Friday, January 10, 2014

The Mark of the Dragonfly

I received this book in exchange for my honest opinion from NetGallery, the opinions are my own.

Nervously optimistic is an odd way to start any book and yet that is the best way to describe my feelings as I dove into Jaleigh Johnson's The Mark of the Dragonfly.

Johnson's novel follows a young, orphaned scrapper named Piper who's fighting to survive on the edge of the meteor field. One day, Piper learns that meteors may not be the most dangerous thing in her hometown as a mysterious girl lands at her feet bringing foreign kings, dangerous hunters, and a whirlwind of adventure to her door that she never dreamed was possible.

Initially Thoughts . . .

I really enjoyed the concept of the meteor fields and object falling through from other realms/worlds/dimensions. It was hard not to smile as I recognized the foreign items Piper encountered. However, it was hard, perhaps due to being above the intended age bracket or because of my own expectations in this genre to swallow the whole premise.

Johnson's world shows incredible promise, the races are interesting as is the technology in what I best felt was an almost weird blend of dystopian/steampunk, sci-fi. Major plot drivers such as the 401's presence, Piper's gutsy attitude, and Anna's incredible blend of intelligence and naivete drove the story at a focused pace that kept me going once I connected to the story.

My own issue were the story lines that didn't get completed. Gee's backstory seemed an anomaly in comparison to what we were told about what his family life should have been. The meteors, while incredibly fun and, in my thoughts, a fun plot point were never fully explained and therefore never lived up to their full potential (though could make an enjoyable sequel). Even the ending, though hitting many major story arches, felt a tad too rushed and fell somewhat flat compared to the build up of the other chapters.

That said the relationships of the 401 family, Anna and Piper's developing relationship, Anna in general - side note Anna well, at first, the most annoying character I could imagine, quickly became my absolute favourite in the entire book. She reminded me a little of a more innocent less combat ready River Tam from Firefly who, if you aren't familiar with just go find Joss Whedon's Firefly and remedy that, it's a sci-fi must :)
It's the mark of a good author, in my opinion, who can take an aggravating character and make them beloved.

The relationships are what make the story along with the growth of the two central girls as they journey towards maturity. I believe the majority of my issues probably would not be an issue to the intended audience and even still this remains a highly enjoyable read.
4 out 5 stars