Dandelion Iron, The Juniper Wars, #1

Aaron Michael
Young Adult

SCI-FI/WESTERN:  The year is 2058. Sixteen-year-old Cavatica Weller is going about her business, getting her education at the Sally Browne Burke Academy for the Moral and Literate in Cleveland, Ohio, when her trouble-making sister Wren shows up with news of their mother’s death. With no more money for tuition their oldest sister Sharlotte sends Wren to drag Cavvy home to Burlington, Colorado. Unfortunately for Cavvy, home is in the Juniper, 1,438,577 square kilometers in the middle of the US, where there’s no electricity, no laws, and a hard life for anyone who lives there. Leaving the civilized world behind to return to the Juniper was bad enough, but Cavvy had no idea how much worse it was about to get.


One should grab a duster, six shooter, and spurs before venturing into this creatively crafted steampunk tale of sibling rivalry, loyalty, and long odds. Set in the near future of the US with technological advances and a major war behind them, there is the juxtaposition of the Juniper, an electronic dead zone and throwback to the days of the Wild West in the middle of a prosperous country which delivers quite a shock to the reader. Complex characters inhabit a cleverly built world and are forced by circumstance to risk it all. Building tension and subsequent anxiety are nigh unbearable as one bites fingernails to stubs with page after page of obstacles. Ringing the only sour notes are the numerous pop culture references and a whopping cliffhanger. Saddle up and settle in for an adventure of a life time!


Carol Conley