The Secrets of Solace

The Secrets of SolaceWritten by Jaleigh Johnson

Lina Winterbock is a young apprentice among the Archivists, archaeologist-librarians who live deep in mountain strongholds of Solace. While the rest of Solace is at war, these scientists continue to study and preserve the mysterious artifacts that fall to Solace amidst the debris of meteor showers. However, instead of studying Lina explores the obscure corridors and collapsed caverns of the stronghold, where she has found an incredible airship half-buried in rock. Her sneaking also helps her discover the presence of a unusual refugee boy who has arrived from outside the stronghold. He becomes her first real friend, and he may be able to help her get the airship working, but he has also brought dangerous secrets of his own into the stronghold.

In this stand-alone companion novel to her 2014 middle grade debut The Mark of the Dragonfly, Johnson takes readers to an entirely different part of the incredible world of Solace, bringing us a new cast of characters and a fascinating setting in the Archivists’ underground city. This episode brings positive comparisons with Harry Potter to mind, with a setting reminiscent of Hogwarts and a brash young heroine who doesn’t always make the best choices. Though not as jaw-droppingly fresh to me as the first Solace novel, this book still has some imaginative tricks up its sleeves and nice steampunk touches. Recommended to fans of epic fantasy adventures (Harry Potter) and space operas (Star Wars.) These adventurous Solace books could serve as an excellent bridge for boys who may need a little extra encouragement to start reading stories with female protagonists.

Review by Joshua Whiting, Granite Library Media Program, Educational Technology Dept.
Rating: ★★★★✩ (4 stars)
Interest Level: Grades 4-8

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The Secrets of Solace
Written by Jaleigh Johnson
Delacorte Press
371 pages
Release Date: March 8, 2016
An advanced reader copy was provided by the publisher.

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