Ahoy there me mateys! This was an audiobook that I picked up because I was looking for a fluffy young adult book. I think somewhere I had heard there be dragons. Well, there be no dragons here. But there are cool flying animals, airships, silly fish-loving chefs, sea-adventures, pirates, lost islands, smart feisty girls, daring kind-hearted boys, and adventure!
The other appeal of this particular audiobook was that is was performed by Full Cast Audio. According to their website “Full Cast Audio (FCA) has a simple mandate: to produce unabridged recordings of fine children’s novels using a full cast rather than a single reader. Whenever possible, we invite the author to serve as narrator.” They are located back in me (very) old stomping grounds of Syracuse, New York where it snowed every day from Halloween to April. I heard about this company because mateys of mine worked as voice actors for the company. At yet I had never listened to a single book. This is back in the day where audiobooks really weren’t a thing and these productions were treated more as radio plays. So I was delighted to finally hear one.
I absolutely loved the main character, Matt Cruse, and his love for the airship, Aurora. The ship felt real and lived in. Ye got a real sense of Matt’s life onboard. Matt was poor but plucky, hard-working, and ambitious. The story is told from his perspective. Joining him on the ship is Kate de Vries, an upper class passenger. She likes science and photography and out-witting her chaperone. She is out to solve a mystery and draws Matt into the chase.
I thought overall that this was an excellent foray. Matt could get a bit overbearing and Kate was a bit short-sighted and stubborn. But the world building was lovely, the pirates were dastardly, and the science behind both the ship and creatures was fascinating. The plot was intense and full of action. I loved the voice performances and the sound effects. The side characters were as wonderful as the main duo. It was an engaging and quick read. It could work as a standalone though it is part of a larger trilogy.
I want me an airship!! Arrr!!
Goodreads has this to say about the novel:
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.
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