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.
Listen to the next book: Skybreaker.
©2003 Kenneth Oppelale; (P)2007 Full Cast Audio
"Pure fun....Kelly's voice is irresistibly likable and engaging. The original music is excellent." (AudioFile)
*Caveat: Depending on the age and sensitivity of your child(ren), Airborn may not be appropriate. There is a murder in the story. This story is classified as Young Adult.
Airborn was my first "performance" audiobook and I was highly dubious about the entire idea.
I was well rewarded for my courage. The story was performed well and was highly engaging. We are looking forward to the second book being translated to audio (if we don't just buy the physical copy first)!
My youngest was uncomfortable about some of the material in the story, but my eldest enjoyed it so much that I had to loan him my mp3 player so he could finish it with her listening.
I hope you enjoy this neo-Victorian adventure as much as we did.
Airborn is about a cabin boy on an passenger air ship. It takes place in an alternate history of our world - so it may be classified as fantasy, but it is not really a fantasy story - it's an adventure story. Has an 1800's or maybe Edwardian feel. It might appear to be more of a "boy book", but there is a main character who is a girl, so there's someone girls can relate to, and a bit of wholesome romance. I wouldn't assume girls wouldn't like this one.
There's also a bit of a mystery. The protagonist, 15 year old Matt, is likable, responsible, honest and the story is well written.
For parents - There wasn't anything in it to give parents pause - except for a few deaths in the battles with the pirates - a couple good guys, a few bad guys, but although there were sad deaths (the good guys) nothing was too graphic. No bad language, a couple chaste kisses. I think this would be a great book to read to kids that were not old enough to read it themselves. Pretty G rated. I'd only hesitate with very young children because of the deaths, and the pirates may be scary for them.
First off this audio book, is not read with one person, but a cast of characters. It is not an audio theater production as there are no sound effects (other than music that transitions from part 1 to part 2, etc). It is very well read and the multiple actors add much to the story. I highly enjoyed the multiple voices!!! I hope to find other books done in this fashion.
As to the story - strong characters and supporting roles. Very good devolpment of both plot and character personality. Great adventure. Clean and enjoyable!
This was our first introduction to Kenneth Oppel. Not the type of book elementary kids would happen to pick up and read - but Full Cast Audio made it accessible to our whole family. Good, clean entertainment for those long commutes and vacations.
A Post Production professional working in the television industry in L.A.
Kenneth Oppel's "Airborn Series" are probably the best Young Adult books I've read. They feature great characters in exciting adventures in a really clever steampunk setting and as soon as I read them they became "instant classics" and I've put them on the shelf I've reserved for my very favorite books right alongside Hornblower, Harry Potter, His Dark Materials, and the Lord of the Rings.
I'll try to explain what makes these books so wonderful without giving away any spoilers.
In his two lead characters -- Matt Cruse and Kate de Vries -- Oppel has created exactly the kind of characters I love: they are charming, brave, kind, but most of all, smart. I love smart characters who *think* their way out of problems. They work hard when hard work is required, they study carefully when knowledge is required, and they spring into action when bold deeds are required. They have the same fears and doubts that every kid, every person, has, yet they have the courage to overcome those fears and take action. The two really come alive as you read the book until you feel like they're real people.
It wouldn't be a YA series without a romance, and this series has one -- the best I've seen, in fact.
Not too long ago, back when YA lit was still being called "Juvenile Fiction," most of the books featured a main male character and a secondary (usually very secondary) female character. Which wasn't very balanced or very fair -- or probably of much interest to female readers. In recent YA fiction that dynamic has been reversed, with main female characters and very secondary male characters.
But how is that any better? It's not balancing any scales since the audience that read those older books has grown up and moved on. Is it some form of revenge or payback? If so, they're taking revenge on readers who weren't even born when the offending literature was written. And what does that really teach kids? That all relationships, both personal and professional, have to be one-sided, that there's always going to be a dominate member and a submissive member? I don't accept that. I wouldn't accept a relationship like that and I don't want my kids to accept relationships like that.
That's what makes the relationship at the heart of this series so great. It starts out as a genuine friendship between two people who respect each other and it blossoms into a beautiful romance that is also very realistic in its highs and lows, it's triumphs and obstacles.
Matt Cruse starts out as a working class cabin boy on the luxury airship Aurora. He loves his job, he loves traveling the world, and he hopes to move up in the ranks and make a career out of the air service. Kate de Vries starts out as a daughter of high society who yearns for a career as a naturalist, like her beloved grandfather, and who is already extremely knowledgable in her field. Science may be a man's world but Kate refuses to be held back on account of her gender. She's setting out to prove her grandfather's theories correct and in so doing, to make a name for herself and prove that women can have an impact in the sciences.
Kate is smart, bold, and courageous -- but she can be overzealous in pursuit of her goals. Matt is no less smart, though not formally educated like Kate, and no less courageous -- but he also has a keen sense of responsibility and a look-before-you-leap level head that is an excellent balance to Kate's impulsiveness.
That's where they start -- where they go from there is yours to discover.
The stories are fantastic -- pirates, exploration, desert islands, strange discoveries… the books have it all! But despite the pirates and the very real danger presented to themselves and others they care about, our heroes never resort to violent solutions. They prefer to think their way out of their problems.
The books are set in a great steampunk-style world which is just different enough from ours to instill a sense of wonder but not so different or outlandish that it loses all applicability to our own world. Readers will recognize, and empathize, with all the problems and obstacles that Matt and Kate face.
It's really hard to find anything negative to say about these books… but if I had to chose *something* it would probably be that in the world of the book's setting, France and Canada dominate the world in science and industry (France and Canada?!) and no mention is made of Great Britain or the United States. Some will say this is a refreshing change of pace, and it is, in a way. But it also ignores all the things that made GB and the US the actual dominate forces in our real history, which is rather strange for a book which is otherwise so willing to grapple with issues of classism, sexism, corporate greed, and the power of science over fanaticism. I've come to believe that it's never a good idea to ignore history, especially the history we don't necessarily like. But that's a minor, minor quibble.
This was a great story and narrated wonderfully. The voices matched what I imagined they should be. The story pulled me in and was so descriptive, I watched the book okay out in my mind as I listened! I highly recommend this audible book!
I started this book as something to listen to while commuting to and from work. I soon found myself finding excuses to listen and even lay in bed listening until nearly 3 am. I found myself visualizing the entire story. And the full cast narration was wonderful. I wasn't distracted by a poor narrator like in some recordings. Instead the cast pulled me in even further. Highly recommend.
The multi-actor performance really made the story. They all did a great job, although if I had any advice to offer the actor playing Matt Cruse, it would be "turn it down a notch." Not every sentence needs to be imbued with great drama.
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