Airborn by Kenneth Oppel
“Matt Cruse is the 15-year-old cabin boy aboard the Aurora, the 900-foot luxury airship he has called home for the past two years. While crossing the Pacificus, Matt fearlessly rescues the unconscious pilot of a crippled hot air balloon. 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. . .” (summary from author’s website)
So, it has been several months since I finished this book, and I am now just sitting down to write a review. I was originally attracted to this series because I heard it was steampunk. I was immediately hooked at the beginning when the Aurora stumbles upon the damaged air-balloon, during a routine flight. The man inside the basket is seriously ill, and taken to the ship’s infirmary. A short-time later he dies, but not before he confides to Matt that he has discovered something out there in the sky. I found this mystery to be very intriguing, but I had a hard time reading the book for a while afterward because the mystery is dropped for a while until this man’s granddaughter, Kate, appears on the ship trying to discover what her grandfather last saw.
The action picks up again when pirates cause the ship to crash land on an island. The island that Kate’s grandfather described in his air log, while there they discover more than the strange creatures that her grandfather described. I really liked this section of the book. It has a bunch of adventure and discoveries, as Kate and Matt discover the really cool creatures that her grandfather drew and mentioned in his log book.
So my reaction to this book was mixed. It had some slow parts that gave me some difficulty, but had some really fun action-adventure, and age of discovery type feel to it that was enjoyable. This would be a great novel to hand over to a young men, but tis also enjoyable for girls, as Kate is a spirited and unique character in her own right.
Kenneth Oppel's website