322 pages
ISBN 0-00-200537-9
DDC jC813'.54




Reviewed by Steve Pitt

Steve Pitt is a Toronto-based freelance writer and an award-winning journalist. He has written many young adult and children's books, including Day of the Flying Fox: The True Story of World War II Pilot Charley Fox.


An old-fashioned adventure yarn is the best way to describe this latest
novel by Kenneth Oppel, author of the award-winning Silverwing series.
In this book, Oppel’s young hero is a human. It is the turn of the
20th century and Matt Cruse, a 15-year-old orphan, has signed on as
cabin boy aboard the Aurora, a massive luxury liner dirigible that
cruises at 100 kilometres per hour over the South Pacific. Despite the
fact that Matt is often treated badly by the older crew members, he
loves the adventure of living on an airship that resembles a cross
between the Titanic and a Zeppelin. One day, a rich, beautiful young
female passenger named Kate comes on board. Although Matt and Kate come
from very different worlds, they soon discover that they have something
in common. They have both met a strange old man who has spent his life
sailing the skies in a hot-air balloon while searching for a legendary
winged beast. Thrill after thrill results as Kate and Matt try to solve
the old man’s riddle while coping with pirates and a shipwreck.

Oppel easily makes his characters and their incredible adventures seem
utterly believable. Every new Oppel book is eagerly anticipated by his
thousands of fans around the world, and this latest work will not
disappoint them. Highly recommended.


Oppel, Kenneth., “Airborn,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed February 21, 2024,