Do you ever just love a book so much you rip through the entire series in no time at all?
That’s exactly what happened with me and the Matt Cruise trilogy by Kenneth Oppel. Because I read all three books (Airborn, Skybreaker, and Starclimber) so quickly I thought I’d just review them all as a group.
So as not to give anything away I’ll only share the summary for Airborn, which is book one.
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 through the skies. It is only after Matt meets the balloonist’s granddaughter that he realizes that the man’s ravings may, in fact, have been true, and that the creatures are completely real and utterly mysterious.
In a swashbuckling adventure reminiscent of Jules Verne and Robert Louis Stevenson, Kenneth Oppel, author of the best-selling Silverwing trilogy, creates an imagined world in which the air is populated by transcontinental voyagers, pirates, and beings never before dreamed of by the humans who sail the skies.
I was immediately in love with these books from the very beginning. Oppel’s writing has a smart mix of suspense and wit to just keep you turning the pages and his characters are the kind you just fall in love with.
Let’s take our main character, Matt Cruise for example. Matt is the kind of character you miss once the series is finished. Sure, Matt is humble, kind and hard working, but he also struggles with jealousy, can be overly sensitive, and is pretty darn stubborn at times. He is an all around regular, nice guy who you’d love to be friends with. Matt Cruise simply, put is a normal guy who ends up getting involved with abnormal situations. Most of these abnormal situations tend to come because of his friendship/romance with the adventurous, heiress Kate de Vries. Despite Kate’s stubborn single-mindedness and annoying tendency towards being haughty, you can’t help but love her.
Oppel’s world building skills are unbelievable. In this series he has created this alternate world that is very much like our own, however it’s just different enough to be interesting and make you questions things. For example, the Pacific Ocean is called the Pacificus and there are references to historical events that are similar to those in our history (the ill-fated airship Titanticus). The world Matt Cruise lives in is pretty much steampunk and the main form of international transportation is by transoceanic dirigible. There is so much detail that you just completely believe that this world truly does exist somewhere out there. Additionally, these three books are 100% page turners. Almost every chapter is full of action and suspense whether it be pirate attack or an airship falling out of the sky!
So, if you’re in the mood for some quality YA action and adventure, you need to read Airborn, Skybreaker, and Starclimber right away! I honestly think that YA just doesn’t get any better than this!
Author: Kenneth Oppel
Publisher: Airborn, Harper Collins (May 25, 2005)
Skybreaker, Harper Collins (November 29, 2005)
Starclimber, Harper Collins (February 24, 2009)
Length: Airborn (10 hrs and 46 mins), Skybreaker (11 hrs and 26 mins), Starclimber (11 hrs and 44 mins)
Narrator(s): Full Cast Audio, David Kelly
Series: The Matt Cruise Trilogy