Book - 2005
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Matt, a young cabin boy aboard an airship, and Kate, a wealthy young girl traveling with her chaperon, team up to search for the existence of mysterious winged creatures reportedly living hundreds of feet above the Earth's surface. Sailing toward dawn, and I was perched atop the crow's nest, being the ship's eyes. We were two nights out of Sydney, and there'd been no weather to speak of so far. I was keeping watch on a dark stack of nimbus clouds off to the northwest, but we were leaving it far behind, and it looked to be smooth going all the way back to Lionsgate City. Like riding a cloud. 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 balloonists 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.
Publisher: New York : EOS, 2005, c2004
Edition: 1st pbk. ed
ISBN: 9780060531805
Characteristics: 501, 23 p. : ill. ; 18 cm

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Oct 09, 2018

Great series! Imaginative world, crisp prose, action packed, with a colorful cast of characters.

Sep 23, 2016

This is the first in a steampunk trilogy featuring cabin boy Matt Cruse joined by rich heiress Kate de Vries, as they pursue creatures rumoured to haunt the skies above the airships. Canada's own favorite kid's novelist Kenneth Oppel is well known for his fast-paced adventure series, the kind of books you won't want to put down.

vpl_childrens Dec 08, 2015

Interest level: ages 10-15. A 2005 Printz Award Honor Book, this is the first in a steampunk trilogy featuring cabin boy Matt Cruse joined by rich heiress Kate de Vries, as they pursue creatures rumoured to haunt the skies above the airships. Oppel is well known for his fast-paced adventure series. For younger readers try Silverwing (J Fic) or the Tina Quark series (J Fic Easy).

Oct 25, 2015

6 stars if I'm allowed to rate it! Best book ever read!

Jun 29, 2015

This book is actually REALLY interesting..... can't wait to read the series!

adz64 Aug 04, 2014

amazing just a little slow paced
4 stars

Aug 03, 2014

In this brilliant novel Kenneth Oppel applies a dystopic lens on the average adventure, romance story.
After a strange occurrence with Benjamin Malloy, a researcher who was rescued and dies shortly after aboard the Aurora Airship, 14 year-old Matt questions what Mr. Malloy was mumbling about just before his death.
It is now a year later and the memory of the strange occurrence is of no meaning to Matt. He works aboard the Aurora most of the year as a cabin boy. His current destination is Australia and Matt hopes to accompany the captain as head sailmaker. This job holds great pride for Matt as his father was once a sailmaker also.
A day into the journey Matt greets the young Kate DeVries and her chaperone Miss. Simpkins, who arrive by ornithopter. Matt instantly falls for the beautiful, kind and adventurous Kate. As Matt and Kate briefly see each other and become closer, Kate reveals a big secret that Matt is destined to be a part of.
Kenneth Oppel keeps a slow pace throughout the beginning of the book, but then the story becomes overwhelmingly adventure packed. The reader will enjoy his uncanny ability to define the main characters, Matt and Kate, thoroughly and descriptively. The story is narrated from Matt’s perspective which is not often seen in a book for ages 12-14. If you enjoy this book then you should try reading the next one in the series Skybreaker. It is somewhat slow paced and the storyline, not quite as interesting. Airborn was much better.
-Arianna Dossa

Apr 06, 2014

We read this book for our book club - kids ages 9-10. We liked it, some more than others. Here are our comments: "This is a really good book with lots of excitement." "Lots of blimps." " The book was boring at the start and then it got exciting." "Good book. #1!" "Everybody likes balloons!"

Jan 18, 2014

I recommend this book to all lovers of kenneth oppel's stories! A great sci-fi that contains adventure, awkward social status awareness, and great stuff in general!

Jul 14, 2013

The excellent first installment in the Airborn trilogy, this book kept me hooked until the end. Airborn has a well-planned plot, with plenty of surprises and seemingly trivial details which later turn out to be important. Plot elements such as storms, pirates, and shipwrecks, which have been overused in other adventure books to the point of dullness, seem fresh and new in Airborn. The characters, even relatively minor ones, are thoroughly developed, with fears and dreams that seem vividly real. I loved this book!

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Add Age Suitability
Jan 08, 2015

577nicole thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 9 and 16

meks Apr 21, 2012

meks thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

Dec 27, 2011

rainbowqueen123 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

Nov 30, 2011

freeflyer thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Nov 03, 2011

naruto12 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Mar 12, 2011

bluetristesse thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

Fatima Almalki
Apr 27, 2010

Fatima Almalki thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

sher Oct 07, 2009

sher thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Jul 13, 2009

Christina946 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and under


Add a Summary
Fatima Almalki
Apr 18, 2010

Matt Cruse is a cabin boy aboard the luxury passenger airship Aurora when the ship encounters a battered hot air balloon with an unconscious man aboard. Before dying, the man claims to have seen beautiful creatures swarming in the air over an uncharted island. Not until a year later, when Matt meets the man's granddaughter, Kate de Vries, who boards the Aurora, does he learn that the man wasn't hallucinating. Pirates board, rob, and kill, and a fierce storm grounds the Aurora on the very island that Kate's grandfather spoke about--which proves to be the pirates' secret hideaway. Though readers will need to suspend disbelief of the mysterious flying creatures, which Matt and Kate call cloud cats, details of life and work aboard the ship as well as the dramatic escapade itself make this a captivating read.

sher Oct 07, 2009

Airship travel during the Victorian era. Imaginary, uplifting, fun adventure story. Suitable for all.

Jul 13, 2009

Matt Cruse, a cabin boy on the airship Aurora, and Kate de Vries live an adventure-filled life in a world of impossible creatures, and air pirates.


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