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Airborn [Hardcover]

Kenneth Oppel
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Kindle Edition --  
Library Binding CDN $17.27  
Hardcover, 2004 --  
Paperback CDN $9.99  
Mass Market Paperback CDN $9.49  
Audio, CD, Audiobook, CD --  

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5.0 out of 5 stars Up in the air! Feb. 24 2014
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Kenneth Oppel, best known for writing about bats, seems to be channelling the spirit of Jules Verne in "Airborn," a steampunk/airpunk novel that spends all its time aloft. Between mysterious flying beasts and pirate attacks, Oppel gives readers a glimpse of life aboard an airship... if airships, not planes, were the major way to travel.

Matt Cruse is on the crow's nest, as the "ship's eyes," when he catches a glimpse of a sinking airship. The dying balloonist dies shortly afterward -- but not before telling Matt about glorious winged creatures. Matt dismisses these as hallucinations -- but one year later, a routine cruise on the airship Aurora becomes something more when the dead man's granddaughter Kate arrives. Wealthy but treated like a nuisance, Kate is determined to find whatever her grandfather saw.

She shows Matt her grandfather's writings about these winged creatures, and Matt is slowly convinced that the old man wasn't just hallucinating. But their investigations are interrupted by a sudden pirate attack -- which leaves the Aurora sinking from a rip in its envelope. Soon the airship and her crew and passengers are stranded on a deserted island, which may hold the secret to Kate's winged beasts... but it also holds the pirates.

Oppel really hits his stride in this book, mixing science with science fiction and wrapping it in a fantasy tortilla. While his bat books were quite good, "Airborn" has the rare quality of slipping readers into his imagined universe. It's one of those stories that can be easily imagined as a reality, even if we do have planes and not airships. He even describes how creatures like the cloud cats could fly, were they real.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Full Cast audio book are awesome Dec 14 2013
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
The audiobook of Airborn is done using a full cast with ambiance sounds. What a joy to listen to.

I like listening to audiobooks in general but the difference between single reader and full cast is
like the difference between black and white tv and color.

Kenneth Oppel's stories are always very entertaining for the young and old.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good, fun story Dec 27 2012
By Jimmy
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I purchased this because I'd passed it several times in bookstores and had always been curious about it. This curiosity increased when I learned that it inspired Port Blue's album "The Airship". The Airship is a concept album about the transcontinental voyage undertaken in this story. I used it as background music from time to time whilst reading this adventure and they made a perfect combo.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not your typical Treasure Island May 18 2004
By Z Wetz
"Sailing toward dawn, and I was perched atop the crow's nest, being the ship's eyes." This is a normal occurrence for Matt Cruse, cabin boy aboard the Aurora, a luxury class passenger and cargo ship, and a fitting beginning to this book. What should be a normal voyage becomes an exciting adventure as the Aurora is boarded by pirates, caught in a typhoon, and shipwrecked on an uncharted tropical island where Matt and his friends make an amazing discovery.
This book isn't your typical Treasure Island, however. The Aurora is an airship (think the Good Year Blimp with a full crew and rich passengers) that sails the skies 800 feet above the ocean surface. The airplane has never been invented, and the airships are powered by a light-weight gas called hydrium (a mango-scented gas than all other molecules and pushes any other air out of the space it is in) and propellers to guide the ships through the air.
In this tale, the Aurora, and more specifically Matt Cruse, rescues a stranded balloonist over the Pacificus. One year later, the balloonist's granddaughter, Kate, appears as a passenger on the ship, intent on finding a mysterious creature her grandfather saw on his final voyage. Kate shares her grandfather's story with Matt, who aids her in her quest. Together they face many dangers, including the wrath of Kate's overbearing chaperone, Miss Simpkins, who does not feel that proper ladies should associate with the crew of an airship.
This book is very well written. Kenneth Oppel describes the events, people and places fully, without letting potentially gruesome incidents get to graphic. All of the plot lines intertwine gracefully throughout the narrative until they connect in the book's climax. The characters are interesting and multi-dimensional.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another great book by Oppel Jan. 25 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It was weird going back and reading the first book in this trilogy after reading the third novel, but it was well worth it. In this story, set in an alternative world where airplanes were never developed and airships still rule the skies, Kenneth Oppel has created an amazing world, full of adventure and wonder.

The story focuses around a trip from Lions Gate to Australia aboard the ship Aurora. Young Matt Cruse and Miss Kate de Vries meet on this journey. In this story we have pirate attacks, ship wreck, an uncharted island, undiscovered species and much, much more. With amazing characters and plot twists I could not put the book down. It is a great read and another awesome book by Mr. Oppel.
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