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The Boundless

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  5,388 ratings  ·  985 reviews
The Boundless train is on its maiden voyage across the country. When first-class passenger Will Everett gets the key to a train car containing priceless treasures, he becomes the target of sinister figures from his past. To survive, Will joins a travelling circus, helped by ringmaster leader Mr. Dorian, and Maren, a girl his age and an expert escape artist.
Hardcover, 332 pages
Published April 22nd 2014 by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers (first published April 1st 2014)
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Average rating 3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,388 ratings  ·  985 reviews

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Jesse (JesseTheReader)
Jan 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Here's a video with my thoughts on The Boundless: ...more
Jul 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
3.5/5 stars


I enjoyed this a lot! It was more exciting than I thought it would be. I loved the story, but the characters didn't have a lot of growth, or at least growth that made sense. It was mostly all about the plot, which in this case was good, so not a total loss! I loved the descriptions of the cars on the boundless because that seriously sounds like a train I want to be on. Overall enjoyable though not incredible!
Penny McGill
May 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: for-older-kids
A truly great book that kept me up - reading - all in just one evening. An evening that flew by and very little laundry was folded and put away. This isn't the first Kenneth Oppel book that I've read (or read aloud to my kids) that made me think it would make a fantastic movie. We loved it. I'm always on the edge of my seat when I read that he'll publish something new but I almost felt like I'd won the lottery when I saw the blog post where he mentioned all of the research for this book. It's li ...more
Richard Cardenas
Dec 23, 2016 rated it did not like it

I really, really wanted to enjoy this book. It had trains, which I love, it took place in an alternate Victorian era, and it was an adventure. But alas I could not get past two very big things, the first it being so incredibly boring and slow. It took at least 200 pages to get going and it takes place on a train which you'd think would go by even quicker, but no. There's also a hint of romance in this which I wasn't for, you all know how I feel about MG books with romance in them. I don't
Alisha Marie
God, I'm such a sucker for a book with a beautiful cover. And my God, the cover of The Boundless is stunning. I really wish that the story was at least half as beautiful or stunning as the cover is. I wish that I would've found The Boundless even slightly interesting. But alas, it was not meant to be.

Here's my issue with The was boring. I'm talking coma-inducing boring. The beginning was meh, so I thought "Let me give it at least until the middle. I'm sure it'll pick up by then".
Nov 04, 2013 rated it liked it
This review is based on an ARC. I found "The Boundless" entertaining, but not as gripping as Oppel's other books. The narration style took me a while to settle into, though I was never completely comfortable with his voice; it seemed choppy. I liked that the book was set in Canada and tried to portray light and dark parts of Canada's history (i.e. the last spike ceremony, CNR, treatment of aboriginal peoples, colonials and whites). The antagonists seemed a bit one-dimensional: they were thugs lo ...more
Lee Födi
Jun 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
I was privileged to attend a Kenneth Oppel launch of this book and hear a lot about the genesis of this idea. He's taken an interesting approach with this book. By mythologizing Canadian history, he takes us on a journey across Canada, from Halifax to Victoria, via a Titanic-inspired train that is populated with famous personalities such as Sam Steele and creatures such as a Sasquatch. Personally, I enjoyed the use of present tense, which really serves to ground the reader in the moment (an inte ...more
Joshua Whiting
This review was posted on

A cross-continental Canadian steampunk circus train con job adventure, plus sasquatch to boot.

Through a classic rags-to-riches turn of events our young man Will Everett finds himself traveling first class on The Boundless, the largest steam engine train ever built, for its maiden transcontinental voyage. However, when Will witnesses a murder and becomes a target himself, he must literally join the circus on-boar
John Cho
Nov 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
The Boundless by Kenneth Oppel
I highly recommend this book to those who love thrillers and want a book that keeps you on the edge of your seat. This book is full of mystery, wonder, and packed with action. A touch of fantasy here, a touch of history there, and tons of action and suspense will intrigue and make anyone want to read this book. The Boundless is not your typical book about good versus evil, it shows the other side of stories and that maybe good can be bad and that bad can be good. Wi
Dec 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is not a book I would have picked up on my own (it was given to me to review). So I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked it once I got into it. For this reason, five stars!
Oct 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Taking a train trip?
How long is the train?
What's the track like?
Do you believe in Sasquatch?

Boundless, starts at a slowish pace, the trans-Canadian line is just being finished with the golden spike being driven in, but NOT by the person who would normally drive the spike in the last rail, but by young William Everett, his father is one of the many workers who have labored on the construction of the line. An avalanche causes major confusion after the spike is driven in..... William and his fathe
Mar 05, 2015 rated it liked it
I feel kind of guilty for not loving this book more, because there is really nothing technically wrong with it -- at least not that jumped out at me while I was reading it. But for some reason I just didn't love the characters or the story enough to get excited. Pity, because there are a lot of great ideas here -- but for whatever reason, I was just not the right reader for this particular story.

That wouldn't keep me from recommending this book to others who might find it more to their interest
Jul 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book is too amazing to write about. Highly recommended!!
Sep 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was hecka dope!! My friend recommended it for book club and I'm so glad she did!! This book has action that's perfectly paced throughout the book. The events of the first chapter really just grab you and take you along for the ride! I DEFINITELY recommend reading this book!! You certainly won't regret it!!
Jun 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book. It's about a boy traveling with his father - a railroad executive - across the continent in the longest train ever built. The boy, Will, has a passion for drawing and a secret longing for a tightrope walker he met three years before. Along the way he discovers the girl, Maren, is also aboard having joined the circus which performs for passengers going west. Will witnesses a murder and must join the circus to hide from the murderer who pursues him. He faces new challenges and ...more
Cori Reed
Aug 01, 2016 rated it liked it
I am officially a Kenneth Oppel fan.

If you like younger feeling YA and middle grade, he is a sure bet. Also, if you're Canadian, most of his books will give you at least a small amount of patriotic affection for them. If you're not Canadian, you probably won't notice, so don't be afraid! It's like little Canadian easter eggs. Kenneth Oppel is so good at fun allusion - which is exactly why I think adult can appreciate his novels just as much as a 12 year old. In this book we have nods to The Pic
May 03, 2014 rated it liked it
2.5 rounded up. A fun YA adventure, but having it from Will's POV negated any awesomeness the single (1! No other females were main or secondary characters, nor did any have more than a bit part in small scenes) female character may have had. It's a good yarn for the age group it's aimed at.

The train's pretty cool too, though I could only think of Snowpiercer (graphic novel turned film with the same premise, but dystopian/post-apocalyptic) as I read the descriptions of the various cars and clas
Holly Ristau
Jul 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I really liked this book! What an exciting read! Nonstop action almost from beginning to end featuring avalanches, sasquatches, murder, gigantic people and trains! I think kids would like it... will test it on a few to find out!
Will Van Wagner
Mar 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Hannah Jarman
May 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a thrilling, pacey book. The narrative is really compelling and the fact that the majority of the story is set on a moving train really pushes the plot along. Lots of danger, lots of intrigue. I really liked that there were difficult themes around colonialism, migration and class brought up in this book. It would be great for examining those themes in more depth through a historical lens.
Nov 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: i-really-want
not enough fantasy.
these are my reasons for giving the book 3 stars, the given stars are for the train and the ungiven ones are for unsatisfying whimsy...oh and also the circus, i loved that too. also didn't care for present tense of the third person telling the story. i prefer the past tense .
a good, fast and boundless read overall.
John Naylor
This was an easy book to read and a tough one to review. It has a lot of red herrings and things that seem like they should have had more significance in the plot but then are forgotten. I wouldn't even class it as a mystery. The mystery is lost in the action.

Reading this I felt that although an average 10 year old could read it, the story is overcomplicated in places without a good plot reason why. It did remind me of certain other books and series involving trains at times too. There is one pl
Sep 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is perfect if you like trains and death. Interesting and developed characters, spooky villains, large train. Very exciting.
Hazel West
Feb 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Thoughts on the Overall Book: Typical of Kenneth Oppel, this is a classic adventure novel with a flair of steampunk and the fantastical. I have never read one of his books that I didn't like!

Cover--Yea or Nay: Yes! I love this cover so much, I think it fits perfect with the feel of the story and I also love the eyes in the forest :)

Characters: Will Everett was a very enjoyable character to read about. I really liked him because, unlike a lot of characters in middle-grade adventure novels, he is
Aug 06, 2014 rated it it was ok
Let me just preface this review by saying I am a huge Kenneth Oppel fan and absolutely LOVED his Silverwing and Airborn trilogies.

The root problem of this book is the setting/setup. It's way too similar to Skybreaker: there's a special key, the unique train is basically the equivalent of the Hyperion, the sealed funeral car is also the equivalent to Theodore Grunel's airship, the main plot also involves a treasure hunt, the bad guys want the treasure, while Maren and Will are just Naira and Mat
Apr 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Imagine going on a train and enjoying your voyage until you witness something, a murder. A whole new terrifying adventure and thrill begins right at that precise moment. For Will Everett this is simply his life and he must go on a exciting yet dangerous journey across the long train, The Boundless. Will must get back to his father, but will he?

I picked up this book because it's book trailer looked really cool.Plus, at the red maple meeting, many liked this book so I thought why not read it? I b
Maria Kramer
This is a book in the same vein as Oppel's earlier Airborn - a historical fantasy adventure featuring strange creatures, criminal schemes, and an awesome vehicle (in Airborn a blimp, and in this novel a massive train). Despite the similarities, this work and the world it creates feel fresh and interesting. This book has a lot of things I like:

*Trains! From The Lady Vanishes to Murder on the Orient Express I've always loved mysteries and thrillers that take place on trains. And The Boundless is q
Adventure! Mystery! Young Love! History! Trains! A circus! What more could a preteen (or anyone) want in a book! Enjoyed this book immensely. Oppel has a way with words when describing the landscape, a mood, a person. Will Everett has always wished for an adventure and this book is full of adventure! On the train ride of a lifetime, young Will meets Maren, a young girl who is an escape artist; Mr. Dorian, the circus ringmaster; Cornelius Van Horne, builder of a fantastical railroad and train; as ...more
The Library Lady
May 13, 2014 rated it liked it
This would garner 3.75 if I could rate books that way. Solidly written and entertaining, this is historical fiction/fantasy. Adults who have read Oscar Wilde or are familiar with P.T. Barnum's sideshow acts will get some references here that kids will not, but they're not crucial to the plot.
Dec 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
History, fantasy, adventure--this book has it all. Outstanding book.
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I was born in 1967 in Port Alberni, a mill town on Vancouver Island, British Columbia but spent the bulk of my childhood in Victoria, B.C. and on the opposite coast, in Halifax, Nova Scotia...At around twelve I decided I wanted to be a writer (this came after deciding I wanted to be a scientist, and then an architect). I started out writing sci-fi epics (my Star Wars phase) then went on to swords ...more

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