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Skybreaker Hardcover – November 29, 2005

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 and up
  • Hardcover: 369 pages
  • Publisher: Eos; First Edition edition (November 29, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060532270
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060532277
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,032,516 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

In this breathtaking sequel to the Governor General's Award-winning fantasy novel Airborn, 16-year-old Matt Cruse flies higher than he ever dreamed. The former Aurora cabin boy, now a student at the prestigious Paris Airship Academy, is on a two-week training tour with a run-down cargo airship when his captain sights a legendary ghost ship. Matt recklessly heads skyward in pursuit--only to risk sacrificing his entire crew to altitude sickness. The Hyperion, lost in a storm in the dawn of the aviation age and buoyed high above the clouds for 40 years, is rumoured to hold great wealth, and Matt is suddenly the only person on earth who knows her coordinates.

Soon, he and his upper-class sweetheart, Kate de Vries, are embarked on a dangerous aerial treasure hunt, along with Hal, the conceited pilot of a sleek, new altitude-friendly airship, and a mysterious gypsy girl named Nadira, who claims to have the key to the Hyperion's booby-trapped treasure troves. Drawing on the myths of Icarus and Prometheus, as well as classic sea adventures like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and The Poseidon Adventure, Skybreaker combines an action-packed thriller with a sensitive exploration of the limits of human ambition. Matt's jealousy of the self-made Hal (who he suspects has designs on Kate) and his own furtive attraction to Nadira heighten the emotional tension and raw suspense of the visceral scenes aboard the Hyperion, an ice-entombed version of the Titanic. With pirates, sky monsters, and disturbed spirits, not to mention enough bizarre flying machines to fill an aviation museum (even a bat-copter for Silverwing fans), Skybreaker confirms Kenneth Oppel's reputation as Canada's leading fantasy author for children and young adults. --Lisa Alward

From School Library Journal

Grade 6-10–Oppel does it again! This action-packed sequel to Airborn (HarperCollins, 2004) starts with a bang and doesn't let up until the satisfying ending. Matt Cruse, now a student at the Airship Academy, finds himself training as a navigator aboard a worn out, tumbledown cargo airship piloted by a reckless captain. Flying through a typhoon at dangerously high altitudes, they see a ghost ship that set out 40 years before and was never seen again. The captain risks his life, the crew, and his ship as he tries to reach the Hyperion to claim the fortune in gold that's rumored to be aboard. His attempt fails after the crew is stricken with altitude sickness. Only Matt remembers the coordinates of where Hyperion was last seen. This knowledge plunges him and Kate, now a pilot in training herself, into a breakneck race against a pirate intent on getting to the riches. They find themselves aboard a new type of pressurized ship called Skybreaker piloted by Hal, a wealthy and dashing captain with designs on Kate. What they discover aboard Hyperion is a more fabulous treasure than any of them could have imagined. That is, if they survive to tell anyone about it. This worthy companion to Airborn maintains its roller-coaster thrills in true swashbuckling style.–Sharon Rawlins, Piscataway Public Library, NJ
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

More About the Author

Kenneth Oppel is the author of numerous books for young readers. His award-winning Silverwing trilogy has sold over a million copies worldwide, and been adapted as an animated TV series and stage play. Airborn was winner of a Michael L Printz Honor Book Award, and the Canadian Governor General's Award for Children's Literature; its sequel, Skybreaker, was a New York Times bestseller and was named Children's Novel of the Year by the London Times. He is also the author of Half Brother, and This Dark Endeavor, a prequel to Frankenstein. His most recent book is THE BOUNDLESS, a thriller set aboard the longest, most magnificent train ever built. Born on Vancouver Island, he has lived in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, England, Ireland, and now lives in Toronto with his wife and children.

Customer Reviews

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Book two in a series my sons and I have loved!
Teresa Z. Roberts
I found Skybreaker to be even better than Airborn--engaging characters, fast action, a true sense of creepy mystery concerning the lost airship.
My son had read the first book in this series, and gobbled this one up as well.
Kate Van

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Randall Richmond on September 12, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is one of the most perfectly paced novels I have ever read, and I have read hundreds of books in my life. Like many writers, Oppel can make you care about his characters, but that is just one of the levels on which SKYBREAKER succeeds. His ability to twist a cliche sideways and make it ring true is superb. His tactful descriptions of Matt and Kate's feelings for each other are realistic and enjoyable. The adventure aspects abound, yet never seem rushed or over done. All in all a very entertaining book, and one that I hope is just the second in a long running series.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By LonestarReader VINE VOICE on December 1, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I loved Oppel's Airborn. I describe it as shades of Titanic (in the air) with a touch of Mysterious Island and Pirates of the Carribean thrown in. In this sequel, Oppel takes us back to the world of graceful hydrium ships and into a search for gold.

As a Paris Airship Academy cadet, Matt Cruse is serving on a rust bucket freighter when the crew sights a long-vanished phantom ship, the Hyperion. Like the Flying Dutchmen of shiplore; the Hyperion is more rumor than fact. The ship is at an unreachable altitude but Matt's captain is foolishly determined to capture it. As the crew falls victim to the crushing altitude, Matt is able to save their lives by disobeying a direct order from his captain.

Back in Paris after this episode Matt is wondering if he has a future at the Academy or with the lovely Kate de Vries. Kate wants to prepare an expedition to find the Hyperion though she is more interested in scientific discoveries than the legendary treasure.

Matt alone knows the the ship's last position and others want his knowledge. Should he let the dream of wealth overtake him and join in the hunt for the Hyperion or should he plug away at his studies and forget the whole thing?

Like treasure hunters searching for Spanish galleons at impossible ocean depths, the team will have to break the sky in their quest. A beautiful gypsy girl, a privateer with questionable motives, a prim governess, brilliant Kate and brave but confused Matt make up the party and are in for the flight of their lives.

As Kate suspects, there are other lethal creatures in the sky besides cloud cats. The other presence in the story is the Captain Nemo/Howard Hughes-type eccentric who built the Hyperion so many years ago. Is his spirit ready to part with the secrets of the ghost ship?

Horation Hornblower meets Jules Verne -- this is a cracking read. I hope Oppel will visit this world again. His fascination with bats continues by the way.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By R. Nicholson TOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 11, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A wonderful fantasy adventure read.

This is a book written with an adolescent audience in mind, however it has the writing quality and story line to keep most adult fantasy/adventure lovers contented.

Personally I liked this book better than "Airborn", (which I felt had some very convienent solutions to solve some of its near impossible situations). This book, (featuring the same main charcters and the same zepellin like airships), seemed to me, to have a better conclusions for the various twists and turns that the heroes encountered.

I found this book hard to put down and would have no hesitancy in recommending it for anyone what wants an interesting, action packed story.

5 Stars!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ukithiro on May 11, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I loved this book! I simply couldn't put it down. Kenneth Oppel has a great way of keeping my eyes glued to the book. I couldn't hold the suspense most of the time; I found my eyes skipping to the bottom of the page. Luckily, I forced myself to go back and read it so I would understand what was happening! This book took me 2 days to finish reading, it was very captivating and I had a hard time putting it away. I like the way he told the story because every chapter continued from the last and it was very exciting to read on although it was a long book.

I predicted that there wouldn't be treasure on the Hyperion. But, there was I was wrong about that! I think that the story plot was very original, imaginative and creative. Everything was very detailed and I could almost picture every scene. Especially when they were hiding from Rath and his crew, and when they (______) Hyperion. I think he described Hal, Kate, Nadira, and Matt's personality very clearly. When Nadira was being accused of leading Rath and his crew to the Hyperion, I knew it wasn't her because of the shadow in Matt's room. I think that the idea of flying squid-like things (aerozoans) and cloud cats and flying spiders with wings were very creative. When Kate and Matt were hiding in the wolf case from Rath and Barton, I thought that Rath knew that they were in the room somewhere and was waiting for them to come out of hiding. Also, when Matt was saving Kate from Rath and Barton, I thought of the idea of shooting the glass separating the aerozoans from them; and that's what Matt did! At the ending, I predicted that Kate and Matt would find the blueprints in the ornithopter but instead, they found something else.

Overall this was an excellent book, and I would rate it 9 out of 10.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on November 30, 2005
Format: Hardcover
As a teenage first year student at the Airship Academy, Matt Cruse like all other new pupils, was sent on an on the job assignment. He sails through the air on the dilapidated cargo ship the Flotsam. However, when the crew spots the legendary ghost SKYBREAKER the Hyperion at about 20K up from Antarctica, Captain Tritus gives the order to soar upward so that they can grab the vessel and claims its rumored millions that belong to a wealthy inventor. However, the Flotsam is not built for high stratospheric conditions and the crew begins to suffer from hypoxia. Matt intercedes before they all die from mistakes caused by the increasingly thin oxygen.

Someone from the crew sells the sightings story to the newspapers, while Matt's tells his best friend from the Aurora escapade Kate de Vries that he was on the Flotsam and saw the Hyperion. Kate persuades Matt that they should salvage the Hyperion. She also brings Captain Hal Slater of the Saga to pilot their expedition and they are joined by Gypsy Nadira. Passion is heating the Saga though that must stay in the background as sky pirates and deadly rivals such as the Sagarmatha are also AIRBORNE racing for the prize.

Readers should picture a Victorian teenage Indiana Jones who performs courageous feats in the stratosphere to understand the concepts behind the exciting SKYBREAKER. The story line is action, action, and more action, but the key cast members seem real due to the feisty amusing relationships. The rectangular romance augments the capers so that teenage action adventure fans (both genders) will appreciate Kenneth Oppel's latest thriller, the sequel to the exhilarating AIRBORNE in which Matt was a hero.

Harriet Klausner
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