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Airborn Hardcover – May 11, 2004
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Top Customer Reviews
Matt Cruse is on the crow's nest, as the "ship's eyes," when he catches a glimpse of a sinking airship. The dying balloonist dies shortly afterward -- but not before telling Matt about glorious winged creatures. Matt dismisses these as hallucinations -- but one year later, a routine cruise on the airship Aurora becomes something more when the dead man's granddaughter Kate arrives. Wealthy but treated like a nuisance, Kate is determined to find whatever her grandfather saw.
She shows Matt her grandfather's writings about these winged creatures, and Matt is slowly convinced that the old man wasn't just hallucinating. But their investigations are interrupted by a sudden pirate attack -- which leaves the Aurora sinking from a rip in its envelope. Soon the airship and her crew and passengers are stranded on a deserted island, which may hold the secret to Kate's winged beasts... but it also holds the pirates.
Oppel really hits his stride in this book, mixing science with science fiction and wrapping it in a fantasy tortilla. While his bat books were quite good, "Airborn" has the rare quality of slipping readers into his imagined universe. It's one of those stories that can be easily imagined as a reality, even if we do have planes and not airships. He even describes how creatures like the cloud cats could fly, were they real.Read more ›
This fast-paced, highly suspenseful novel is full of action and adventure. As a middle school student, I highly recommend it to middle school and high school readers. Also, it's worth noting that this book was one of the Young Reader's Choice nominees for the Senior Division (10th - 12th graders) for 2007.
She ate the fish. She could eat us.
Airborn, by Kenneth Oppel, begins with young cabin boy Matt Cruse aboard the Aurora luxury airship. One day, he meets a passenger, Kate de Vries, a passenger who is determined to see the amazing airborne creatures her grandfather once saw. However, before her dream comes true, the ship is attacked by the notorious pirate Szpirglas, and the Aurora is shipwrecked on a small tropical island. In the end, Matt and Kate find the creatures, great misty white "cloud cats," and get rid of Szpirglas once and for all. Airborn is the perfect fantasy adventure, combining suspense and excitement to create an excellent book.
One aspect of the story that I enjoyed is how it is set in an alternate past. Airborn takes place in an imaginary time where airships rule the skies, but the author makes this seem real throughout the story. For instance, little tidbits about how the Aurora works make these huge blimp-like airships more conceivable. When you are introduced to the crew and learn about all their jobs, this effect is considerably enhanced. Finally, Matt's grief over his deceased father, his efforts to become a sailmaker, and his troubles with Kate all add an air of realism to the entire novel.
Some other parts of the novel I found appealing are the sections with Szpirglas and his pirates. For example, the scene where the pirates first invade the Aurora has you almost fearing for the crew and passengers, and those fears are confirmed when the wireless officer Mr. Featherstone is shot and killed.Read more ›
Perhaps the most disappointing thing about the book is that the support characters have much more depth than the protagonist and antagonist. The shame is similar to having scuba gear and only being able to swim in a pool that's in the middle of an ocean. You find yourself wondering, "Why am I in this dreadfully boring pool when I could be exploring the depths of this nearby ocean instead". I would have rather heard the story from the Cruse's rival's perspective. He's afraid of heights which makes his every action aboard the airship that much more courageous.
The pacing is slow at first, and any impactful moment in the later part of the book is dulled by the symptom of children's novel. There won't be a memorable moment that sticks with you later.
My last beef with Airborn is a practical one, and in the spirit of fiction could honestly be ignored. And if you don't like spoilers, I'd ignore this part if I were you.
//Spoiler// When Cruse makes his daring escape from the air vent, he uses clothing to create his own miniature balloon. However, this would be impossible since the Hydrium?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is great, I purchased it for my boyfriend's twelve year old son, and he absolutely loves it. I am very pleased with the turnout. Read morePublished 3 months ago by MeganElaine
It's a fantastic book, and I adore it. Everyone should read it.Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Kenneth Oppel's "Airborn Series" are probably the best Young Adult books I've read. They feature great characters in exciting adventures in a really clever steampunk... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Dennis
Love this book, however the way it's shipped is abysmal. It comes in a large envelope and the book was dented and bent on arrival. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Matt
Good guys. Bad guys. An elusive creature. A plot that keeps you turning page after page and hoping for more. Please, let there be a sequel!Published 4 months ago by LoriAnn the Librarian
Great yarn- I read it after my 16 yr old daughter who is steampunk crazy! Would make a good movie!Published 6 months ago by Cary Richmond