For the last two school years, a good half of my student bookgroup meetings have devolved into chatter about The Game of Thrones. There are those who have read all of the books, those who are obsessed with the HBO series, those just getting their feet wet. And yes, there are the quiet few who have no interest. I spend most of my time trying to prevent spoilers from flying.
I suppose Moth and Spark might make for a good recommendation for some Game of Thrones fans. But the better readalike is Rachel Hartman’s Seraphina, a gentler fantasy centered on dragons, which also features an affecting love story.
LEONARD, Anne. Moth and Spark. 368p. Viking. Feb. 2014. Tr. $27.95. ISBN 9780670015702.
In Leonard’s debut novel, Corin is preparing to become king of his father’s kingdom, but learns that he has been tasked to free the world’s dragons. It’s a huge responsibility because the dragons currently serve the Empire, and no one understands how to free them, especially Corin. Luckily he receives help from Tam, a common physician’s daughter. Tam’s discovery that she is a Seer helps Corin with his task. The two must figure out how to rescue the dragons and the realm from Emperor Hadon’s invasion, while experiencing their own whirlwind romance. Fantasy readers will appreciate the freshness of this stand-alone novel. Dragons, magic, firekeepers, secret villages, poison, and many other familiar elements are present, but Leonard spins them together well. In the Acknowledgments, the author admits that she borrowed language from Jane Austen, and the readability of the narrative demonstrates that it worked. Much of the book is focused on the swoon-worthy relationship between Corin and Tam, which isn’t cheesy or overdone. Both of the main characters come of age and wisely make decisions to improve their world. There may be too much romance for some die-hard fantasy fans, but give this to teens with soft hearts.—Sarah Hill, Lake Land College, Mattoon, IL