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Uncrashable Dakota

3.34  ·  Rating Details ·  88 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
In 1862, Union army infantryman Samuel Dakota changed history when he spilled a bottle of pilfered moonshine in the Virginia dirt and stumbled upon the biochemical secret of flight. Not only did the Civil War come to a much quicker close, but Dakota Aeronautics was born.

Now, in Andy Marino's Uncrashable Dakota, it is 1912, and the titanic Dakota flagship embarks on its mai
Hardcover, 313 pages
Published November 12th 2013 by Henry Holt and Company
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(showing 1-30)
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Richard Derus
Dec 09, 2016 Richard Derus rated it liked it
Rating: 3.5* of five

A pleasant read, occupying some hours I didn't want to spend doing something worthy but strenuous. I thought the basic premise was silly, beetles farting out some super-lifting gas, but then again who cares. This isn't meant to be Deathless Prose, this is a fun-to-read book that packs in some admirable sociopolitical sentiments. Also, crucially, the author's lifts from A Night to Remember are acknowledged. I recognized them, but he spiked my anger-powered nail gun by frankly
Faye, la Patata
The publisher is going to hate me for this... but yeah.

One of the reasons why I didn't write a review right after I read this book was because I didn't really have anything to say, aside from the fact that it was forgettable. I thought I just needed a wee bit more time before officially submitting my insight, despite the dangers of forgetting it even more with the passing of time. But, hey, I live the dangerous life, so bring it on, yeah? #MedyoBadGirl

So here I am, almost more than a month has p
Whitley Birks
Aug 06, 2013 Whitley Birks rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014
See more reviews at my blog.

Not necessarily a bad book, but overall pretty bland. Most of the lasting impressions I got from this book were of things it didn’t contain, because it felt like the story was too big for its britches. Instead of coming away from this thing with thoughts about what happened, I was left thinking about all the things the book should have included but failed to.

As a concept, this book worked pretty well. I liked the airship, and magic-science in this book toed that line
Jun 27, 2013 Tina added it
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Mini review! Kind of. As mini as a Christina review will ever get.

First off, let me say that I haven't read many steampunk novels. That was part of the allure for me, but I cannot tell you how this book ranks within its genre or in comparison to others like the Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld. There are some reviews which already have, if you're interested in them.

As some of those reviews mentioned, this book ha
Oct 24, 2013 Fiction_TheNewReality rated it really liked it
You can see more of this review on my blog (

Synopsis: It's the new golden age of sky travel, and Hollis Dakota is lucky enough to be the heir to the largest air travel company in the sky, Dakota Aeronautics. Aboard the legendary new Dakota airship, deemed "uncrashable" by all, Hollis is about to encounter something his privileged life has never seen before. When the airship is hijacked by none other than his own stepfather, as revenge for an old family feud, Hol
Online Eccentric Librarian
Aug 13, 2013 Online Eccentric Librarian rated it really liked it

More reviews at the Online Eccentric Librarian

More reviews (and no fluff) on the blog

Uncrashable Dakota was a very surprising read. What started as a simple adventure very reminiscent of Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan Trilogy soon turned into something completely different by the middle of the book.

The premise of the plot is simple: Samuel Dakota chances upon a way to create lift through beetles and moonshine/tree sap. He uses this knowledge to end the civil war early and create an empire. His young grands
Daniel Shellenbarger
Set in an alternate 1912 in which airships rule the skies thanks to bizarre beetles capable of generating insane amounts of lift after consuming a mixture of moonshine and sap, Uncrashable Dakota tells the story of the fateful maiden flight of the largest and most luxurious airship ever built, the Wendell Dakota. Young Hollis Dakota, barely 13 years old and heir to Dakota Aeronautics is having a hard enough time keeping his mother happy as he tries to play the part of corporate figurehead, but h ...more
Jun 01, 2014 Angie rated it liked it
Uncrashable Dakota is an alternate history/steampunk middle grade adventure novel. During the Civil War, Samuel Dakota discovered the power of flight. Seems a certain kind of beetle really likes whiskey soaked sap. You feed it to them and they can fly. Put the beetles in a ship and the ship flies. This discovery ended the Civil War years early, started the flight industry in the 1860s and allowed Lincoln to live to be an old man. Fast forward to 1912 and Dakota Aeronautics is getting ready to la ...more
Kathy Martin
Nov 06, 2013 Kathy Martin rated it really liked it
Thirteen-year-old Hollis Dakota is the heir to Dakota Aeronautics and a passenger on the company's greatest invention - the Wendell Dakota. After his father's accidental death, his mother remarried Jefferson Castor. Castor's son Rob is Hollis' best friend and is well-known for leading him into mischief. Both boys are friends with Delia who is an apprentice beetle keeper on the ship.

This is alternate history. History changes when Hollis' grandfather Samuel discovers a variety of beetle that becom
Jan 25, 2014 Mandi rated it really liked it
Shelves: rainy-day-reads
One Sentence Review: Uncrashable Dakota is a quirky adventure with wonderful characters somewhat let down by its own ending.

Recommended for: Fans of steampunk and alternate history looking for a light read.

I wanted to love this book. I really did. The characters were charming and fun, and often had me laughing out loud. The pacing was spot-on, with plenty of intrigue and a few good twists. I really liked the way Hollis' story intertwined with his grandfathers in the interlude chapters. Plus, air
Caden Schneider
Feb 23, 2014 Caden Schneider rated it really liked it
Title: Uncrashable Dakota
The uncrashable Dakota written by Andy Marino was a dull book at first look. I choose to read this because I like fiction and history. I thought it was about the inventing of a flying boat basically. Also it looked like an old time book. I also thought it would just be about inventing.
I like the twists they have in the book. Also the major differences in the characters. I don't like the amount of missing pieces. Such as why hollis's mom was taken. Also are there cul
Ashley Choo
Mar 07, 2015 Ashley Choo rated it it was amazing
Twist after twist after twist. I freaking loved this book. It took me a while to get into it, but the characters are incredibly complex. I especially loved the female characters in this fantastical story. Delia, the brilliant, brave scientist and inventor was by far my favorite character. I also loved that Lucy Dakota wasn't a damsel in distress, once she was released from her bonds, she immediately took control and managed to save a good portion of the passengers. And don't even get me started ...more
R.J. Murphy
Oct 01, 2013 R.J. Murphy rated it really liked it
Thank you for the book Goodreads. This is an exciting adventure story set in an alternative history 1912. The Civil War was won thanks to the invention of an unusual air power and now a thriving industry has grown around this invention. In 1912 the largest (uncrashable) ship is off on its maiden voyage when it is hijacked. It is up to the owner’s teenaged son and his stepbrother to save the day. I even like the cover. My only complaint is that the author interrupts the story every thirty pages o ...more
Jan 14, 2014 Donna rated it really liked it
Adventure story with a historical fiction feel to it. Hollis, his mother, step-father, and friend/step brother are off on the maiden voyage of airship Dakota. As the remaining members of the Dakota Aeronautics Empire, it is up to them to keep the passengers happy. Trouble starts when Hollis realizes that the ship is being hijacked and it is all based on a long standing family feud. Can Hollis save the ship? Will his friend Delia be able to keep the ship in the sky? Will Rob and Hollis come out o ...more
Cathrine Bonham
Mar 29, 2014 Cathrine Bonham rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: William Bonham
The year is 1912 and Hollis Dakota and his family are not only the owners of, but also passengers on the maiden voyage of the worlds first uncrashable luxury airliner.

Sounds familiar? Not quite steampunk Titanic but the similarities only serve to give the story more of an historical feel.

The action keeps you reading and the plot is creative. I am too scared of giving to spoilers to say too much more about it but if you enjoyed books like Airborne and Leviathan then add this one to your list.
Clay Rylee
Jan 06, 2014 Clay Rylee rated it really liked it
To start off, I recieved this novel in a Goodreads giveaway and this in no way affects my review. I have to say, this novel suprised me. I was expecting a rather typical steampunkish novel but was suprised to find very little steampunk elements and instead found a delightful Alternate History novel with a splash of the fantastical. I really enjoyed this book. It had action, adventure, intrigue and a hint of weirdness, all of which is wrapped in an entertaining package. I highly recommend this bo ...more
Mar 05, 2014 Drucilla rated it liked it
Shelves: m
I liked the alternate universe of this book and the science behind what makes the airships fly. It's really unique and I'd really like to know how it affects flight on into the 20th century. As for the story itself, I liked it, although the ending is kind of a mess. (view spoiler) It makes the ending feel rushed. Also, the reader gets hints of backstory on people and projects, but i ...more
Hollis Dakota is the heir to a flying ship company that was started by his grandfather during the Civil War. But when his father dies, and his mother remarries, Hollis has to question his stepfather and stepbrother and rely on some friends when the "uncrashable Dakota" is hijacked. Liked it but it seems like it will have a sequel and I'm not sure about continuing it.
Tamara Richman
The first 2/3 of this book were fantastic and deserved 4 or 5 stars but I have the last third to be muddled and confusing. If you are looking for great airship adventures try Airborn or The Last Kingdom or, of course, The Long Earth by the incomparable Sir Pratchett.
Apr 02, 2014 Debbie rated it really liked it
Shelves: karen
A clever concept of weaving the true story of the sinking of the Titanic into a fictional demise of a fantasy airship in the early 1900's.

A bit difficult to envision bloated, floating beetles which lift the ship into the atmosphere, but otherwise a very enjoyable read.
Sam Moore
Jan 09, 2017 Sam Moore rated it liked it
Good book. Great timing and suspense. Quick read. I started and finished in a sitting of about 6 hrs. I couldn't put it down. I wanted to know what was going to happen. I was disappointed in the ending. Not sure what I expected, but that wasn't it. Seemed a bit rushed and sloppy toward the end.
Aug 31, 2013 Jennifer rated it it was ok
Shelves: young-adult-teen
Read for review.
Alexis S
Oct 25, 2014 Alexis S rated it really liked it
Flying bees(insects or whatever)? I don't really understand that part.
It's my BookPage review read, so I'll save my review for them. But I will say, it's a stellar read for middle-school boys.
Nate Chamberlain
Jul 03, 2013 Nate Chamberlain rated it it was amazing
Jan 13, 2014 Boyd rated it really liked it
A real mix of Oppel's Airborn Series and Westerfeld's Leviathan Series. Steampunk Airships and the U.S. Civil War revisited. Heroes and Heroines. An enjoyable book.
Mar 31, 2015 Foggygirl rated it liked it
Shelves: owned-read
A very good read, an intriguing steampunk world has been created in the Uncrashable Dakota I would look forward to reading more.
Mar 21, 2014 Valerie rated it liked it
Shelves: ya
Did not fully live up to the potential of its premise, but I enjoyed it.
Aug 10, 2013 Mitch rated it liked it
A creative backstory, a hijacking the Titanic vibe, but even though I consider myself an analytical reader the plot left me very confused.
Elizabeth Parks
Sep 09, 2013 Elizabeth Parks rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People who are into fantasy with some science fiction thrown in for good measure
I thought it was ........interesting. Makes you wonder what might have happened if it actually were to happen.
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Andy Marino was born and raised in upstate New York. He spent his childhood orchestrating Lego pirate battles, drawing detailed maps of imaginary video games, and cheating death in Choose Your Own Adventure books. Profoundly influenced by the work of J.R.R. Tolkien and the movie Bloodsport, he started writing his first novel at the age of eleven. Tragically, THE RUNES OF ILLIARM was never complete ...more
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