The Mark of the Dragonfly by Jaleigh Johnson

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 Dragonfly 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. ~from Jaleigh Johnson’s website

Techno-steampunk fantasy science fiction. With the exception of a couple of “blips” in the plot (Where did Anna get the money to run away on the express train? How did King Aren know about the traitors?), The Mark of the Dragonfly was an absorbing, worthy entry in the middle grade steampunk genre.

Most of the story takes place on a train, the 401, which makes the story automatically attractive to those of us who have an interest in trains. The fact that this novel doesn’t read as if it is the first in a trilogy makes it inviting for those of us who are tired of trilogies. And the characters and the world of the novel are appealing. Piper and the girl she finds, Anna, are a fine pair of friends, and the green-eyed guard, Gee, makes a good foil to Piper’s feisty, combative nature.

I would recommend this one to anyone who’s interested in trains, dystopia, futuristic sci-fi, or spunky female protagonists. Unfortunately, the characters in the novel pray to “the goddess”—who is never described or fleshed out, only mentioned, so if that mention offends, you want to skip or skim over those brief references.

Ms. Johnson does say on her FAQ page: “In 2014 I’ll be working on the companion novel to The Mark of the Dragonfly. It’s set in the world of Solace but follows different characters.” So no sequel or trilogy, but a companion. Not too much commitment required.

5 thoughts on “The Mark of the Dragonfly by Jaleigh Johnson

  1. Kavinarasi

    I loved this book. It really was a page-turner and i really liked how the world Solace was introduced in the book. I think my favourite part about this book is between Piper and Gee. At first they disliked each other a lot, thinking back to the part when the head-cheif threatened to throw Piper off the train. But then they grew to understand each other and cared. It was very sweet.

    The plot itself was very creative. I coul have never suspected that Anna was actually part human, part machine. I admired the love she had for her ‘sister’, Piper. It was very touching to see them sacrifice so much for one another.

    I was very dissapointed when I heard that there was not going to be a sequel for this book but instead a companion. The companion book did not lead the story of Piper, Anna and Gee. I really wanted to read about what happens after that when Piper goes back to see Micah. It was truly a dissapointment. But still I hope that Jaleigh Johnson wants to continue The Mark of The Dragonfly. I would be one of the very first to buy.

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