Airborn: Matt Cruise Series – Book 1, Kenneth Oppel, Thorndike Press (2006)

Grade: ΓGood book within the genre.  Solid story, good characters, if you like this genre, read this book.

 In brief:

Set in a steampunk world of airships and adventure, Airborn is an exciting romp through an Early-to-Mid 20th Century world that never was.  A simple, fun adventure of exploration and pirates set aboard a dirigible skyliner, this was a great read, particularly for the YA audience.


An alternate version of Earth, where great airships (popularly known as Zeppelins to most readers, though Zeppelin was in fact a manufacturer) rule the skies, exotic beasts remain undiscovered and pirates loom as a terrible threat. 

In Depth:

Right. This is my second review of this story.  My first review was of the audiobook, and all I can say is that it really didn’t do the novel any favors at all. Now that I have actually read the text, I will admit enjoying this Ripping Yarn set in a world of adventure that never was. 

I don’t want to say too much.  For me, discovering the technology and setting was at least half the fun and so mum’s the world on too much detail.  That having been said, Oppel uses clear and smooth language to draw brilliant imagery of the steampunk world he has imagined.   He has drawn two compelling plots, one involving the discovery of a strange bat-like animal, the other involving pirates.  Beyond that, there is enough romance and adventure to understand why this book launched a whole series that followed.

I enjoyed the book as an adult and would have loved it as a YA reader. 

Notes about the Audio Edition:

Awful. See my first review of this book at

About Thomas Evans

I'm a writer of mysteries, espionage, and speculative fiction. In my previous incarnation I was an archaeologist specializing in gender and identity in Iron and Bronze Age Europe. Mostly, however, I was known for my works with the use of geomatics, multiscalular spatial analysis and landscape theory within archaeology.
This entry was posted in Alternate History, Ripping Yarn, Series, Steampunk, YA and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s