by Jaleigh Johnson
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. (description from Amazon.com)
I found this middle grade adventure fantasy with steampunk elements captivating. It hit just the right notes on so many levels. Piper's struggle to provide a life for herself and find a permanent place made her a multi-faceted intriguing heroine. Her relationships with the people around her wrung true, especially the friendships that she develops. The author carefully treads a relationship that might evolve into a romance someday, but thankfully is only the deepest of friendships for now.
The adventure is fast paced and the elements of magic and machinery meld together to build a wonderful world that I hope we'll be able to explore in future books. Though Piper's story is satisfactorily wrapped up, I'd love to see her narrate future adventures or to experience the world through several other characters' eyes!
Full disclosure: Audio book received from AudioFile for review