148. Starclimber

Starclimber by Kenneth Oppel
Third in the Airborn series

Pages: 356
Finished: Aug. 29, 2008
First Published: Sept. 2, 2008 (Canada) / Feb. 24, 2009 (US)/ March, 2009 (UK)
Genre: YA, science fiction/fantasy
Rating: 4/5

Reason for Reading: Received a review copy from Harper Collins Canada

First sentence:

Rising into the wind, I flew, Paris spread before me.

Comments: This time around Matt and Kate are on a special mission for the Canadian government. The space race is on and Paris is supposedly winning but Canada has a secret plan and they've gathered together a crew which includes our two protagonists.

This book is quite different from the previous two as it is mostly set in outer space rather than aboard an airship. The genre is also difficult to pinpoint as it is certainly science fiction but from a Victorian point of view, making it seem more fantasy. The world Matt and Kate live in is an alternate earth reality where society is similar to a mannered Victorian age yet they have a growing technology that it is very different from that developed on our Earth. It very much feels Jules Verne-ish.

Again, I enjoyed the book. This series is superb. This book is not as dark as Oppel's others but there is death and taut suspense making this (as his other books) more appropriate for a YA audience. Oppel's vision of an alternate reality's version of outer space was incredibly intriguing. Well-written, a page turner and wonderful characters familiar and new. Especially Miss Karr and her pet monkey Haiku, who are a nod to the Canadian painter Emily Carr, and her monkey, Woo.
The books in this series each has its own plot and can be read in any order but there is a relationship that develops throughout the books and mention of previous events so I do recommend reading them in order.

I've read all of Oppel's YA novels now except his first two books which are stand alones. I will be going back to read them but can't wait to see what Oppel comes up with for his next new book.


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