The Mark of the Dragonfly
by Jaleigh Johnson
Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Published March 25, 2014
Since her father’s death, Piper has lived by scavenging artifacts that fall from the sky in meteor showers. Nothing she’s found yet promises to be as valuable as Anna, the girl she stumbles upon who bears a tattoo of an intricate mechanical dragonfly. The tattoo indicates the girl is from the Dragonfly Territories and is protected by its king. If Piper can return the girl home, she will collect a reward that will buy her a new life away from the scrap towns forever.
With no memories to guide them, Anna depends on Piper to unearth clues about her past and her home. When a man threatens them, the girls’ only hope for escape is in hiding away on a train bound for the Dragonfly Territories. The train’s security chief isn’t easily fooled, and it’s up to Piper’s quick thinking and Anna’s charm to persuade him to let them stay. The three form an uneasy alliance, each with a secret that may destroy the others or save them.
The Mark of the Dragonfly is whimsical and fun. It is a story about bravery, sacrifice and the value of unexpected friendship. Quirky and inspiring characters populate a memorable story world. Readers who enjoy fantasy stories like Peggy Eddleman’s Sky Jumpers or Jennifer Nielsen’s The False Prince will likely fall in love with this story.
Piper briefly glimpses a boy’s naked body but quickly turns away, embarrassed.
In Piper’s homeland, the people worship a goddess whom they believe sends artifacts from other lands to them via meteor showers. The girls visit a prophetess of sorts hoping to gather information about Anna’s past.
A dangerous man pursues Piper and Anna. He attacks and a band of slave traders attack them, though few graphic details appear in the text.
Slave traders attempt to capture the girls using a powdered substance that temporarily paralyzes those exposed to it. The train’s fire man uses his knowledge of chemistry to formulate a medicine to heal a poisoned passenger.