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(Matt Cruse #1)

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  23,950 ratings  ·  1,996 reviews
Matt Cruse is a cabin boy on the Aurora, a huge airship that sails hundreds of feet above the ocean, ferrying wealthy passengers from city to city. It is the life Matt's always wanted; convinced he's lighter than air, he imagines himself as buoyant as the hydrium gas that powers his ship. One night he meets a dying balloonist who speaks of beautiful creatures drifting thro ...more
Paperback, 501 pages
Published May 24th 2005 by HarperCollins (first published May 11th 2004)
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Megan McMillen Sounds like someone is trying to cheat on their homework! LOL!
Angie Kregg It's a story set in an alternative Victorian era where airship travel and steam power is the main source of energy. Almost as if the Industrial Revolu…moreIt's a story set in an alternative Victorian era where airship travel and steam power is the main source of energy. Almost as if the Industrial Revolution were allowed to continue. I wouldn't entirely define it as steampunk, but it certainly has some elements of the genre.(less)
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Average rating 4.18  · 
Rating details
 ·  23,950 ratings  ·  1,996 reviews

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Damn straight.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is YA. This is YA in all its shiny glory. If you're tired of beautiful supernatural new kids falling in love with the mortal they can't be with...
Well. This is YA.
Damn straight.

Aug 30, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommended to Catie by: Flannery
3 1/2 stars

Read this book if:

You love young, honest lads from humble beginnings who are nonetheless destined for great things.

You love high-seas adventures featuring acts of derring-do, bands of murderous pirates with creative names, shipwrecks on tropical islands, overachieving cabin boys, and smarty-pants rich girls.

You grew up with Treasure Island, Mutiny on the Bounty, Horatio Hornblower, Aubrey and Maturin, or even Jacky Faber.

You like the younger side of YA.

You find the idea of a moody Eas
2/1/18 $1.99 for Kindle.

I really liked this one.

Airborn is about a cabin boy on an passenger air ship. It takes place in an alternate history of our world - so it may be classified as fantasy, but it is not really a fantasy story - it's an adventure story. Has an 1800's or maybe Edwardian feel. It might appear to be more of a "boy book", but there is a main character who is a girl, so there's someone girls can relate to, and a bit of wholesome romance. I wouldn't assume girls wouldn't like this
Sep 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm so glad I decided to listen to the Full Cast Audio production of this young adult novel. In fact, I didn't realize until after I had listened to it that it won a 2007 Audie Award. I believe it. I was riveted during this novel, even though I have read the book (and its sequel) before. Riveted while driving through whirling snow on a Chicago interstate is a little dangerous, but I survived.[return][return]Matt Cruse was born on an airship and has worked on one since the age of 12. He's only a ...more
2.5 stars.

I enjoyed it. I did. But I kept comparing it to Leviathan. There are enough similarities that I couldn't help it and I did try to be objective.

Let's start with characters, shall we?

Matt is nice but a bit bland. I'm sorry, but to speak plainly; he's in love with the airship, with the idea of flying, aaaand...that's pretty much it.

Kate: Oh, Kate. The sassier, I-just-don't-care character. I liked her, though she was a carbon copy of many girl characters I've run across recently. And I wa
Mar 08, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 24, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of pirate stories or old-school Indiana Jones or Treasure Island adventures
Shelves: juvenile
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,
The Captain
Ahoy there me mateys! This was an audiobook that I picked up because I was looking for a fluffy young adult book. I think somewhere I had heard there be dragons. Well, there be no dragons here. But there are cool flying animals, airships, silly fish-loving chefs, sea-adventures, pirates, lost islands, smart feisty girls, daring kind-hearted boys, and adventure!

The other appeal of this particular audiobook was that is was performed by Full Cast Audio. According to their website “Full Cast Audio (
Dec 13, 2010 rated it it was ok
I liked Matt as the protagonist. He was an intelligent and passionate young man who loved what he did. There is a lot of adventure in this book, especially at the end where it got especially exciting. Loved the creature that Kate's grandfather discovered and the mysterious island the Aurora lands on. Very cool world building.

However, I found Kate extremely annoying. In the beginning I thought she was mildly irritating but by the middle she was pushing obnoxious. I appreciate persistence, but sh
Oct 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
If you like a lot of action in your reading, you'll love Airborn, by Kenneth Oppel. This 2005 Printz honor title reads just like watching a movie. Mr. Cruse is awfully young to work aboard a luxury airship. Even if he is only a cabin boy, he aspires to greater responsibility. Luckily, many opportunities arise for him to prove his mettle to the captain. But after the Aurora is attacked by pirates and left foundering after a typhoon, Matt's cunning and ability face test after test, leaving him phy ...more
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
This is essentially a perfect adventure story. It’s not sweeping and meaningful; it doesn’t contain the answers to life, the universe, and everything - nor does it reach for them. Its scope is smaller, but it’s swashbuckling and fast-paced and really thrilling.

I’m kind of in awe, actually: I had such a great time reading this! The tone is perfect. Even at the end, when so many things are happening at once, the way little shocking moments are revealed is very well done - given just the right amo
Jun 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
A second-generation airshipman, cabin boy Matt Cruse catches a glimpse of a sinking balloon ship, and helps engineer the daring rescue of its sole occupant. While dying, the balloonist tells Matt about magnificent winged creatures. On a later cruise, the dead man's granddaughter Kate arrives to find whatever her grandfather saw. A little bit of piracy and some stormy weather adds some spice to the story. Personally, I thought Leviathan by Scott Westerfield was a better story and more steampunk. ...more
Jul 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: many, many a person!
Recommended to Ann by: Katie and Tyler - THANKS!
Most definitely one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. Perhaps *best* isn’t quite the right word… I’ve read several wonderful books this year. But, for me, this is definitely one of my all-time favorites.

Seldom do I come across a title that has a strong plot, a great writing style, and wonderful characters that are multi-dimensional, real, and vivid. It felt like every time I tuned in I was visiting with friends.

This was a fast read, catching me from the start. The plot is quite unique
Mar 06, 2009 rated it liked it
A book about airships! I really was looking forward to liking this book as it's not the typical magic fantasy and really isn't even fantasy per say. It was a very slow moving book at first but at times I really got into it. It's a great adventure book with a bit of a mystery.

I really don't care for first person books, because it gets really old after a while. I found that Matt (the main character and narrator) was annoying, obnoxious and thought he was better then everyone else. He came across a
Mar 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Airships! Sky pirates! Strange creatures! Quite a bit going on here. Add in class issues and an adventurous young lady with scientific aspirations and it more than fills 500 pages.

There's basically two storylines going on here. There's swashbuckling action against a group of sky pirates, and a quest to prove the existence of a strange creature, something like a gigantic bat. Our POV character is Matt Cruse, a poor young man born to fly on airships, but held back because he's essentially enlisted
Jul 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
One word review: Fabulous!

It's taken me awhile to write the full review for this, because I never feel I can do the story justice--but then, perhaps, that is enough of a review in itself! Suffice it to say this story has so much adventure and excitement, suspense and action, yet also heaps of thoughtfulness and sensitivity and absolutely marvelous characterization. I hesitate to bring out any sort of "Harry Potter comparison" but really this is the closest to an HP "feel" of any novel I've read
Sep 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: action-adventure
I quite enjoyed this one!
Alex Keats
Apr 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
A story so strong it swept me off my feet and left me ... airborne

Allison Tebo
Sep 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
Let's just say, the only reason I'm keeping this book is because of the front cover - I'm going to use it as decor on my bookshelf. ...more
Apr 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
Really liked this adventure story. The fantasy elements are handled well and I think the interpersonal struggles of the main characters are not overly done. It was really fun to read.
Eliza Crewe
Feb 29, 2016 rated it liked it
fun, light adventure read. I liked the MC, but the main female character was a spoiled, self-centered, idiotic brat.
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult, fantasy
I'm rating this based on the memory that I loved it when I read it years ago, and I hand sold it a lot when I was a bookseller. An imaginative adventure. ...more
Diego Elvir
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very interesting book filled with action and adventure, I hope to see more of Kenneth Oppel's imagination in other books. ...more
Raven Lucero
Apr 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 1-owned, ya, printz-honor
Finally, a favorite from middle school that holds up! This series will always hold a special place in my heart, as it was not only my first official YA (that I unexpectedly loved after dragging my heels on reading it for a young adult book conference), but Kenneth Oppel is the first author I ever met and got books signed from. Side note, from what I remember from my personal experience, he's truly a wonderful witty and funny person, and I will never forget how kind he was when I bumbled up to hi ...more
Sep 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: speculative
If you enjoyed Westerfield’s Leviathan trilogy, than this is the book for you. An adventure steampunk in the tradition of Arthur Conan Doyle and Jules Verne. Matt is a 15yo cabin boy aboard the Aurora and dreams of flying and his father. Along with a headstrong & curious young heiress, he survives typhoons, shipwrecks, pirates, & incredible creatures.

Best of all, it’s squeaky clean and perfect for all ages.
May 20, 2017 rated it did not like it
TERRIBLE ENDINGGG!!!!!!! Hated the book, I feel asleep reading the book it was boring and I didn't like it... ...more
Feb 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
It starts of a little slow. But if you stick with it, you might be surprised. And even when it is slow, for some reason, it moved. It flowed very well. An enjoyable read.
Re-read: January 2020
The Matt Cruse trilogy is one of my all-time favorite series. I’ve long lost count of the number of times I’ve re-read it. Something about it makes me so happy and I am always in the mood to pick it up. It has the perfect mix of action, adventure, and romance, and each time I read it I get something new out of it.

This time around I noticed that a major theme in this book is the future and how our circumstances affect it. Every character has something that they want to due b
Daniel Shellenbarger
Airborn follows the adventures of Matt Cruse, a cabin boy aboard the airship Aurora, a luxury liner in an alternate world where Jules Verne's dreams (but not his nightmares) basically came true. Unlike a lot of alternate history stories, Airborn doesn't bother with giving much world development. It's never even clear what year the story takes place in, and the strange mix of technology (there are airships and heavier-than-air ornithopters but weapons seem to be largely antiquated blunderbusses a ...more
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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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Matt Cruse (3 books)
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  Tami Charles is a former teacher and the author of picture books, middle grade and young adult novels, and nonfiction. As a teacher, she made...
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“Why do you need to fly so much?” she asked.
“If I don’t, it’ll catch up with me.” The words just came out.
“What will?”
I took my hands from my face, panting. I stared out at the storm.
“You two were in a cave together?’ said Miss Simpkins in horror.
‘Yes,’ said Kate, ‘and it was very, very dark.”
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