4.6 83
by Kenneth Oppel

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"Mr. Cruse, how high would you like to fly?"

A smile soared across my face.

"As high as I possibly can."

Pilot-in-training Matt Cruse and Kate de Vries, expert on high-altitude life-forms, are invited aboard the Starclimber, a vessel that literally climbs its way into the cosmos. Before they even set foot aboard

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"Mr. Cruse, how high would you like to fly?"

A smile soared across my face.

"As high as I possibly can."

Pilot-in-training Matt Cruse and Kate de Vries, expert on high-altitude life-forms, are invited aboard the Starclimber, a vessel that literally climbs its way into the cosmos. Before they even set foot aboard the ship, catastrophe strikes:

Kate announces she is engaged—and not to Matt.

Despite this bombshell, Matt and Kate embark on their journey into space, but soon the ship is surrounded by strange and unsettling life-forms, and the crew is forced to combat devastating mechanical failure. For Matt, Kate, and the entire crew of the Starclimber, what began as an exciting race to the stars has now turned into a battle to save their lives.

Award-winning and bestselling author Kenneth Oppel brings us back to a rich world of flight and fantasy in this breathtaking new sequel to Airborn and Skybreaker.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
Matt Cruse and Kate De Vries are back again! The dynamic duo spar their way through their third—and last?—adventure in Kenneth Oppel's prize-winning, best-selling, Canadian-inspired alternate history of the early days of flight. The sci-fi aspects of the story are a little thin, to the point that one is tempted to take sides with that old misogynist, Sir Hugh Snuffler, on the subject of things like "cloud cats." And while there are pro forma villains (e.g., the "Babelites," a version of the Industrial Revolution's Ludites), they never really come to life, so the bulk of this particular story is a replay of the classic boarding school/basic training scenario as Matt bonds with his fellow "astralnauts" before the big voyage to outer space. As to how that Jules Verne-ish trip is rather ingeniously accomplished and what actually occurs during its duration . . . well, explaining all that would spoil the plot. Suffice it to say that Oppel has some fun with his parody of a famously eccentric Canadian painter, the action is fairly non-stop, and Matt manages to remain the hero of the hour. Reviewer: Kathleen Karr
School Library Journal

Gr 6-10

This sequel to Airborn (2004) and Skybreaker (2005, both Eos) continues the fabulous adventures of Matt Cruse and Kate de Vries. In classic steampunk fashion, this book blends the best of Victorian society and science fiction. No longer content to be confined to planet Earth, Kate and Matt leap at the opportunity to travel into space when Kate is invited to be a part of the Canadian astralnaut program for her scientific expertise and Matt must undergo rigorous training before he is accepted as a crew member. Unexpected mechanical difficulties, friction among those onboard, sabotage, and encounters with strange alien life-forms test their courage and ingenuity and love for one another. Starclimber is a thrilling roller-coaster ride of a book, full of humor and derring-do and guaranteed to keep readers up long past midnight.-Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage Public Library, AK

Kirkus Reviews
Matt Cruse, hero of Printz Honor-winning Airborn (2004) and its sequel, Skybreaker (2006), returns for another thrilling adventure. While working to fund his final year in pilot training, Matt receives the opportunity to participate in a secret venture that will take him beyond his beloved skies and into outer space, enduring vigorous training to become one of the mission's "astralnauts." Security is paramount, since there are those willing to use violence to sabotage space travel. Once again, Matt is joined by his friend/romantic interest, Kate de Vries, as she continues to research unusual life forms. Their mission is complicated by factors both technical and human: Their ship is designed to travel by way of an untried "astral cable," and Kate can get permission from her parents to go only by getting engaged to another young man shortly before their journey begins-the strain on Matt from both sources is palpable. Once again, Oppel has assembled intriguing characters, especially Matt's fellow astralnauts, who populate a fast-paced narrative that features enough unpredictable plot twists to keep readers riveted to Matt's story to the finish. (Fantasy. YA)
Children's Literature - Kristina Cassidy
This third entry in the Matt Cruse series raises the stakes by taking its hero out of the sky and up into space. In these alternate histories of the early 1900s, air travel has supplanted trains and ships. Young Matt is a sky sailor who, in the first two books, fights a pirate and helps recover a long-missing airship. In Starclimber, Matt trains to serve aboard the world's first spaceship. Following the standard format for this series, poor Matt and his wealthy love Kate DeVries discover new lifeforms and face incredible danger together. First terrorists try to sabotage the mission. Then the ship suffers mechanical failures and attracts unwanted attention from bizarre alien lifeforms. The adventure elements work very well, as usual. The romance between Kate and Matt, however, seems forced. Another suitor vies for Kate's attention, and neither Kate nor Matt seems to have considered how they would fit into each other's career and life plans. A subplot involving women's suffrage serves mostly to contribute to a stronger impression of Kate's lack of understanding of how the world works for those who do not have tremendous fortunes. Kate herself comes across as young, naive, and selfish. This impression is reinforced by the new actress voicing her. Meanwhile, the same voice actor has portrayed Matt in all three books, showing his growing maturity. The infatuation between the two seems stilted in the audio performance as a result. Reviewer: Kristina Cassidy

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
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File size:
806 KB
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

KENNETH OPPEL is the Governor General’s Award–winning author of the Airborn series and the Silverwing Saga, which has sold over a million copies worldwide. His most recent novels are The Boundless and The Nest. Twice nominated for the Hans Christian Andersen Award, he lives in Toronto with his wife and three children.


Facebook: Kenneth Oppel

Twitter: @kennethoppel

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