FANTASTIC FRIDAY: The Mark of the Dragonfly by Jaleigh Johnson
ABOUT THE BOOK
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.
|Photo: Mark Jones|
Jaleigh Johnson is a fantasy author born and raised in the Midwest. Her novels for the Dungeons and Dragons Forgotten Realms fiction line include The Howling Delve, Mistshore, Unbroken Chain, Unbroken Chain: The Darker Road, and Spider and Stone. Her first book for middle grade readers is The Mark of the Dragonfly, from Delacorte Press. In her spare time, she enjoys gaming, gardening, and going to movies with her husband. Visit her online at www.jaleighjohnson.com.
I'll just say upfront that I really enjoyed this book, in pretty much every way. The cover is gorgeous, the characters intriguing, the plot action-packed, and the setting well-presented. Sometimes in these plot-driven middle grade fantasy novels it's easy for the character development to get lost in all the action, but in this one the character development blends in beautifully with all the action.
There are three main characters, starting with Piper, a thirteen-year old girl living by herself in Scrap Town 16, just scraping by. But everything changes when she discovers an unconscious girl in the Meteor Fields. But it turns out that Anna, the girl Piper found, not only has an unusual tattoo on her arm, but she loves to talk about stuff she knows and she remembers little of her life prior to meeting Piper. When they hop the 401 train to escape the man that is after Anna they meet Gee who is an interesting character in his own right.
I loved the setting of the train (most of the story takes place on the train). It works well to move the plot along. Frankly, I'd love to hop on the train and explore its intricacies. To me that is sign of a well-designed book.
All in all a fun read with plenty of secrets, lots of action, and some interesting surprises along the way. Fantasy lovers are sure to fly through this one. Definitely going on my favorites shelf.