Airborn by Kenneth Oppel

4 of 5 stars

Matt Cruse’s normal life as cabin boy of the airship Aurora is changed forever on one extraordinary voyage, filled with pirates, a mysterious island, and a beautiful, dangerous, and previously undiscovered creature.

“This is my home,” I told him dully.  And I’d never felt it more than now.  I’d bundled everything into this ship, all the good feeling I had; all my sense of belonging was beneath my feet, every hope of happiness.  And I thought that at least I would die here at home.

Reminiscent of Treasure Island, this book is full of adventure and daring.  The author pulls the reader into his imagined world of giant airships in a way that even land-lovers like myself will find entrancing.  Matt makes an incredibly likable protagonist, and the other main character, Kate, is full of spunk and fire.

Though this book is considered a YA novel, some YA readers may find the plot a bit predictable and the characters a bit two-dimensional.  (For instance, Matt is loyal; Kate is strong-willed; Bruce is gentlemanly; the captain is professional; the cook is obsessed with cooking; the pirates are ruthless, etc)  Despite having some violence and some navigational and airship-related jargon, it seems better suited for a somewhat younger readership than the the typical YA novels.

Overall: A swashbuckling tale of airborne adventure, perfect for young fans of Robert Louis Stevenson.

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