Review of Airborn

September 1, 2017 Reviews 0 ★★★½

Review of AirbornAirborn by Kenneth Oppel
Series: Matt Cruse #1
on 2003
Length: 10:30
Format: Audiobook

Matt Cruse is a cabin boy on the Aurora, a huge airship that sails hundreds of feet above the ocean, ferrying wealthy passengers from city to city. It is the life Matt's always wanted; convinced he's lighter than air, he imagines himself as buoyant as the hydrium gas that powers his ship. One night he meets a dying balloonist who speaks of beautiful creatures drifting through the skies. It is only after Matt meets the balloonist's granddaughter that he realizes that the man's ravings may, in fact, have been true, and that the creatures are completely real and utterly mysterious.

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.

This audiobook seems to be set in an alternate steampunk timeline/universe at the start of the century where airships were the primary means of travel. It follows the adventures of Matt Cruse, cabin boy on the Airship Aurora as they have some rather unfortunate events during a voyage.

I found the main character quite interesting and all the parts of the airship were great. It really did make you want to be there. The actual plot is pretty decent, though much of it centers on a “discovery” which is a bit boring to me. Everything is constrained to the timeline of course so there is no advanced technology, everyone still smokes cigars, there is a lot of talk about modesty, etc.

The audiobook itself has a ton of actors with different parts. For the most part it works but some of the dialogue is a bit stilted, and it really sounds as if they all recorded at different times and never in the same room with each other. There is also music between each chapter, which is really annoying. But if you can get past the awkwardness, there is a gem of a story here.

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