Skip to main content

The Mark of the Dragonfly

The Mark of the Dragonfly by Jaleigh Johnson is a magical adventure tale that uses several tried and true tropes and expands on them in new ways to create a fun new tale. 

Piper has never seen the Mark of the Dragonfly until she finds the girl amid the wreckage of a caravan in the Meteor Fields.
The girl doesn't remember a thing about her life, but the intricate tattoo on her arm is proof that she's from the Dragonfly Territories and that she's protected by the king. Which means a reward for Piper if she can get the girl home.

 The one sure way to the Territories is the 401, a great old beauty of a train. But a ticket costs more coin than Piper could make in a year. And stowing away is a difficult prospect--everyone knows that getting past the peculiar green-eyed boy who stands guard is nearly impossible.
 Life for Piper just turned dangerous. A little bit magical. And very exciting, if she can manage to survive the journey.

Piper is a girl with no family, who lives in a scrap town. Her life is supported by her extraordinary gift with machines and the "treasure" she mines from the meteorite showers. Treasure that includes watches, books, and music boxes that come from other worlds. Piper is a tough survivor. She has a couple friends, but in the scrap towns it is pretty much everyone for herself. When faced with choosing whether or not to help an inured and frightened girl fleeing the man who terrifies her, Piper does not choose to help solely because she is a good person. She is hoping to get something from it. But as she and Anna run from Anna's past and the secrets it holds, Piper comes to truly care for what happens to her. Theirs is a great friendship story, where there strengths and weaknesses work well together. Anna is a strange and different girl. I thought her big secret was rather easy to figure out, but  young readers are going to be shocked to their toes. The third character in the trio (it is a MG fantasy so there has to be a three part lead) is a boy in charge of guarding the train the girls stowaway on by the name of Gee. Gee is quick-witted and fiercely protective. Once he decides the girls are part of his train and within his circle of protection, there is nothing that will keep keep him for helping them. There is a flirtation that develops between Piper and Gee that is sweet and perfect for a MG book. While there is mystery and magic in each of the three main characters' stories, they are pretty much the standard trio of characters you find in a fantasy novel of this type. They don't really go beyond the basics of character development.

The world is contained to two different kingdoms completely cut off from the rest of the planet/place/dimension they inhabit. These kingdoms are, of course, on the brink of war. Anna is important to one of the kingdoms. She wears the titular mark of the Dragonfly, which means she is  under the protection of the king. Into this world debris that has been thrown away from other world comes in meter showers. (Including a copy of The Wizard of Oz.) The world is a fascinating concept in itself. The threat of coming war, the factories where people are losing their lives due to pollution, and the hard life of the scrap towns comes together to make a bleak place full of danger. This allows for our heroes to have more adventures. From the dangerous meteor showers, to stowing away on a train, to escaping slavers, to running from Anna's pursuer, to escaping dangerous sky raiders, there are plenty of adventures to go around. This is certainly a book for readers who like action packed plots. It does all make the book a bit longer than it needed to be and some of the scenes seemed superfluous, not adding much to the character development or the main plot.

This is a book I see appealing to the target audience well, particularly lovers of adventure and fantasy.

I read a ARC received at ALA Midwinter from the publisher, Delacorte Book for Young Readers. The Mark of the Dragonfly is available for purchase on March 25.


Popular posts from this blog

TTT: Most Recent Additions to My TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly themed blog hop created by  The Broke and the Bookish  and now hosted at  That Artsy Reader Girl . This Week's Topic: Most Recent Additions to My TBR List From Most Recent to Least: What books have recently caught your eye?

Favorite Kissing Scenes

When thinking of a favorite things post I could do for February I decided it would have to be kissing. I've already done couples and I was feeling in the mood to do something fluffy and Valentine's related. So kisses it is. I read more MG than YA, and the YA I read tends to not focus on romance so this was actually harder than I expected it to be though a few jumped into my head right away. (And one of my choices does actually come from a MG book. One is adult. Gasp!) The actual scene from the book is quoted followed by my thoughts. The king lifted a hand to her cheek and kissed her. It was not a kiss between strangers, not even a kiss between a bride and a groom. It was a kiss between a man and his wife, and when it was over, the king closed his eyes and rested his forehead against the hollow of the queen's shoulder, like a man seeking respite, like a man reaching home at the end of the day . - The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner Turner doesn't write the

Serafina and the Black Cloak

Serafina and the Black Cloak  by Robert Beatty is a thrilling tale of mystery and adventure set at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC in 1899. Having lived in Asheville and visited the house several times, there was no way I was going to pass up a chance to read this. (Also it's MG fantasy, always a bonus for me.) Serafina lives in secret in the basement of the Vanderbilt's spacious vacation home. She has lived there most of her life. Her father worked on the house as it was being built and is the mechanic who runs the massive generator and keeps the electricity going. Serafina is the chief rat catcher, slipping through the halls of her massive home secretly and quietly. She is light on her feet, sees well in the dark, and is quick enough to catch the vermin and keep them out. Serafina knows she if different and strange. Her father insists she stay hidden. But all that changes when one night Serafina witnesses a horrible crime. A little girl, a guest in the house, is fleein


Shadowshaper  by Daniel José Older is everywhere. Best of lists. Award buzz. Blogs everywhere. It's one of those books everyone is reading and talking about. I had it on my TBR but decided I definitely needed to read it before the year was out just so I could weigh in on one of the most talked about books of 2015 if asked. It is deserving of every good thing said about it. Every. One. Sierra was looking forward to a relaxing summer break. Her plans involved hanging out with her friends and painting. They did not involve being chased by zombie like creatures and threatened by a magical power connected to her family's heritage she has never heard of. When murals begin fading all over her Brooklyn neighborhood, Sierra is perplexed. When her grandfather, who had a stroke, begins to apologize and starts repeating strange phases and insisting Sierra get the help of a boy she barely knows to help her finish her mural, Sierra is concerned but mostly about her grandfather. Then at a


On Tuesday I posted my Top Ten Books Read so Far in 2013 and promised to highlight more of this year's favorites and offer them in giveaways. This is the YA giveaway. This is open to anyone who lives where Book Depository ships for free . Book Choices: TO ENTER: Leave a comment below saying which book looks most interesting to you and leave a way I can reach you if you are the winner. (email address or twitter handle-If you are using Twitter it would be helpful if you followed me, @brandymuses , in case I need to DM you.) Entries after Monday, July 1 8:00 PM EST are invalid. The winner will be drawn as close to 8 as possible.  Yes, I still do my giveaways the old fashioned way.