Airborn is a young adult novel by Kenneth Oppel. The novel is set in an alternate history where the airplane has not been invented, and instead, airships are the primary form of air transportation. Additionally, the world contains fictional animal species such as flying creatures, which live their entire lives in the sky. The book takes place aboard a transoceanic luxury passenger airship, the Aurora , and is told from the perspective of its cabin boy, Matt Cruse.
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While crossing the Pacificus, Matt fearlessly rescues the unconscious pilot of a crippled hot air balloon. Matt Cruse is the year-old cabin boy aboard the Aurora, the foot luxury airship he has called home for the past two years. Before he dies, the balloonist tells him about the fantastic, impossible creatures he has seen flying through the clouds. Matt dismisses the story as the ravings of a dying man, but when Kate de Vries arrives on the Aurora a year later, determined to prove the story is true, Matt finds himself caught up in her quest.
Then one night, over the middle of the ocean, deadly air pirates board the Aurora. Far from any hope of rescue, Kate and Matt are flung into adventures beyond all imagining. When the action kicks off -- kidnappings, shoot-outs with pirates, cloud cat attacks -- Oppel's skill is to maintain tension by piling on twist after twist as events unfold.
Airborn's action is underscored by Matt's memories of his dead father, which add thoughtfulness and depth to the book. Airships represent to many the most romantic and elegant means of travel. For a while, in the early 20th century, they seemed to be the way of the future for intercontinental travel. Massive, ungainly on the ground, they were agile, swift and captivating when skyward. But they could be dangerous and vulnerable.
This is a story that blends high-skies piracy, risky escapes, unknown tropical islands, strange, graceful but ultimately sinister "sky cats" and the inner workings of life aloft with a subtle swipe at class barriers and primness. Oppel is an accomplished author of thrilling stories, but his real skill is in creating characters, bad and good, who are convincing, involving, sometimes funny and always easy to cheer on.
Airborn is a satisfying rip-roaring adventure Oppel writes with clarity and passion, particularly in his descriptions of the natural world and the world in the sky, and the plot fairly zips along, but there is also a reflective quality to his writing, and he is not afraid to tackle the issue of death. Kate and Matt, both dreamers and kindred spirits, are well-rounded characters, frustrated by the class differences between them, and argumentative as a result. If you liked Mortal Engines and Harry Potter, this is for you!
Airborn is good, old-fashioned YA adventure with an alternate reality twist. In this early 20th-century world, "airships" are a major mode of transportation Matt [faces] pirates, storms, shipwreck on a desert island, and other dangers in this rousing adventure.
Get ready for Airborn, another action-packed book from Kenneth Oppel who wrote the Silverwing trilogy I've read many Kenneth Oppel books, and I think Airborn is one of the best he has written.
By the end of the first paragraph, I was already fully submerged in the story. The plot is filled with one exciting moment after another. There are just so many unexpected events that happen There are also many clever survival tricks Matt and Kate use to free themselves from danger.
Many of them made me jump out of my chair! Kenneth Oppel puts detail into the characters' emotions so you can really get a feel for all the events. This book kept me entertained chapter after chapter. I can't wait for the sequel to come out! Oppel's description of Captain Walken and his crew, the ship itself, the strange and vicious "cloud cat" creature, a tropical island, its forests and pirate village pirates are named Crumlin, Rathgar: Oppel, a Canadian, spent a year in Dublin the wilful Kate de Vries whom Matt falls for, the sharp dialogue - all are brilliantly done.
At the outset, the old-fashioned entertaining storytelling, with its spectacularly clear picturing of events, reminded me of Robert Louis Stevenson; but its momentum-gathering plot, shootings, dangers, savagery and suspense add a James Bond dimension. Though Kate and Matt "have as much future as a fish and a kangaroo", love triumphs. Set in an imaginary past, Airborn's contained world is totally absorbing, cleverly plotted, a terrific read. My year-old daughter and I raced through it.
No Harry Potter this summer -- Oppel's Airborn more than makes up for it. If you thought the hot-air balloon scenes in Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy were exciting, hitch a ride on the Aurora airship in Kenneth Oppel's spectacular young-adult fantasy novel Airborn.
Oppel, known for his best-selling Silverwing trilogy about the hidden lives of bats, has more in common with the famous British fantasy author than an interest in flight and a predilection for publishing books in threes. Like the popular Pullman series, Airborn is set in an alternative world where the similarities to our own are every bit as fascinating as the differences. In this case, what if some of the early 20th century's more bizarre experiments in aviation had actually worked?
In Oppel's imaginary, not-so-distant past, giant luxury airships ply the air like ocean liners thanks to a miraculous mango-scented gas called hydrium , while flying contraptions with feathered mechanical wings taxi people about--and everything else is slightly altered as a result.
Committing several murders, the pirates are typically unsavoury but are not stock cartoon characters. This title, packed with suspense, fantasy, and thrills, is a solid selection geared to middle school boys. The airship Aurora, centrepiece of the novel, is more than a setting; it's a universe unto itself, with luxurious passenger cabins and cramped crew quarters, sweeping stairways and hidden catwalks, vast dining halls and noisy kitchens.
In short, it's the sort of place a reader wants to settle into and explore. Oppel, through his immensely likable narrator, Matt Cruse, invites us to do just that A funny, engaging adventure story -- the kind of book you read in a day or two or stay up late to finish Airborn is all that. Lighter than air, but with unexpected lifting power. Spyglass to my eye, I slowly swept the heavens Buy in Canada Buy in America Watch the trailer. Read an Excerpt.
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Airborn by Kenneth Oppel – review
An exciting adventure story set in the air and on the high seas - complete with feisty hero and heroine, pirates, tropical islands, high-speed chases, narrow escapes and much more Matt Cruse is cabin boy aboard the Aurora, an airship which truly is lighter than air. Since the discovery of hydrium, a gas that renders even the heaviest vehicle as light as a feather, airships travel all over the world in the same way as planes do today. Matt himself was born on an airship and it is there that he feels most at home. Matt has high hopes for promotion to junior sailmaker on this voyage - until Kate de Vries, one of the wealthy passengers, arrives on the scene. She's feisty and brave, and won't let social distinctions get in the way of her friendship with Matt. And all their bravery is required when one night, in the middle of the ocean, they are boarded by pirates and caught up in adventures beyond all imagining
Sailing toward dawn, and I was perched atop the crow's nest, being the ship's eyes. We were two nights out of Sydney, and there'd been no weather to speak of so far. I was keeping watch on a dark stack of nimbus clouds off to the northwest, but we were leaving it far behind, and it looked to be smooth going all the way back to Lionsgate City. Like riding a cloud.