The Mark of the Dragonfly [NOOK Book]

Overview

For fans of Frozen, The City of Ember, and The School of Good and Evil, The Mark of the Dragonfly is a fast-paced adventure story about a mysterious girl and a fearless boy, set in a magical world that is both exciting and dangerous.
   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 ...
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The Mark of the Dragonfly

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Overview

For fans of Frozen, The City of Ember, and The School of Good and Evil, The Mark of the Dragonfly is a fast-paced adventure story about a mysterious girl and a fearless boy, set in a magical world that is both exciting and dangerous.
   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.

[STAR] "This magnetic middle-grade debut...[is] a page-turner that defies easy categorization and ought to have broad appeal."-Publishers Weekly, starred

[STAR] "Heart, brains, and courage find a home in a steampunk fantasy worthy of a nod from Baum."-Kirkus Reviews, starred

[STAR] "A fantastic and original tale of adventure and magic...Piper is a heroine to fall in love with: smart, brave, kind, and mechanically inclined to boot."-School Library Journal, starred


From the Hardcover edition.
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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
★ 03/01/2014
Gr 4–8—In the future and on a ruined planet, orphaned Piper lives alone, making her living from mending the scraps she finds after the deadly meteor showers and dust storms that beleaguer the towns on the outskirts of civilization. She has an almost magical ability to fix things, mechanized things especially-it's as though the objects want to be mended by Piper, and sometimes they will work only for her. One day Piper finds a young girl who is silent, amnesiac, and in terror of the man who hunts her. Marked by the tattoo of a dragonfly, the girl can't hide until Piper spirits her away and, with the help of Gee (who can transform at will from handsome teenager to flying dragon), the stowaway girls find a safe home on steam train 401, hurtling through the hostile countryside towards King Aron's kingdom. Johnson has brilliantly taken the dystopian genre to a level accessible to tween readers. The Mark of the Dragonfly is a fantastic and original tale of adventure and magic with steampunk elements and a little romance thrown in. The landscapes the girls pass through are imaginatively depicted and cinematically described (streets lit by glowing "night eye flowers"). Fierce battles are tempered with humor, and Piper is a heroine to fall in love with: smart, brave, kind, and mechanically inclined to boot!—Jane Barrer, United Nations International School, New York City
Publishers Weekly
★ 03/03/2014
Merging elements of dystopia, steampunk, and fantasy, this magnetic middle-grade debut imagines an alien world where 13-year-old Piper survives by working as a scrapper, salvaging artifacts left behind by meteor storms. Her life transforms when she rescues a mysterious girl in the aftermath of one such storm: Anna is brilliant yet disoriented, and she sports a tattoo signifying that she is held under the protection of the king of the Dragonfly territories. Piper knows that a reward awaits her if she returns Anna safely to her home. Yet passage on board the 401, a mile-long armored train, is beyond their grasp, and Anna is also being pursued by a ruthless, ominous man. With a setting drawn from an industrial revolution still in birthing pains, Johnson's narrative is marked by colloquial language and blends societal decay with a sense of burgeoning technological innovation. Piper and her new ally, the enigmatic Gee, exhibit maturity and resourcefulness at every turn in a page-turner that defies easy categorization and ought to have broad appeal. Ages 10–up. Agent: Sara Megibow, Nelson Literary Agency. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
[STAR] "This magnetic middle-grade debut...[is] a page-turner that defies easy categorization and ought to have broad appeal."-Publishers Weekly, starred

[STAR] "Heart, brains, and courage find a home in a steampunk fantasy worthy of a nod from Baum."-Kirkus Reviews, starred

[STAR] "A fantastic and original tale of adventure and magic...Piper is a heroine to fall in love with: smart, brave, kind, and mechanically inclined to boot."-School Library Journal, starred

"[Johnson's] page-turning novel takes the reader on a heart-thumping adventure filled with rich, imaginative characters."-BookPage

"Part Firefly and part Kenneth Oppel’s Airborn,...appealing characters and lots of action make it a good choice for young adventure readers."-Booklist

From the Hardcover edition.

Children's Literature - Lois Rubin Gross
This is a gateway book for intermediate readers not ready for the sexual innuendo of the Steampunk genre; but eager for adventure, Star Wars-like Science fiction, and Potter-ish fantasy. Even better, the book has not one but two strong female characters and a single male “crush” character, instead of the standard heroine deciding between two loves. Piper is an orphaned “scrapper,” an itinerant child surviving by her ability to find vendible trinkets among the meteors that crash to her planet every night. She is a gifted machinist, able to return machines to life and luster with patience, industry, and undeniable talent to relate to their inner workings. When her foster brother runs into a terrifying meteor storm, Piper returns not just with him, but also with Anna, a delicate survivor from a wagon train, whom she nurses to health. Anna’s terror at being hunted by a “wolf” causes the girls to jump aboard a train headed for the capital city, only to find themselves still pursued but aided in their flight by the train’s engineer, fireman, and a shape-shifting security chief named Gee. Along the way, Piper and Anna jump train to find a seer, a Medusa-headed sarnum, who warns them of their predestination to go to the capital and find fortune, but not luck with the king of the Dragonfly Territories. Gee, a chameleon able to morph into a fearsome dragon repeatedly rescues the girls but Anna is gravely wounded in one attack, only to reveal that the real synergy between Piper and Anna is that Anna is a cyborg who can be healed and kept alive only by Piper’s undeniable talent. There is no letdown in the momentum of this story, and the constant reveals of secret identities and complicated relationships will keep readers totally engaged and awaiting a sequel. Reviewer: Lois Rubin Gross; Ages 11 to 16.
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2013-12-24
Heart, brains and courage find a home in a steampunk fantasy worthy of a nod from Baum. Thirteen-year-old Piper is a forthright machinist in dismal Scrap Town Number Sixteen (as charming as it sounds). Her skill at machine repair is unsurpassed, but the recent loss of her father has left her orphaned, with a need to trade destitution for something greener. While scavenging debris left by a violent meteor storm, Piper finds an unconscious girl, Anna, who wakes with severe amnesia and a propensity for analytical chatter and who bears the dragonfly tattoo given to those in the king's inner circle. When a menacing man comes looking for Anna, the girls board the 401 (an antique locomotive run by a motley crew), radically accelerating Piper's plans for a new life. Though Piper is initially driven by the prospect of a reward for returning Anna to what she assumes is a wealthy home, the staggeringly different girls eventually form a bond far stronger than just strategic alliance. Though there are initial echoes of Hunger Games–ian dystopian despair, these are quickly absolved as the book becomes something all its own. Consistent and precise attention to detail, from the functioning of a security system to the communicative abilities of a telepathic species, thrills. This is foremost a rugged adventure story, but there is a splash of romance (and a fabulous makeover scene). A well-imagined world of veritable adventure. (Steampunk. 11-15)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385376464
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 3/25/2014
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 126,177
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Lexile: 820L (what's this?)
  • File size: 4 MB

Meet the Author

Jaleigh Johnson
Jaleigh Johnson is a lifelong reader, gamer, and moviegoer. She loves nothing better than to escape into fictional worlds and take part in fantastic adventures. She lives and writes in the wilds of the Midwest, but you can visit her online at jaleighjohnson.com or on Twitter @JaleighJohnson.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 9 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(5)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 27, 2014

    I loved this book because it had a pace that just keep me rivete

    I loved this book because it had a pace that just keep me riveted. It's a younger person's Steam-punk, but so much more. The characters were fully 3-D, well-developed and easy to empathize with.

    Piper lives in a scrap town, a place pelted every full moon with debris from other worlds. Most of it is junk. Scrappers are scavengers who make a living selling the debris. Piper also fixes things. She has a knack for fixing things with gears, especially. A music box, a watch, other items. She is a first rate scrapper.

    Then one day she sees a caravan in the area unsafe from cratering objects, and it is burned up. In the debris, Piper finds a girl. A girl with the special Mark of the Dragonfly that means she is under the protection of the ruler of the Dragonfly kingdom. Another survivor is a man, come to take Anna, but Anna reacts to him with great deal of fear.

    Piper has longed to leave her scrap town life, and suddenly she finds herself running from the nasty man who wants the girl --Anna--back. Anna and Piper sneak on the train whose final stop will take the girl Anna back to Dragonfly territory. Along the way, they have adventures and learn more about themselves -- learning that changes how they see EVERYTHING.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 7, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Entertain Story Replete with Morals, Ethics, and Suspense For Al

    Entertain Story Replete with Morals, Ethics, and Suspense For All
    I would like to thank NetGalley and Delacorte BFYR for the opportunity to read this e-ARC. Although I received the ebook for free, that in no way impacts my review.


    <blockquote>Fans of <em>The City of Ember</em> will love <em>The Mark of the Dragonfly</em>, an adventure story set in a magical world that is both exciting and dangerous.
       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.</blockquote>



    This is one sweet, magical, story that doesn't lack for action, adventure, and even   budding romance. It is ideal for readers from the age of roughly nine to 109. The following four paragraphs cover only some of what happens in about the first eighth of the book! 

    At the tender age of thirteen Piper is something of a mother figure to the few important people in her life. She lives in Scrap Town Sixteen of the Merrow Kingdom, just another refuse heap in life for those lacking power, wealth, and the right connections. When her father was alive he encouraged Piper's desire to tinker with mechanical items, going so far as to buy her the necessary tools, even if it meant he'd have less to eat for a while. Piper has a real knack for mechanical devices, it's what she becomes known for. Solitary by both choice and the nature of her environment, Piper knows many locals by name, but has only one true friend, a younger boy named Micah. And it is Micah who inadvertently begins all of Piper's adventures.

    Whenever there is a meteor-shower all residents of the scrap towns are supposed to take refuge in an earthen bomb shelter until the shower is over. Not only because of the danger from the falling meteors, but also the risk of breathing in the poisonous dust. Yet the moment the storms have passed everyone scrambles for the meteor field in hopes of finding the best items that have fallen with the meteors - items from other worlds, things the scrappers can sell for profit. Things the scrappers have to sell for profit if they are to survive in such harsh terrain. It's not as if they can farm the land, nor will any factories be built - the meteor showers destroy far more than they deliver.

    Micah, being younger and smaller than most of the scrappers in their town, has found a way to beat the systems - or so he figures. He doesn't hide out in the shelter with everyone else, instead he books out to the field at the first sign of an oncoming meteor shower and takes refuge under some of the rock ledges. When Piper hears this she's about ready to skin him alive for taking such a risk with his life. What would his parents and older brother Jory do if they lost him? What would she do? He promises not to do it again, but within hours he pulls the same stunt, only this time everyone knows he's missing. No one wants to risk the storm, or the penalty for being out in the storm, to find him. No one but Jory and Piper. Of the two only Piper manages to elude everyone and get outside, ultimately reaching Micah in time for the two of them to watch a caravan trying to cross the field get blown to bits. As soon as it's safe Piper patches Micah's head wound and then takes off to check on the caravan, not that she's anticipating any survivors. Not after that direct hit one of the wagons took. But there may well be something she can salvage and sell. Yet to her surprise she finds an unconscious girl in the remnants of one of the wagons. With Jory helping Micah home, Piper is able to get the girl to her cabin so that she can help her, and figure out what to do with her.

    Not long after arriving at Piper's small cabin the girl awakens. She doesn't remember much about herself but can, and does, spout off ridiculous amounts of information on an astounding range of topics. It is only after looking in a mirror that she is able to recall her own name, which she says is Anna. When a man comes knocking on Piper's door, clearly a man of means from his clothing, tattered though it is, Anna becomes utterly terrified. She refers to him as the <em>wolf</em>
    . Piper and Anna barely escape from him, and Piper brings Anna to the 401, their best, and only, shot at getting out of town and away from the man both girls find so frightening. Piper's plan is for the girls to stowaway on the 401, which is a cargo train. A cargo train with a notorious reputation for dealing with stowaways in a less than pleasant manner. From there her hope is to find Anna's family, return her to them, and hopefully collect a large enough reward to set herself up with a whole new life away, one far away from scrap towns.

    The two girls manage to get on the train, which is when their real adventures begin. What has gone before is nothing in the face of what is to come. . . Slave traders are sicced on the girls, becoming pawns in schemes between the enemy Dragonfly and Merrow Kingdoms (though oddly the 401 is allowed to run through both kingdoms), discoveries about new friends, and of course self-discoveries for both girls. Discoveries that could rock them to their very foundations.

    As their journey unfolds, so to do the girls' personalities. The more they learn about each other and the other crew members on the 401 the more they begin to change. Piper's dreams of her future change, Anna begins to recall bits and pieces of her life before the <em>wolf</em>
    , and they quickly begin to build fast friendships with the 401's crew. Friendships that may save their lives, or cost them their lives.

    This is a refreshing adventure on both physical and emotional levels, and certainly suitable for readers aged 9-10 and up. However don't discount it as being unsuitable for adults either, because that would be doing the story, and yourself, a disfavor. I'm easily old enough to be the mother of these kids and I still truly enjoyed this book. It told an interesting tale without 'talking down' to the reader, had fun twists and turns, and contained several worthwhile lessons about life, acceptance, and friendship. Yet it managed to do all that without ever making me feel as if I, the reader, was intentionally being taught any life lessons or being preached to.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2014

    Love it.  A hint of mystery romance adventure action. Sorry I'm

    Love it.  A hint of mystery romance adventure action. Sorry I'm in a hurry.  Great book for 7 and up depending on how leniant parents are

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 30, 2014

    a beautiful complicated story that is worthy of Steam punk novel

    a beautiful complicated story that is worthy of Steam punk novelty. this is a great gateway book for children into the mythology and ideology of Steam punk. The story of a young girl finding something special when she is trying to arrange things to help her closest friend. What she finds is a place to live, work to do, and dreams to have. The ideology and historical novelty of kingdoms and technology including Steam trains, balloon ships, and steam boats. 

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 26, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    The Mark of the Dragonfly was a vivid trip into an alternate ste

    The Mark of the Dragonfly was a vivid trip into an alternate steampunkish world. Written from a child's perspective, The Mark of the Dragonfly is a kid safe adventure for all ages to enjoy.

    Piper is orphaned in a Meteor pelted scrapper town. Struggling to survive by her scavenging and mechanical works, she is unexpectedly pulled into a world of treachery and betrayal.

    Johnson brilliantly writes and marvelously conveys the inner workings of a child's mind. Battling for survival, coming to terms with right and wrong, discovering ones self and finding a family were one would least expect it, she captivated me with this story. 

    Wanting to know more about the mechanical meteor fall outs, this marvelous world and Piper's and Anna's story, I hope there is additional adventures to come.

    Mind blowing twists, turns and revelations will give you hours of reading enjoyment! Don't miss The Mark of the Dragonfly.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 25, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Amazing Tale for Middle Grade Readers on up!

    Wow! Is it steampunk for kids? Sort of, but there is so much more, adventure, danger, learning to trust others and appreciate them as individuals. Most of all, The Mark of the Dragonfly is a fantastic journey into reading that will make even the most reluctant young reader unable to put this one down! The pace is fast, the details are not overbearing, slowing down the story. A younger reader has the chance to turn their own imagination loose and fall into the world of The Mark of the Dragonfly by Jaleigh Johnson!

    Young Piper is a scrapper, orphaned and alone in a world where survival is a harsh reality and watching your back is a way of life. Loyalty and friendships are rare, so when a young friend of Piper’s is caught in a meteor field during a storm, she ignores her own safety to find and save him. Hidden from the falling debris, Piper watches in fear as a strange caravan is destroyed in the Meteor Field. As the storm abates, she finds a young survivor, rescues both the young girl and her young friend. The girl is a bit odd, but she carries an important tattoo that denotes she is protected by the King of a powerful and wealthy land. Seeing a chance to make money, Piper sets out to return the girl to her home. Danger and deceit follow them on a journey that, if Piper survives, will change her life forever. With the help of a magical boy who can shape shift and a journey on a classic train to a new world, Piper finds she has much to learn. But with her quick wit, her new found friends and evil nipping at her heels, this is an adventure to enjoy to its fullest!

    Jaleigh Johnson has built a world that one can see, feel and become part of. Her writing is clean, quick and full of the wonder that fuels a child’s imagination, no matter how old that child is! Her characters come alive under her pen, sometimes quirky, sometimes snarky, but always feeling genuine, like the real deal! Sometimes as adults, we forget the power of a child's mind to fill in the blanks, thankfully, Jaleigh Johnson remembered! Wonderful reading and highly recommended for middle grade readers!


    I received this ARC edition from Random House Children's Delacorte BFYR in exchange for my honest review. Publication Date: March 25, 2014.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2014

    GREAT!!!

    I loved it! It had everything! Suspense, action and a little romance to top it all off! A must read for all fantasy lovers!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2014

    Recommend for kids/teens

    Love this book read it and loved it there are twists and turns .

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  • Posted August 13, 2014

    I was given a copy of this book from the publishers via NetGalle

    I was given a copy of this book from the publishers via NetGalley, in return for an honest review.




    I fell a little confused about how I want to rate The Mark of the Dragonfly. There were things I liked about it and things that bothered me a little. I didn't not like it, but I'm not too sure that I can say that I really liked it either. 




    The good: The Mark of the Dragonfly held my interest most of the way through. It takes place in a made up land and I liked how the author didn't explain things that we didn't know about, the made up words that were commonplace to the story. I've noticed that most of the time, this doesn't work, the reader just feels lost in this new world. But I didn't find it confusing at all for this book. I also found myself surprised at the same time as the main character when a twist was presented.




    The not so good: This book read a little young for me. I know it was geared towards younger readers, but sometimes you'll find that YA books actually have an older target. This one wasn't like that for me. I felt like it was beneath my intelligence level somehow. I still enjoyed it, but not in the way that I think I could have if the writing was different somehow. There were also parts towards the beginning where I started to fade out, lost my interest, but it usually picked back up again pretty quickly. The ending was neat and tidy, which I generally love to see in a story, but for some reason that I can't put my finger on, it just didn't feel right. There was something missing. 




    Over all, I guess that I would give the book a good rating, not because it was good, but rather because it wasn't bad.

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