Kenneth Oppel’s “Airborn” was very successful in conveying the realistic times of a sky ruled by majestic airships and haunted my horrendous pirates. Matt Cruse was born aboard his mothership, the Aurora. This is his home, but then the rich and powerful Kate de Vries comes aboard, and traps poor Matt. There are these mysterious birds her dead grandfather saw. The reason she seeks out Matt is because a year earlier he saved her dying grandfather. Oddly enough this is how she even chose the airship.

When pirates board the ship, they crash land on the same coordinates her grandfather once described. Against the captain’s will, she convinces Matt to help her find the strange birds. In yet another twist of fate, this is the same island that the same pirates who had raided their ship, live on. Their marooned airship, damaged from the storm that put them here, is thought to be stranded forever, but Matt and Kate discover a natural helium vent, deep within a cave. They soon find the pirates know about them. In a last effort, they barely escape, but still with six pirates aboard. Will they escape? Will they live?

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, because they were always either on the brink of death, or making an important discovery about the birds, or themselves. When they discovered the pirates, (more likely they found them) at first they realized the mistake they made. They spent the night with the pirates, feigning the death of all their crew, and their crashing airship. A part that excited me was when they were running away from the cloud cat, after having taken a picture of it. “It heard that faint metallic click, and it cocked its head up suspiciously, glaring me down. It darted towards us with amazing skill for an animal, and chased us down.” The rest of the scene goes on to describe, with accurate, and descriptive words, how this creature, once thought to be tame and calm was actually, vicious, and when threatened, deadly as they would soon find out. Overall I just liked the incredible emotions evoked over this bird, and how the author described relationships between humans I never before noticed while reading a book.

I can’t really connect to a character, but instead to the cloud cat. It was held down for so many years, with people sometimes underestimating, never knowing what it was or was not capable of. It just was. Just a misfit that couldn’t fly right. But then, when given its chance, regained its flock, and soared into the daylight.

One question I’d like to ask the author is will there be a sequel, or another book like this written. What I really liked was the final chapter-it summed up everything. Questions I had before this final chapter were: What will happen to Matt; What about the pirates; Ms. de Vries, will she ever see him again; Will the world listen to her story; Will she take all the credit like she said she wouldn’t? All my questions were answered in the final chapter. That’s what made this book so good, it didn’t have any questions, and also the detail and suspense kept me hooked throughout the life of the book.


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