Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Mark of the Dragonfly by Jaleigh Johnson

The Mark of the Dragonfly by Jaleigh Johnson is the tale of a young girl, Piper, who lives alone in a shanty town outside the Meteor Fields.  She works as a scrapper, collecting the junk that comes crashing to the ground along with the poisonous dust each meteor storm brings.  She is talented with machines and can repair any small device to sell at market.  Her father left to go work in the dangerous factories in the Dragonfly Territories, but he was killed before he could return for her.

Piper is surprised one day when she finds another young girl, Anna, among the wreckage of a caravan caught in a storm.  Anna is unconscious, but Piper brings her home to try to help her.  When Anna wakes, she can't remember who she is, but the two girls discover a dragonfly tattoo on Anna's arm that indicates she is protected by the king of the Dragonfly Territories.  Piper hopes that getting Anna home will result in a reward large enough for Piper to leave the Meteor Fields and become a proper machinist in a better place.  As they make their way, they must contend with a persistent wolf, a group of slavers and a very suspicious train operator.

The journey Piper and Anna make is treacherous and filled with excitement, but one thing I love about the book is that it is never implied that they aren't equal to the task because of their gender.  They also make and admit their mistakes along the way.  I really enjoyed this book.  I think it would be a wonderful introduction to fantasy lit for younger and middle grade readers.  I hope you'll read it.

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