arc provided by Delacorte Books for Young Readers through Netgalley
Piper lives in Scrap Town number 16, one of the many Scrap Towns littered across the Merrow Kingdom, where scrappers gather to wait for dangerous meteor storms. These storms, in flurries of deadly dust, rain down marvellous objects - objects from other worlds - and there is money to be made trading these artifacts, machines and trinkets.
Piper's father died in a factory in Noveen, the capital city, while trying to make enough money to buy them a house so they could leave the Scrap Towns behind. So now Piper fends for herself. Luckily she has a gift for anything mechanic: as if by magic, broken machines come back to life under her hands.
During a particularly violent meteor storm, instead of a broken watch or a music box, Piper finds Anna, a girl with a dragonfly tattoo on her arm, a tattoo that marks her as being under the King's protection. And Anna seems to need it, for a shady man is intent on capturing her.
Piper and Anna's journey into the capital turns into a perilous adventure.
I really liked the concept of this book: meteor storms raining down objects from other worlds, and while it was explained and explored, I wish we'd seen more of it.
Piper was a very well written character: brave, practical, believable. She was not some Mary Sue who magically manages to fight or charm her way out of everything. Piper fought and, more often than not, she lost and had to flee. Piper didn't get things handed to her, she haggled, she was cunning, she used her brains. It's always delightful to find characters like these!
Anna seemed a bit more stilted, but still likeable and believable - and there is a reason for the way she acts...
I really, really liked the relationship between the two girls. They seem complete opposites, but they grow to care and love each other as sisters. Hurray for positive portrayals of friendship between girls!
The only thing I didn't enjoy about this book was the fact the author took a bit too much artistic license when it came to science. Yes, this is fantasy, but still somewhat grounded in reality. More often than not the trope Science at the Speed of Plot was used.
Fans of Frances Hardinge are sure to like this book, as are all fantasy lovers.