Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Mark of the Dragonfly

by Jaleigh Johnson
(March 25th 2014, Delacorte Books for Young Readers)

13-year-old orphan Piper Linny lives in Scrap Town Sixteen, where you must scavenge the detritus that falls from the heavens in violent meteor storms to survive. Being an exceptionally talented machinist, she is able to scrape by fixing machines that no one else can, but she desperately wishes to leave home and start a new life elsewhere.
When she finds the unconscious Anna in the midst of a meteor storm however, her vague plans for the future are unexpectedly expedited. On the girl's arm is the mark of the dragonfly, the emblem of the king of a neighboring territory and those under his protection. Piper wishes to return Anna to Dragonfly Territories for a reward, but a terrifying stranger has other plans for her. To escape, they board the well-protected fright train 401 and along the way, they discover secrets no only about Anna but also about the mysterious man pursuing them.


  • Johnson's world-building melds familiar elements with newer ones to create a novel setting that's genuinely more than the sum of its parts.
  • The action never flags and Johnson is able to maintain such copious twists and turns that once the story really picks up, it's hard to put the book down.
  • Piper is a truly worthy heroine. In a time when foolish decision-making is frequently used to forward plot, Piper's courage, kindness and – most importantly – common sense make her a compelling protagonist.
  • While other characters are well-drawn, Piper and the super-intelligent but fragile Anna's relationship takes center stage, offering a refreshing change from the standard YA romance.


  • The initial setting may dissuade those already tired of dystopian worlds, but thankfully Piper does not linger in Scrap Town Sixteen.
  • The introduction of the main antagonist was problem. He was introduced suddenly and in a far too pedestrian way, undermining Anna's genuine fear of him.
  • Gee and Piper sounded quite a bit older than thirteen and to me, this stretched credibility somewhat.

Verdict: A superior adventure that combines dystopian fantasy and steampunk to deliver a tale with something for everyone.

Rating: (9/10)

Get it on Book Depository

Tell us your opinion, comment down below!

No comments:

Post a Comment