Sunday, July 16, 2017

REVIEW: The Secrets of Solace by Jaleigh Johnson

Published by Delacorte Press
Released on March 8, 2016

Goodreads Summary:

From Jaleigh Johnson, the acclaimed author of The Mark of the Dragonfly, comes another thrilling adventure in the magical world of Solace.
Lina Winterbock lives in the mountain strongholds of Solace. She’s an apprentice to the archivists, the wise men and women whose lives are dedicated to cataloging, studying, and preserving the objects that mysteriously fall from the sky in the scrap towns.
Lina should be spending her days with books, but the Iron War has changed everything. The strongholds are now a refuge, and the people Lina once counted on no longer have time for her, so she spends her days exploring the hidden tunnels and passages of her home. The strongholds are vast and old, with twisting paths, forgotten rooms, and collapsed chambers, some of them containing objects that have been lost and forgotten even by the archivists.
And in one of the forgotten chambers, Lina discovers a secret.
Hidden deep in a cavern is a half-buried airship like nothing she has ever seen before. She’s determined to dig it out and restore it. But Lina needs help, and she doesn’t know anyone she can trust with her secret.
Then she meets Ozben, a mysterious boy who has a secret of his own—a secret that’s so dangerous it could change the course of the Iron War and the world of Solace forever.

My Review:

Let's have a contest.  Out of setting, characters, and plot, which did I love best?

1st Place ~~ SETTING
2nd Place ~~ CHARACTERS
3rd Place ~~ PLOT

It was difficult to choose which was better: characters or plot.  But because the first 70 pages or so of The Secrets of Solace were just a little bit dull, I decided plot would get third place.

The world of Solace is amazing.  The author set it up so simply and yet so wonderfully.  We have three main lands - the Merrow Kingdom, the Dragonfly Territories, and the archivists' strongholds.  The Mark of the Dragonfly, the other book set in Solace, starrs an incredible heroine named Piper, a girl from the scrap towns in the Merrow Kingdom.  The Secrets of Solace starrs an equally incredible heroine named Lina, from one of the archivists' strongholds.  In Piper's story, we only receive little mentions of the mysterious strongholds, so I was excited to delve into this part of Solace.  And I wasn't disappointed.  The next companion novel, The Quest to the Uncharted Lands - which I haven't read yet but really want to - is set in the Dragonfly Territories.  Perfect :)

The characters are excellently developed.  Lina tends to eavesdrop, loves to hide, and deeply appreciates transportation via ventilation shafts.  Her parents died when a fever swept through the stronghold, and now she is pretty much on her own.

Ozben is a bit harder to describe, but some of the things that stand out about him are his sense of humor and his tendency to disobey orders if he doesn't like them.  That's a huge similarity between him and Lina - they don't like to listen.  To Zara, to Tolwin, to Nareen. They're pretty disobedient.  There is also a huge difference between them, but you can find that out by reading the book.  Go ahead.  Go read it.

The plot was amazing, too!  Once she meets Ozben around page 70, things get very, very interesting.  A hairless cat wreaks havoc in the stronghold.  Ozben almost gets killed. Ozben and Lina almost get killed together.  (Fun times.)  The Iron War takes a turn for the worse.  I can't say much because I don't want to spoil anything, but this should have intrigued you.

In terms of questionable content, there was none whatsoever.  The romance, if any, is so subtle and tame that I can't tell whether any romantic interest exists at all.  No bad words, no violence, no nothing.  It's 100% clean.  Yay!  Of course, it's considered Middle Grade, and Middle Grade is generally clean.  But you can't even trust children's books these days. Sad.   

Jaleigh Johnson is one of my favorite storytellers.  I thoroughly enjoyed The Secrets of Solace, and if you like fantasy and/or steampunk, then you'll enjoy it, as well!

And don't forget to read The Mark of the Dragonfly :D  It's even better than The Secrets of Solace!  I've read it twice, and one of these months, I'll be picking it up a third time.

So, have you read The Mark of the Dragonfly or The Secrets of Solace?  If so, did you like them?  If not, do you want to read them now?  Have you read any books under the steampunk genre?


  1. I don't usually read steampunk, but this series sounds really cool!! I've seen the Mark of the Dragonfly at my library before, so I'll definitely be checking it out.

    I think about the only steampunk book I've read would be Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger, which was fun, but I didn't like some of the sequels because of content. I've also read Everland by Wendy Spinale, which is a Peter Pan steampunk retelling! It was pretty good, if a little violent.

    Great review! This series is definitely on my TBR now :-)

    1. Yes, you should check it out! The Mark of the Dragonfly is one of the best books ever written, in my opinion :D

      I've heard of Etiquette and Espionage, but I saw something about supernatural creatures such as werewolves and vampires being involved, which I like to avoid in books, so I haven't been very interested. Other than that, it looks cool!

      My library doesn't have Everland, but I've heard of it and want to read it. It's Peter Pan, after all, and I LOVE Peter Pan!!!

      Thanks! Your TBR definitely had room, right? ;) Haha, probably not. (but those books deserved a spot, imo)

    2. Ahhh I'll definitely try to check it out next time I go to the library!!! I'm super excited to read it now lol.

      Yeah, supernatural creatures aren't really my favorite things to read about. I do love unicorns, though, but I'm not sure that they fit in the same cattegory as vampires and werewolves...

      Isn't Peter Pan the best??? Have you ever read the Peter and the Starcatchers series? It's kind of like a Peter Pan prequel, which is fun. Lost Girl by Chanda Hahn is another good Peter Pan retelling!! Do you know of any other good ones?

      As for my TBR... There are so many books on it I've kinda lost count, so I'm sure one more won't do any harm!! (Probably, lol)

    3. When you do, come back to this post and comment your thoughts! Or talk about it on your blog :D Either one.

      Yeah, I love unicorns too!! Those are different, though :) They're not dark - they're usually all sunshine and rainbows.

      HE IS THE BEST. I read the first book in the Starcatchers, but that's it. I really liked it, though, so I should finish the series sometime! I don't know any. At all. The YA ones I've seen have mostly had amazing plots, but Common Sense Media or a Goodreads review has shown that they're not clean.

      Which is partly why I'm writing a Peter Pan retelling myself, to fix this problem :)

    4. Yup - sometimes you just gotta take things into your own hands lol. And I'll definitely find some way to let you know once I read it!!!

  2. Middle grade fantasy/steampunk??? GIVE IT TO ME NOW! *flops and flails and adds to TBR*

    I just found your blog through Audrey Caylin's and I love it! <3 And I just saw your Featured Post and had a huge wave of deja vu because I'd recently read the author name Jodi Lynn Anderson and WHAT DO YOU KNOW I'm reading May Bird and the Ever After right now XP

    1. YES, ADD IT. READ IT. LOVE IT. *flops and flails with you*

      Awww, thanks! I've never read May Bird... is it good?? But My Diary from the Edge of the World is AMAZING. Favorite book ever, literally. I would NOT recommend Tiger Lily (it wasn't very clean), but The Vanishing Season was heartbreakingly wonderful. Not everyone's book, but I liked it a lot :D

      I'm so glad you love my blog - I'll check yours out (and probably love it too)!! Welcome to my hobbit hole... uh, I mean... BLOG xD


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