Thursday, December 16, 2010
review: Airborn by Kenneth Oppel
pgs: 544 (paperback--I listened to the audio)
genre: steampunk, adventure
blurb from goodreads:
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.
I liked Matt as the protagonist. He was an intelligent and passionate young man who loved what he did. There is a lot of adventure in this book, especially at the end where it got especially exciting. Loved the creature that Kate's grandfather discovered and the mysterious island the Aurora lands on. Very cool world building.
However, I found Kate extremely annoying. In the beginning I thought she was mildly irritating but by the middle she was pushing obnoxious. I appreciate persistence, but she couldn't see anything else but what she wanted and totally took advantage of Matt without ever recognizing what she was asking of him. She was so selfish and pigheaded! By the eighth disk, I can honestly say I hated her. Everything bad that happened in the last fourth of the book was caused by her. Without Matt and his ingenuity, the whole ship would have died. There was no apology from Kate. She got what she wanted in the end, so all is well. Hooray for her (not).
I listened to the book in my car--I wonder if I would've had such a violent reaction to her if I had been reading it instead?--and found myself yelling at Kate because she was being so STUPID. I told Matt repeatedly to just leave her behind, Kate deserved whatever she got. I finally picked up the book and read the last few chapters because I could not listen to her any longer but the story was all so exciting I needed to know how Matt would fix Kate's dumbness.
So yeah, Kate completely ruined the book for me. I realize I'm missing a very beautiful forest because of a tree, but she was a large tree who's branches kept whacking me in the face. And yes, sometimes I do get overly passionate about characters and so hopefully this review isn't too obnoxious, in and of itself.
I am interested in Matt and his later adventures, but since Kate is going to be in the books too (and the romantic lead, I'm assuming), I wont be picking them up. Sorry Matt, but I just can't handle more of Kate. I'm surprised you can.