The Mark of the Dragonfly by Jaleigh Johnson
If you lived on the world of Solace, being a scrapper put you among the dregs of society among the kingdoms. In fact, if you lived in a scrapper town, it didn’t even merit a name, just a number. Piper, Micah and Jory were scrappers, living in shanty town #16. Piper was an orphan, and the two boys had parents who were gone on fishing expeditions most of the time. They and the rest of the population made a living scavenging debris from the meteor ravaged fields. Meteors rained down from the heavens regularly, and the interesting items found in those fields allowed scrappers a meager existence through their exchange for coins. One day after a severe meteor storm Piper found a girl unconscious in a caravan too near the scorched fields. The girl, Anna, was the only apparent survivor. Piper took Anna to her home in an effort to help her. When the girl woke up without her memory everything in Piper’s little world was turned upside down.
On the journey to solve the mystery, Piper and Anna sneak aboard a train to hide from pursuers who terrified Anna. The crew of the train at first become antagonists, but when they see the dragonfly tattoo on Anna’s arm, things turn around and they treat her like royalty until events force them all to bond as a family of sorts. The author has woven a vivid world of sarnuns, chamelins, synergists, kingdoms, magic, mysteries, danger, adventure and communities that are universal in nature. Friendship is just as human in this world of adventure as it is in our own world. The author has created unique voices with distinct qualities and lovable people we care about as we read. Each of the main characters are well developed and three
The book is intended for middle grade readers, both boys and girls. There is a great adventure theme as well as some moments of reflection on the state of the world, warfare, invention, exploration and the neglect of society’s poorest peoples. It is family friendly with no foul attitudes and language, and would be interesting even for younger ages as a read aloud book. Additionally, I think teens and adults of all ages would enjoy reading this fantasy/science fiction pick. The first five chapters provide a background and setting, so the story line starts out a bit slow. But once the girls reach the train the action is practically non-stop. There’s plenty of nail- biting suspense and even a slight touch of romance. The events at the end provide more than one unexpected twist.
I enjoyed reading this tale so much. Ms. Johnson’s writing style is smooth, seemingly effortless and pleasant to read. I hope this author has more books to read. I will definitely be looking for more of her work.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from NetGalley, on behalf of Random House Children’s. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”