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Spyglass to my eye, I slowly swept the heavens. Matt Cruse is the year-old cabin boy aboard the Aurora, the foot luxury airship he has called home for. 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 . Airborn [Kenneth Oppel] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Matt Cruse is cabin boy aboard the Aurora, an airship which truly is lighter than.

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Airborn is a young adult novel by Kenneth Oppel. The novel is set in an alternate history where the airplane has not been invented, and instead, airships are the primary form of air transportation.

Additionally, the world contains fictional animal species such as flying creatures, which live their entire lives in the sky. The book takes place aboard a transoceanic luxury passenger airship, the Auroraand is told from the perspective of its cabin boy, Matt Cruse. Fourteen-year-old Matt Cruse is a cabin boy for the Auroraan airship that stays afloat using a gas called “hydrium”. While on lookout duty, he spots a damaged balloon carrying an unconscious old man.

Matt saves the man, whose name is Benjamin Malloy, only to have him die shortly after being taken aboard. His last words ramble about “beautiful creatures” that he supposedly saw on his ill-fated voyage.

Despite loving his mother and sisters dearly, Matt is relieved to be in the air where he feels closest to his father — a former sailmaker who died in an accident aboard the Aurora. Matt is disappointed to learn that the Junior Sailmaker position he was promised has been given to the airship fleet’s heir, Bruce Lunardi.

One day into the voyage, an ornithopter delivers two passengers to the ship: Kate de Vries and her chaperone Marjorie Simpkins. Kate tells Matt that she is Benjamin Malloy’s granddaughter and shows him detailed drawings of flying panther -like creatures from Malloy’s journal. Intrigued by the possibility that they live their whole lives in the air, Kate reveals that she is on a mission to prove that such creatures are real.

A few nights later, the ship is raided by a notorious criminal named Vikram Szpirglas. His gang of pirates plunder the ship of all valuables and kill the chief wireless officer. The pirates proceed to leave, but both ships are caught in a storm.


The pirate vessel crashes with the Aurora and tears the Aurora’s hull, seriously depleting its supply of hydrium. As the sailmakers scramble to repair the falling AuroraMatt spots an island and the crew steers toward it. The ship crash lands on the island, which Kate realizes is the island from her grandfather’s journal.

Kate convinces Matt to help her explore the island where they discover the skeleton of a large winged creature.

A few minutes later, they find an injured member of the same species which they decide to call a “cloud cat”. Miss Simpkins tries to lock Kate in her room for associating with Matt. As the repairs near completion, Kate drugs her and takes one last chance to photograph the island’s wildlife. Matt and Bruce begin looking for her until they find Kate hidden in a tree saying she found the cloud cat’s nest. After luring the cloud cat into a clearing with a fish, the shutter of Kate’s camera provokes it into attacking.

Bruce suffers severe wounds on his leg from the cloud cat, but Matt and Kate escape into the forest. The two of them stumble upon the pirates, who had set up a secret base on the secluded island. Unrecognized, they ask for shelter in the pirate camp and make a plan to sneak away during the night.

During their escape, Kate and Matt are apprehended and thrown into a hydrium pit where there is no oxygen. They use Kate’s harem pants as a balloon to lift themselves to ground level as Szpirglas’ crew sets out to silence the passengers of the Aurora. Kate begins crying in the forest, blaming herself for putting everyone else in danger. Acting on the feelings he has developed for her, Matt kisses her. She asks him to kiss her again, and stops crying. Once Kate and Matt find Bruce, the three make their way to the Aurorawhich is being held hostage by eight pirates.

They are able to undo the landing lines and cause the ship to take off.

Airborn by Kenneth Oppel – review

Matt’s innate knowledge of the flight system allows them to temporarily take control and steer the ship away from the island. After tending to Bruce’s wounds in the infirmary, Matt brings a sleeping elixir to the cook so that it can be added to the pirates’ soup.


Szpirglas’ crew murders Bruce in airblrn engine room and chases Matt onto the hull of the Aurora in open air. Szpirglas pushes Matt off the edge but Matt is able to grab hold of the ship’s tail fin. Before attempting to akrborn Matt again, Szpirglas is attacked by a group oppfl cloud cats and is thrown into the sea.

The passengers are saved when Matt steers the Aurora back on course. Six months later, Matt meets Kate in Paris, where she is exhibiting her cloud cat skeleton and photographs.

Airborn (Matt Cruse, #1) by Kenneth Oppel

Matt reveals that he will attend the Airship Academy, with the help of the reward money for finding Szpirglas’ base of operations. Kate’s plans to begin her zoology studies at a university. The novel ends with them holding hands.

Airborn was first released in Canada in February It was shortly followed with its release in the United Kingdom and the United States in April and May respectively.

Below is the release details for the first edition hardback and paperback copies in these three publication regions. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article needs additional citations for verification.

Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged hy removed. May Learn how and when to remove this template message. Retrieved 9 January The Globe and Mail. Printz Winners and Honor Books”.

Young Adult Library Services Association.

Retrieved 4 May The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books. Archived from the original on The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Archived from the original on 3 May International Board on Books for Young People. Retrieved from ” https: Webarchive template wayback links Articles needing additional references from May All articles needing additional references Pages to import images to Wikidata.

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Airborn first edition cover. FantasyAlternate history novelSteampunk.