Airborn by Kenneth Oppel

September 21, 2007
By jesse tanenbaum, San Francisco, CA

Matt Cruse was born in the sky. He is the cabin boy on an airship, called the Aurora. The story takes place in a world where there are no airplanes. Instead of airplanes, there are giant blimp-like airships that run on a gas that is lighter than any other and has the scent of mangoes. In the story Matt Cruse experiences emotions such as jealousy, love, fright, and happiness. Matt feels jealousy when he is about to get promoted to sailmaker but the owner of a bunch of airships including the Aurora wants to place his son on the ship as sailmaker. Matt feels that he should have gotten the position because he is more skilled and experienced and he also feels that the other boy got the position just because his dad is rich. An example of Matt feeling fear is when the pirates are on the ship. He fears for the lives of the passengers, crew, himself and he fears for the ship.
Matt’s journey starts when he rescues an old man from a hot air balloon that was very low on air and starting to sink. The old man talks about flying creatures which are similar to bats, panthers and birds. He suspects that he is just going crazy from dehydration. The man dies hours later. A year later, when Matt is back on the Aurora, it is attacked by pirates and damaged, causing it to crash land on an island. There he discovers that one of the passengers is the old man from the hot air balloon’s granddaughter, Kate de Vries. Together they go on a mission to prove the strange flying creatures exist while trying to find a way to get off the island. Kate is more interested in finding the creatures and Matt is more interested in finding a way off the island. They think they just might be able to do both.
Oppel does an amazing job of keeping the book exciting and creating a vivid world with memorable characters. It is full of suspense and excitement and is a great adventure story. It is a page turner that will keep you at the edge of your seat. The characters are very well developed and you can really put yourself in their shoes.
Airborn is like no book I have ever read before. If you like this book you will most likely enjoy the sequel, Skybreaker. Airborn is a magnificent, action packed book and I would recommend it to anyone who likes action, fantasy, or adventure stories. Trust me; it will keep you thinking about it for a while after you have finished reading it. I highly recommend this incredible book to all kids and teens.

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