Sunday, March 9, 2014

Review: Mark of the Dragonfly

Salutations, book babes!

REVIEW for you! Auggie-Talk received an ARC of "Mark of the Dragonfly" by Jaleigh Johnson from Random House this week and I couldn't put it down!  Check out the review and watch for it in stores on March 25.
18077836Title:  The Mark of the Dragonfly
Author:  Jaleigh Johson
Genre: Juvenile Fiction
Publication: March 25, 2014
Pages:   400


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

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An Extraordinary Journey.

The very first few pages of this decadent story had me smiling to myself. This one was going to be good. A foreign world with oddly familiar elements, a young girl with a special ability, alone and aching to alter her seemingly desolate future, a turbulent adventure that sends her careening towards a new land and a new life.
It’s a harrowing journey for Piper, our young Mechanist from Scrap Town 16, from a destroyed and isolated home through a richly developed world of beautiful sights and imminent dangers. Our young heroine is a serious youth with wisdom beyond her years and a heart as big as that Goddess sized hole in the sky of Solace. Thrust suddenly into a chaotic race against the crazed Royal Machinist, our girl collects a ragged crew of unwitting friends in her blazing trail to reach the capital, including a prodigy girl with no memory of her origins, a shape shifting security guard, and a few other curious people with curious talents. Piper must cling firmly to her courage, determination, and dreams to make it through and protect the people she loves.

Action and excitement begin early and from moment one I found myself tensing my muscles, fearing the worst, hoping for the best, and rejoicing at each of Piper's victories. Readers of all ages will easily be able to identify with Piper's desires to find her place in the world and her struggles to come to terms with herself and her gifts.

For such a young girl Piper's compassion for others is strong even when her own ego is waging war inside of her. To our young main character there is no risk too big to take to protect the ones you care about. Her big heart and somewhat tough demeanor caught my love right away and my adoration for the spunky and overly serious 13 year old grew with every turn of the page.

“Mark of the Dragonfly” is story of overcoming every obstacle by believing in yourself and the people you love. This work was imaginative and full of spunk. The characters come alive and there was never a moment where I couldn't vividly imagine in my mind exactly what was happening. Jaleigh Johnson has created a new world where everything but nothing is as we remember, where people scrounge and struggle, countries clash against one another in an attempt to grow and survive, and one lone girl chooses to embrace her adventures and stand strong in the face of adversity despite every reason not to.

I was certainly very involved with this book and the reading of it went quickly. One page after another and I couldn't help myself from being in awe of how Piper reminded me of all of the times my own dreams and goals for the future came attached with difficult and sometimes frightening journeys. Instead of backing down, Piper embraces things as they come and is rewarded for her compassion and her perseverance in unexpected but wonderful ways. I was very moved by this.

The only aspect of the book that I had trouble connecting with was the very grown up seeming attraction between Piper and Gee. Perhaps I've forgotten what it was like being a new teen girl with a completely hopeless crush on a boy... or perhaps the feelings and behaviors are even more realistic because of the state of the world that Piper and Gee exist in where fending for yourself at a young age seems to be the norm and being grown up at such a young age is all part of survival.

I kept envisioning the characters a lot older than they were and every time I reminded myself that they were still barely teenagers I was flabbergasted by their circumstances and struggles "I keep forgetting how young you are." repeats in my head.

A truly fabulous read. Certainly worth recommending. Looking forward to more from Jaleigh Johnson.

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