Newest Review: ... whilst Kate, his love from the previous novels, a young girl aspiring to be a great scientist, gets an easy free pass. This is just on... more
A fantastic, fast-paced adventure for younger readers
Starclimber - Kenneth Oppel
Member Name: Trix1212
Starclimber - Kenneth Oppel
Advantages: Great characters, lots of laughs
Disadvantages: Third in a series (but that just means there's more to enjoy!
I remember hearing some good thigs about Kenneth Oppel when 'Airborn' was published a few years ago but, although I do read a lot of children's fiction (it's my job!) that one passed me by. However, seeing this newest addition I decided to take a look and ended up reading it over a few lunch breaks and really enjoying it.
Starclimber is the third in the series, preceded by Airborn and Skybreaker, and falls neatly into the 9-12 age category, though I guess that older fans of Artemis Fowl and Mortal Engines might like this too. As I said, I had not read the previous books but found that it really did not matter - while some reference is made to the other adventures this is pretty much a stand alone story.
Matt Cruse is a skilled young airship pilot in familier but slighlty alternative world. The space race is in full swing, with a massive tower, designed to reach the stars, being built in Paris and intense secrecy and competition from other nations. Matt has been working on the tower for several weeks when the story begins, jumping right into the action when one of his co-workers reveals himself to be part of a group called the 'Babelites' (those who believe that man was never meant to reach the stars - the biblical referance is explained in the story) who have planted a bomb to destroy the tower. Matt acts quickly to avert the danger and the story rolls on from here a great pace as Matt finds himself caught up in the race for the stars when his skills are needed to pilot a very special and ingeniously designed craft in a secret project designed to beat the French to space.
There is also a love interest from the previous books, plucky and ruthless and dedicated to a belief that there is life beyong the Earth, Kate will stop at nothing to get into space herself - even, it seems, betraying Matt.
As our hero struggles with mastering his new role as an astralnaut, his feelings for Kate and the varied dangers posed by his mission and those determined to stop it we are treated to a fast paced action adventure story with some wonderfully odd characters. Some of the humour is laugh out loud funny, especially in the character interactions, and parts of the story really do raise some interesting questions about space travel. All in all, I can see this book being a huge hit with the target audience. A really great read!
Publication Date - May 2009
Summary: Keep an eye out for this one...