Saturday, July 07, 2007

Airborn and Skybreaker by Kenneth Oppel - review

Ages 9-15. I like adventure novels: I love a plot that gallops right along, I like clearly-drawn characters with intelligible voices, and I do like wondering how it's all going to end up. Plus I like science. So I really enjoyed Airborn, a book set in a steampunk past full of airships and ladies in big Victorian skirts. Skybreaker, the sequel, I liked just a little bit less. There's more romance and jealousy and class consciousness in the second, though the setting is more spectacular and the plot a bit less contrived.

These books have pirates and fighting, sumptuous period details and witty repartee. When they make the movie, I fully expect the kid who played Charlie in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to play our hero, Matt Cruse, the cabin boy who consistently saves the day.

I recommend these books to young people who seem to like Harry Potter more for the adventure than for the magic; who have enjoyed Anthony Horowitz's Alex Ryder series or Jeanne DuPrau's Ember books. Thumbs up. Even Bob enjoyed Airborn, and my husband, let's put it this way, generally The Economist is his leisure reading.