Thursday, March 24, 2016

Book Review: The Secrets of Solace by Jaleigh Johnson

The Secrets of Solace, by Jaleigh Johnson
2016, 384p, Middle-Grade Fantasy
My Rating=4 Stars
Source: Received a copy from the publisher for an honest review

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. 

Lina is a young girl who lives in Ortana, one of the archivists' strongholds. She works with the archivists who study and preserve the objects that fall from the sky. She tends to get in trouble a lot and is keeping a huge secret. She gets to a point where she needs some help and unexpectedly meets the answer to her problem. His name is Ozben and his true identity needs to be kept secret. They work together and, as their friendship grows, we learn each of their stories.

Lina was a fun character to get to know. She's an orphan who needs supervision and there are arguments among the adults about just how much supervision she needs. She's independent, spunky and smart. She makes some huge mistakes that she then needs to fix. Once we learned her plan, I thought the book would be pretty straightforward (with some definite challenges to overcome) and then some twists were thrown in.

I enjoy reading stories like this with my children so I can get their take on it as well. While we enjoyed the story, there were some spots that seemed slow to all of us. We liked the maps in the front to help us get a better feel for Solace. This is a companion book to The Mark of the Dragonfly, which is set in the same world, and my understanding is that yet another companion book will come out next year. I didn't feel like everything was wrapped up in a bow by the end, but there was enough to feel closure. I'm looking forward to reading more about Solace in the future!

Photo: Mark Jones
Jaleigh Johnson is the author of the New York Times Bestselling novel The Mark of the Dragonfly, and The Secrets of Solace, from Delacorte Press.  Her books for the Dungeons and Dragons Forgotten Realms fiction line include The Howling DelveMistshoreUnbroken ChainThe Darker Road, and Spider and Stone. In her spare time, she is an avid gamer, and also enjoys gardening, reading and going to the movies with her husband.

The publisher has generously offered to give a hard copy of this book to one of my readers! The rules are simple: You must be at least 13 years of age and live in the United States. At the end of the giveaway, I will notify the winner who will have 48 hours to respond. If I don't hear from you, a new winner will be chosen. Thanks for entering and good luck!

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