one of my favorite elements of fantasy novels!
I just was not a fan of the romance. Some feedback was that the romance was very insta-lovely which honestly, I don’t entirely mind. (Hey, my own relationship started out with insta-love, more or less. True story.) The thing I did mind was that Corin seemed TOO affected by Tam. I understand it’s easily to be entirely infatuated upon meeting someone but… How can I put this? You know how in most books that are accused of insta-love, it’s the girl falling for the guy and then their entire world is about that guy and everything else important is forgotten? I had that sort of feeling about Corin falling for Tam. I guess it’s impossible to really know much about his character before the book, but I just had that his character just changed upon meeting her.
The romance just took up too much of the book for me. I wasn’t connecting with it so I don’t know if it just felt like a lot for me since I wasn’t as interested in it or if it really did take up that much of the book! I was given a teaser of dragons in the beginning — Dragons! Magic! Visions! Mystery! — and yet, I felt like I was left pining for it for too long. I do love romance in fantasy and I love action in fantasy. I can’t say that there wasn’t a good balance because I think there was a fair amount of both but they didn’t seem to flow well with each other. Any period of constant action or constant romance in fantasy can become tiring and they just felt like very distinct sections and very separated. Action and romance can be easily intertwined to keep the book moving and I think the separation of the two really hurt the pacing.
Overall, this just wasn’t the book for me. The romance seemed to dominate the book while I was reading and while I do appreciate heavy romances in fantasy as well as world building, I just didn’t get into the groove of this romance so it truly impeded my progress and overall opinion of the book. I think too many exciting moments and reveals came far too late when my attention and patience was already waning.
Kept Me Hooked On: Adult fantasy. This book was compared to A Song of Ice and Fire and I can easily see why! Dragons, magic, fantasy, court, politics…
Left Me Wanting More: Action. Action. All the more action and adventure and fighting and quests. The romance just dominated this book too much for my personal tastes and left me wanting more for too long.
Get a second opinion
I may be the black sheep on this one… I’ve actually seen quite a few good ratings for it and some people who LOVED it. I just couldn’t connect with it like I had hoped. Was it the comparison to A Song of Ice and Fire? Maybe in part, but not in full. It was just hard for me to get through and not the book for me.
(Click the cover to see my review!)