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Starclimber (Matt Cruse) Hardcover – February 24, 2009
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"Mr. Cruse, how high would you like to fly?"
A smile soared across my face.
"As high as I possibly can."
Pilot-in-training Matt Cruse and Kate de Vries, expert on high-altitude life-forms, are invited aboard the Starclimber, a vessel that literally climbs its way into the cosmos. Before they even set foot aboard the ship, catastrophe strikes:
Kate announces she is engagedâand not to Matt.
Despite this bombshell, Matt and Kate embark on their journey into space, but soon the ship is surrounded by strange and unsettling life-forms, and the crew is forced to combat devastating mechanical failure. For Matt, Kate, and the entire crew of the Starclimber, what began as an exciting race to the stars has now turned into a battle to save their lives.
Award-winning and bestselling author Kenneth Oppel brings us back to a rich world of flight and fantasy in this breathtaking new sequel to Airborn and Skybreaker.
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The series takes place in an alternative early 1900s where France and Canada are the dominant nations and the technology is steam-ish punk. The first novel is about air pirates, the second about high altitude salvage (and more pirates) and this third about the race into space. The plot is well-developed, the characters believable and the pacing is fast, but with lots of lovely little details.
Author Kenneth Oppel's alternate version of the 1800's continues to provide fertile ground for his imagination. As in the preceding installments of this trilogy, he presents compelling characters, a rousing adventure, and populates the heavens with more intriguing life forms. Each book in the series has taken our heroes even higher than the previous installment, so I suppose we won't be seeing any more of Matt and Kate unless the author is plotting how they might reach the moon via steampunk technology. If so, I'll be there.
This series is just good fun all the way through and should be pleasing to both adults and children, it is certainly worth the $5.99 price tag and I hope everyone gives it a try. I noticed a few other reviewers bring up the switch to science fiction as well and I feel it necessary to point out that for those interested in only modern "hard science" in their SciFi this story will no doubt seem trite and silly. But as I stated in my earlier review of "Skybreaker" it's my contention that this series is an attempt by Oppel to write his own version of golden age pulps so don't be surprised if some of the things that happen in this book defy the laws of physics as we now know them. Still I hope everyone gives this series a try as I had a tone of fun reading it.
Kate has joined the suffragettes and of course gets both herself and Matt into trouble. It is good to have a reminder that women's rights were fought for and are more recent than some young people realize. There is also an uncomfortable view of the class structures that existed in times past.
The story has action and adventure just like the other two, the only thing missing were the pirates, but they had anarchists in their place this time.
This series has a modern day Jules Vern feel to it. If you enjoyed Harry Potter or Percy Jackson you will like it.
There was humor and some nice tension between Kate and Matt, I would recommend the story to anyone who enjoys a good adventure.