Published by Delacorte Press
Released on March 8, 2016
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.
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?