The Mark of the Dragonfly by Jaleigh Johnson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Netgalley - Received to Review
Genre: Middle Grade/Tween Dystopian
Book Description: Fans of The City of Ember will love The Mark of the Dragonfly, an adventure story set in a magical world that is both exciting and dangerous.
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.
My thoughts: This story takes place in a broken world. Meteors hit the earth and leave treasures that a salvaged by scavengers. This life is hard and the pay is meager.
In one scrap town lives Piper. Piper is amazing with anything mechanical and she is industrious. She is thirteen and an orphan. She gets by using her wits and courage. She is loyal to her friends, but longs for the day she can leave her home and find a way to work with machines in a city.
While protecting a friend, she comes across a caravan that is caught in a meteor storm. The caravan is hit, she investigates and comes across a girl in the wreckage. She takes her home, thinking that there may be a reward in the future, only to find that the girl is hunted by a man she calls the wolf.
This leads to a cross country chase on a train. The girls learn about life, trust, and friendship. There is a little bit of romance between Piper and a boy on the train, Gee. I'm glad that the author didn't make it into a huge romance, after all, the characters are 13. The life they lead is rough, so they are mature beyond their years. It seems at times that it was a stretch to have them be so young.
I enjoyed the fast pacing of the story. The plot never lags or leaves you bored. The book has a few twists and turns, some I guessed at and came pretty close to the truth. There are some amazing species of people living in this dystopian book. I enjoyed the integration of cultures and way of living that seemed to be at harmony with each other.
The main plot behind the book deals with greed that leads to war. The leaders are plotting and greedy. The author brings up some great points about the rich and powerful grasping for more, but their victims are the people or subjects who have to live with the aftermath.
I enjoyed reading this book, I liked the subtle look at a government that has gotten out of hand. I liked the powerful message of friendship and the bonds that make a family.