The Mark of the Dragonfly by Jaleigh Johnson

Delacorte Press, March 25, 2014.

In a world where toasters and jewelry boxes fall from the sky during meteor storms, scrap towns have sprung up peopled with residents hoping to find the one treasure that will make them rich. The Merrow Kingdom is rich in natural resources, but strip mining has left the land barren and unfit for farming. In the south, the Dragonfly Kingdom is the place of machines and manufacturing. It’s also the place where the 401 train is bound.

Teenaged Piper lives in Scraptown 16 and dreams of riding the 401 south to the Dragonfly Kingdom in order to avenge herself on the kingdom where her father died, killed by the pollution from the factory he worked in. She’s been trying to save for the fare for two years, ever since she learned her father was dead. She ekes out a living by fixing the things folks in town bring her from the meteor fields.

One night Piper and a friend find more than they expect after the storm – they find a ruined caravan and an unconscious girl with the mark of the dragonfly, a sign of the protection of the southern king. The girl’s lost her memory and soon Piper’s on a quest she never expected, a quest to return Anna to her home in the Dragonfly Kingdom.

The Mark of the Dragonfly is an enticing start to what looks to be a series about a steampunk world on another planet. The world is on the brink of a technological revolution and, in addition, boasts several sentient species besides humans. I loved the machine focus, the diverse but loyal gang, and the sweet romance. I’ll definitely watch for more books from Jaleigh Johnson.

Note:I read this as an electronic arc courtesy of Netgalley. I imagine this will be marketed as a YA book/series because of Piper’s age; however, this strikes me as the sort of book that bridges the MG/YA gap beautifully. It would hold interest for both groups and is neither too dark nor too sexual for the MG crowd’s comfort. The Mark of the Dragonfly comes out in five days!

This book has a great steampunk theme. Have you read other steampunk books that you loved? Please share the titles in the comments.

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