Susan's Reviews > Airborn

Airborn by Kenneth Oppel
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Nov 02, 07

bookshelves: juvenile
Recommended for: fans of pirate stories or old-school Indiana Jones or Treasure Island adventures
Read in October, 2007

This book is reminiscent of the best pirate adventures of the past, but ups the ante by setting half of the tale in the air, rather than the seas, and by taking time with characterizations, rather than creating stock Baddies.
There is admittedly an odd subplot with mysterious creatures which is...interesting enough, but really I found myself caught up the most with the "high seas" (or perhaps in this case, high over the seas) drama. Even the technical parts about the various parts of the airship, details about the mechanisms, and the behind-the-scenes peek into crew life on the fictional and fantastic Aurora were fascinating to me. The pirate crew are a mixture of elegant and rough unsavory characters that feel particularly true-to-life from what I've read on the subject. These villains are neither caricatures nor buffoons, and they evoke a sense of danger that's almost palpable. Reluctant readers might be thrown by the length and the formality in the speech of the characters who are after all, from another time. Still, I think a case could be made for this as a sort of crossover for a boy who reads mainly nonfiction and is interested in nautical subjects, aviation, or real life pirates. And who doesn't love that? Many girls will find plenty of things to hold their interest as well between the adventure and the smart, strong-minded, and brave Kate, who befriends the protagonist and leaves such a strong impression on the reader that she really comes close to stealing the show at times.
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