Monday, December 7, 2009
"Starclimber" by Kenneth Oppel
Despite my day job (The Librarian) and the fact that I love to read, I usually can't sit still long enough to read for long sessions. I made an exception this weekend when I absolutely tore through "Starclimber", the third of the books in the "Airborn" series. I couldn't put it down!
Reminiscent of the creative vision of Jules Verne, Oppel has created an alternate Earth reality, in which the development of air travel centered around air ships (huge air-filled balloons) rather than airplanes. The culture, dress, and societal norms of the characters seem to be taking place in what would be the 1880s on Earth. The series revolves around the characters of Matt, an eager teen who signs up for any air-related adventure, and Kate, a determined young scientist who also happens to be Matt's romantic interest. In "Starclimber", Matt and Kate are involved in the incredible development of a vessel whose mission is to travel to space. As a slew of exciting and nerve-racking adventures unfold, Matt and Kate try to hide their romance from the other "astralnauts".
The characters are so appealing and expressively portrayed that I felt I was reading about the adventures of old friends. The technology invented on this world is so very different from our own, yet so creatively imagined, one can easily believe in every last bit of it. How can a vessel travel into space in a world that has not developed computers or even jet engines? You'll have to read to find out Oppel's clever solution! And have I mentioned adventures? There are thrills, chills, and suspense on nearly every page.
You can easily jump in to Matt and Kate's world with "Starclimber", or read the two titles previous to this one: "Airborn" and "Skybreaker." There's also a nifty website at: http://www.airborn.ca/starclimber.html.
I'd rate this book FIVE out of five stars - can't wait for the next one!