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Starclimber by Kenneth Oppel
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's review
Feb 19, 2011

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bookshelves: young-adult
Read in February, 2011

** spoiler alert ** At the beginning of part three of this trilogy, our hero, Matt Cruse pilots his first airship. He has a summer job assisting in the construction of the famous celestial tower in Paris. France has high hopes of becoming first to reach outerspace with this construction, but there are people who believe that humanity was not meant to go into the heavens, and those people have formed a group called the "babelites" after the bible parable telling of a similar foolish attempt. This group plants a bomb aboard Cruse's ship which explodes, but does not have the intended effect of distroying the tower. So begins another exciting installment which does justice to the series.

There is another group intent on reaching outerspace. This group, funded by Mr. Lunardi (wealthy shipbuilder who made the Aurora, the luxury airship in the first book Airborn) has built a space craft that glides along a thin cable attached to the earth and a counterweight in outerspace. Kate and Matt get the chance to be part of the first astralnaut team sent up on it. Kate is guaranteed a spot, but Matt must prove himself worthy by completing a rigorous training program. He competes with a large group of other young men for the three available spots. He ends up making it by default when one of the originally chosen three brakes his leg. Once again Matt questions his abilities and bristles when more senior airshipmen call him, "my boy." He struggles with jelousy too when Kate, who had been arrested because of her suffrogette activities, only gets to go when she bows to her parent's wishes and becomes engaged to James Sanderson,wealthy heir to the Sanderson fortune. Although Kate keeps forgetting his name and refers to him as "George," Matt is convinced that Kate does have some feelings for him.

Chef Vlad, the volitile Russion gourmet makes another appearance as the spaceship's chef, but Miss Simpkins declines to chaparone Kate into outerspace. Chaperone duties fall this time to another astralnaut, Miss Karr, assigned the job of ship reporter and photographer. Lot's of action and the adaptation of scientific terms into an imagined victorian world add to the enjoyment. Starclimber provides a satisfying ending to a highly entertaining trilogy.

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