Title: The Secrets of Solace
Author: Jaleigh Johnson
Series: World of Solace #2
Lina, an apprentice Archivist, has an insatiable curiosity. That was how she found the crack in the caves that led to a cavern with a buried airship. That was how she found Fredrick, a refugee with secrets she isn’t supposed to know. And that was how she ended up in the middle of an adventure far bigger than just her and her fellow Archivists . . .
I really enjoyed Mark of the Dragonfly, and I wish I had re-read it before reading this. The Secrets of Solace jumps to a different place, with a different protagonist, but continues many of the global events from the first book (mostly the war between the Merrow Kingdom and the Dragonfly Territories). But if you’ve never read the first book, that’s just fine—there’s enough context for this book.
I like how human all of the major characters are. Lina is bright, cheerful, and curious. But she doesn’t plan ahead at all, doesn’t think through possibilities, and not one but several of her otherwise-credible schemes goes hugely awry. Despite good intentions, she can’t correct for variables she doesn’t understand or anticipate. Fredrick balances her well. He’s more cautious, has a lot more experience outside the caves, and, most crucially, has a strong relationship with the family he left behind. His connectedness highlights her isolation. I liked what happened with Simon, too. I suspected it might go that way, and was glad Lina couldn’t just relegate him to a stock villain, but she has to confront that he’s a real person with real feelings as well.
The overall plot is a bit weak because of who the traitor turned out to be, but the action is solid and Lina and Fredrick’s character journeys makes up for it. I adore the airship. For all the ways this world is similar to ours, there are distinct differences, and not just in the meteor fields or the chamelins.
This book could be read alone, although I do hope there is more to come. I rate this book Recommended.