I received a copy of Skybreaker by Kenneth Oppel at OLA last year I believe it was. He signed it for me. I had no clue who he was and when I mentioned that to other conference goers, a former classmate gushed about how she loved his books and would gladly take my copy if I didn’t want it. Of course, I kept it.
This book is a sequel to Airborn, but despite my not having read that, I got along fine in this one. This is young adult fantasy adventure story set in an alternate victorian period. In the lead role is 16 yr old, Matt Cruse – a student of the Airship Academy who has spent most his life aboard airships. After spending a few years as a cabin boy, he’s finally managed to get into the Academy with hopes of one day flying his own ship and earning enough to send back to his mother and siblings.
While on internship on an airship, the crew finds a legendary ship, the Hyperion that’s been missing and presumed wrecked for over 30 years. The ship was designed and built by a great inventor and was rumoured to hold great wealth. Naturally everyone wants to salvage the ship, but it’s drifting at 20,000 feet and airships really aren’t made to fly that high. Well there’s a bit of drama and they don’t reach the ship, but Cruse rescues them and gets them back to safety. You think I’m giving the story away? Well that’s just the beginning! Since Matt was the only one not suffering from hypoxia, he’s the only one that really knows the coordinates of the Hyperion. And everyone is after him to get it.
The only way to keep the pirates and other nasty folks from beating the coordinates out of Matt, is to go and salvage the ship himself. So with his rich friend Kate (whom he knew back when he was a cabin boy and they had adventures together and there’s definitely a thing going on between them), a random gypsy girl, Nadira, and a self-made man, Hal Slater, Matt goes off in search of treasure. Only, there’s more than treasure in the skies, and danger is all about.
Skybreaker was a lot of fun to read. Sure it’s hard to believe that there’s giant squid in the sky but that’s what makes this fantasy. I thought it was cute to see him trying to deal with the two girls – he really likes Kate, but Nadira is so attractive too! The author style was just right for me, and I even thought there wasn’t going to be a happy ending when – bam– there it was. (Not that I require happy endings, but they’re nice sometimes).
This is book 8 for me in the Canadian Book Challenge. I’m so glad I’ve made such progress since the last update! Focusing on children’s and YA certainly has helped me get closer to the goal of 13 books. (and besides, that is what I like to read most of the time).