Courtly Love and the Politics of War,
This review is from: Moth and Spark (Paperback)
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If, like me, you enjoy reading romance and fantasy equally, then you should find plenty to like in this tale of dragons, courtly love and politics. If, however, you prefer one over the other, then expect long periods of waiting impatiently to get back to what you like best.
This is no cloying, sentimental romance, though. Nor is it hot and heavy. Tam is far too sensible a woman to lose her head over a pretty face, and even if Corin does exactly that to begin with, he soon learns there’s much more to this woman than meets the eye. Yes, he’s a prince and she’s a commoner, but there’s a refreshing lack of angst over cruel fate and the gulf between their social states.
This is probably due to the looming threat of war and those pesky dragons.
Like the romance, the fantasy elements are quite low-key. Dragons just happen to exist in this world, and though there is power and wizards, there are no showy magics or flashing lights. They’re all just tools to be put to use in everyday life and war.
This is a slow-paced tale, with some uneven moments of action, and there are definitely some sections which seem to have little point to them. There is also a sad tendency to have all the interesting stuff happening elsewhere, thanks to the limitation of the main characters POVs. I would have loved to have had more of an overview of this world and a bit more interaction with other characters. The plot is great, but Tam and Corin are a little dull and restricted at times, preventing the story from being all it could be.
In all this is a decent romantic fantasy, striking a fairly good balance between the two. It’s a story of love amidst the intricate politics of war. It’s a good read, and has all the makings of an epic, but it isn’t. Thanks to its tight focus on the two protagonists it’s just a tale of a man and a woman falling in love, with tricky tasks to do and hard consequences to face.
It’s solid, enjoyable and has dragons. I liked it.