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Skybreaker (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)

Skybreaker (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)

4.7 91
by Kenneth Oppel

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When Matt Cruse spots a legendary ghost ship named the Hyperion drifting far above the clouds, a high-flying adventure begins—one filled with romance, danger, and suspense.


When Matt Cruse spots a legendary ghost ship named the Hyperion drifting far above the clouds, a high-flying adventure begins—one filled with romance, danger, and suspense.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Matt Cruse returns in the fully imagined world first described in Airborn, for which PW said, "In crisp, precise prose, Oppel imagines an alternate past where zeppelins crowd the skies and luxury liners travel the air rather than the sea." Ages 12-up. (Jan.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Jeanne K. Pettenati J.D.
Matt Cruse, a young student at the Airship Academy in Paris, takes off on a daring adventure to find his fortune aboard the ghost ship Hyperion. Listeners are transported to a world where airships rule the skies—luxury liners, cargo ships, pirate ships, and the mysterious Hyperion, where the tycoon Theodore Grinnell died with his fortune when the ship disappeared 40 years ago. Matt joins forces with his confident, outgoing society friend Kate de Vries, who costarred with him in the author's earlier adventure tale Airborn. These two hook up with Nadira, a gypsy girl whose pirate father gave her the key to the Hyperion before he went away, and Hal Slater, the captain of the ship that can take them high enough in the sky to reach the Hyperion. Bricks of gold, blueprints of untold futuristic machines, taxidermy specimens and more await Cruse and his companions as they seek riches and glory on the ill-fated ship. But as they get closer to the ship, they realize their coordinates are being tracked by pirates. From then on, it is an exciting race to the treasure, with many twists and turns on the way. This fast-paced story (on 10 CDs, with a total running time of 11 hours and 30 minutes), will thrill young and old listeners alike. Matt is a likable protagonist. The other characters come to life vividly through the actors' voices. Listeners will get swept up in the urgency of the action, where fate hangs in the balance of split-second decisions. The author has painted an exciting world where brave, clever, and honorable children can outsmart pirates and a dishonorable businessman. Just when listeners think all is lost, the author pulls a fast one, especially at the end of thestory. This unabridged audio book, enhanced with original music, will delight listeners in a car, at home or school. The recording is based on the author's 2006 book of the same name. Reviewer: Jeanne K. Pettenati, J.D.
In this sequel to Airborn, a winner of Canada's Governor General's Award and a Michael L. Printz Honor Book, 16-year-old Matt Cruse is now a student at the Airship Academy, studying to become an airship captain. In the exciting opening chapter, Matt helps navigate a zeppelin-like airship through a fierce typhoon and spots a legendary airship, the Hyperion, rumored to hold treasure as well as a rare collection of taxidermy. He and his girlfriend Kate de Vries, along with a mysterious gypsy girl who holds a key to the Hyperion, and a dashing young airship captain, head off together to the skies of frigid Skyberia to try to capture this ship and its riches, despite the dangerously high altitude at which it is flying. Other perils they must contend with include pirates who are also after the Hyperion and deadly high-altitude creatures that are like a cross between squids and electric eels. The action rarely flags in this old-fashioned adventure tale, set in an alternative universe in the earlier part of the 20th century, and readers, especially those who read Airborn, will enjoy the thrilling ride. KLIATT Codes: JS*—Exceptional book, recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2005, HarperCollins, Eos, 384p. illus., and Ages 12 to 18.
—Paula Rohrlick
KLIATT - Sherry Hoy
Matt Cruise and Kate de Vries are back. Matt is on an internship for his classes at the Airship Academy when the Hyperion is spotted. The Hyperion was the ship of an eccentric millionaire reported to have fabulous treasures on board. Matt and Kate team up with a gypsy girl with a key and a young handsome sky captain to pursue the Hyperion into the thin air above the normal limits for an airship. They soon discover strange creatures inhabit that region and that the treasure is a machine that produces the gas needed to fuel airships. (They also find out there is a load gold bullion hidden on board). This can be read independent of the first volume, but most readers will want to go back to pick up the "rest of the story." For its length, this is a surprisingly quick read, with fascinating characters, situations, and plot twists. Recommend it to those wanting something a bit different, but still with plenty of action.
School Library Journal

Gr 6-10- Matt Cruse, the hero of Kenneth Oppel's Airborn (Eos, 2004), returns in this marvelous action-packed sequel (Eos, 2005). Matt lives in Paris and is attending the Airship Academy. In this alternate world, luxury airships fill the skies. Matt is on duty in the crow's nest of an academy vessel and sees the Hyperion , a renowned ghost ship rumored to be filled with treasure. His captain attempts to capture her with disastrous consequences. Back on the ground, wealthy Kate de Vries, Matt's love interest, talks him into another attempt at capturing the Hyperion . They are joined by Nadira, a mysterious Indian girl, and brash Hal Slater who provides the Skybreaker , a vessel that can safely climb into the atmosphere. The hunt, capture, and boarding of the ghost ship is pure fun with enough intrigue to keep listeners on their toes. The full-cast narration is splendid. The major characters are wonderfully portrayed and minor characters are memorable. This is one of those rare instances where the sequel is even better than the original. An essential purchase.-Tricia Melgaard, Centennial Middle School, Broken Arrow, OK

Kirkus Reviews
Matt Cruse, now 16 and a student at Airship Academy in Paris, is swept into another sky adventure even richer and more surprising than the one in Airborn (2004). When an airship assumed to have crashed 40 years ago is spotted in the skies, various people scramble to "salvage" it-reach it first and claim rights to all its cargo, which may include gold. Problem: It's floating higher than most airships can go, even buoyed by the mango-scented hydrium gas crucial to flying technology. Wealthy, spirited Kate (whom readers will recall from the first installment) joins Matt, cocky pilot Hal and gypsy girl Nadira (who's sometimes unfortunately exoticized) on a mission to reach the Hyperion. Criminals and the altitude bring suspense and danger, but the most entrancing obstacle is a species of previously undiscovered flying sky squid. The squid are key to salvaging the treasure, which may or may not be what it seems. Creative, compelling, nicely unpredictable and alive with nature and technology. (Fantasy. YA)

Product Details

Turtleback Books
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.10(w) x 6.60(h) x 1.40(d)
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt


By Kenneth Oppel


ISBN: 0-06-053227-0

Chapter One

The Devil's Fist

The storm boiled above the Indian ocean, a dark, bristling wall of cloud, blocking our passage west. We were still twenty miles off, but its high winds had been giving us a shake for the past half hour. Through the tall windows of the control car, I watched the horizon slew as the ship struggled to keep steady. The storm was warning us off, but the captain gave no order to change course.

We were half a day out of Jakarta, and our holds were supposed to be filled with rubber. But there'd been some mix-up, or crooked dealing, and we were flying empty. Captain Tritus was in a foul mood, his mouth clenching a cigarette on one side, and on the other, muttering darkly about how he was expected to pay and feed his crew on an empty belly. He'd managed to line up a cargo in Alexandria, and he needed to get us there fast.

"We'll clip her," he told his first officer, Mr. Curtis. "She's not got much power on her southern fringe. We'll sail right through."

Mr. Curtis nodded, but said nothing. He looked a little queasy, but then again, he always looked a little queasy. Anyone would, serving aboard the Flotsam under Tritus. The captain was a short, stocky man, with a greasy fringe of pale hair that jutted out beyond his hat. He was not much to look at, but he had Rumpelstiltskin's own temper, and when angry - which was often - his fist clenched and pounded the air, his barrel chest thrust forward, andhis orders shot out like a hound's bark. His crew tended to say as little as possible. They did as they were told and smoked sullenly, filling the control car with a permanent yellow pall. It looked like a waiting room in purgatory.

The control car was a cramped affair, without a separate navigation or wireless room. The navigator and I worked at a small table toward the back. I usually liked having a clear line of sight out the front windows, but right now, the view was not an encouraging one.

Flying into a storm, even its outer edges, did not seem like a good idea to me. And this was no ordinary tempest. Everyone on the bridge knew what it was: the Devil's Fist, a near-eternal typhoon that migrated about the North Indian basin year-round. She was infamous, and earned her name by striking airships out of the sky.

"Eyes on the compass, Mr. Cruse," the navigator, Mr. Domville, reminded me quietly.

"Sorry, sir." I checked the needle and reported our new heading. Mr. Domville made his swift markings on the chart. Our course was starting to look like the path of a drunken sailor, zigzagging as we fought the headwinds. They were shoving at us something terrible.

Through the glass observation panels in the floor, I looked down at the sea, nine hundred feet below us. Spume blew sideways off the high crests. Suddenly we were coming about again, and I watched the compass needle whirl to its new heading. Columbus himself would have had trouble charting a course in such weather.

"Two hundred and seventy-one degrees," I read out.

"Do you wish you were back in Paris, Mr. Cruse?" the navigator asked.

"I'm always happiest flying," I told him truthfully, for I was born in the air, and it was more home to me than earth.

"Well then, I wish I were back in Paris," Mr. Domville said, and gave me one of his rare grins.

Of all the crew, he was my favorite. Granted, there was little competition from the hot-tempered captain and his stodgy, surly officers, but Mr. Domville was cut from different cloth. He was a soft-spoken, bookish man, quite frail looking, really. His spectacles would not stay up on his nose, so he was in the habit of tilting his head higher to see. He had a dry cough, which I put down to all the smoke in the control car. I liked watching his hands fly across the charts, nimbly manipulating rulers and dividers. His skill gave me a new respect for the navigator's job, which, until now, I'd never taken much interest in. It was not flying. I wanted to pilot the ship, not scribble her movements on a scrap of paper. But while working with Mr. Domville, I'd finally realized there could be no destination without a navigator to set and chart a course.

I did feel sorry for him, serving aboard the Flotsam. It was a wreck of a cargo ship, running freight over Europa and the Orient. I wondered why Mr. Domville didn't seek out a better position. Luckily I only had to endure it for five more days.

All the first-year students at the Airship Academy had been shipped out on two-week training tours to study navigation. Some shipped on luxury liners, some on mail packets, some on barges and tugs. I'd had the misfortune of being placed on the Flotsam. The ship looked like it hadn't been refitted since the Flood, and it smelled like Noah's old boot. The crew's quarters were little more than hammocks slung alongside the keel catwalk, where your sleep was soured by the stench of oil and Aruba fuel. The hull looked like it had been patched with everything including cast-off trousers. The engines rattled. The food quite simply defied comprehension. Slopped onto the plate by the cook's rusty ladle, it looked like something that had already been chewed and rejected.

"Think of this as a character-building experience," Mr. Domville had told me at the first meal.

Why the illustrious Academy used the Flotsam as a training vessel I couldn't guess, unless they wanted to teach their students how to mutiny. Captain Tritus, I'm sure, was glad of the fee the Academy paid to place me on board. For a heap like the Flotsam, it might have made the difference between having enough fuel or not. It made me long for the Aurora, the airship liner where I used to work before starting my studies at the Academy. Now there was a ship, and Captain Walken knew how to run it, and take care of his crew.

When I looked out the window again, I wished I hadn't. We'd been making for the storm's southern flank, but now it seemed to be moving with us, spinning out its dark tendrils. I looked at Captain Tritus, waiting for him to change our heading. He said nothing.


Excerpted from Skybreaker by Kenneth Oppel Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

KENNETH OPPEL is the author of numerous award-winning books. The many honors for Airborn include a Michael L. Printz Honor and Canada's Governor General's Award for Children's Literature. He lives in Toronto, Canada. www.kennethoppel.ca

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Skybreaker 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 91 reviews.
PlumPudding More than 1 year ago
Oh my goodness! This is one amazing story. The second half had me gasping myself, and it was hardly possible to quit reading! As with the first book, Oppel writes with such clarity, and the images of the ghost ship and the air, and EVERYTHING just swirls around you! It's wonderful. Besides this, I am truly amazed at Kenneth Oppel's knowledge of animals. Everything is so realistic--I almost believe these creatures can exist somewhere! And I just adore Matt Cruse. A more lovable, complex main character I could not imagine. I absolutely love whenever Oppel takes his character around the "Airborn" concept. He IS the sky. The icarus resemblance sent a shiver down my spine. I always wait for that heart-stopping moment when Matt will throw himself out to the sky once more. Gosh, I love these books. I can't even get my mind around them!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's worth the time to read. It was a great mix of adventure, romance, and suspense.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absolutely an excellent choice for anyone to read. All of Oppel's books are great pieces of literature with amusing characters and a well planned plot. Please read, because you will be highly satisfied. This is a pleasing book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kenneth opel never makes a bbad bok you will love thia book his series are wonderfull there is third book coming out i love charactors of course matt and kate
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love this series. This series is original and inventive, you will fall in love with the characters and the adventure.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yet another outstanding book. Kenneth oppel never stops amazing me. Hope that he continues this series
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Skybreaker is one of the best books I read in my life. The story plot of the book is well done because the author puts the squeals correctly and makes sense. Skybreaker is about a boy name Matt Cruse searching for the wealth of mysterious airship called Hyperion. The problem of getting to the place is that the Hyperion is on the altitude of 20,000ft which no airplane can get to. The main character is Matt, Kate, Nadira, and Hal. Matt is the only person who knows the Hyperion¿s coordinate and Hal have the ship that can go up to 20000ft. There is lots of events when getting to the Hyperion and there is a climax which happens on when they get in the Hyperion. The reason why Matt and other wants to get Hyperion is because it is said that Hyperion contain everlasting riches that will last 5 generations. So this is why I like this book very much.
Reading360 More than 1 year ago
This is a great second novel and is best experienced after reading Airborn.If anyone is looking for a great trio this is the place to go.
Awesomeness1 More than 1 year ago
OH man. I devoured this book is a few hours depsite its rather large size. I was so absorbed and the pages (get ready for a pun) flew by. This book continues Matt Cruses saga. When it starts, he is serving as an intern on the airship Flotsam. The Flotsam gets blown off course and as it rises to heights untraveled, it discovers a 40-yr-old mystery: the location of the Hyperion, a ghost ship legended to have riches upon riches on board. Because of some complications, the Flotsam must end it's journey, but that doens't mean the journey ends for Matt Cruse. With the Hyperion's coordinates and thoughts of riches in mind, Matt Cruse along with the heiress Kate de Vries and a mysterious gypsy named Nadira, set out on a perilous journey. I think this book maybe even better than Airborn. It was filled with the same swashbuckling action and ripping good adventure, and the romance between a certain cabin boy and young heiress grew even tenser. Now there was even a love-quadrangle of sorts with some other new characters thrown it. I think the character development was considerably better this time around, and we finally got some emotion from Mr. Cruse. There is just something about these books I adore. They are fun and thrilling, and there is nothing about them that makes me groan in dismay. I think that why these books get five-stars. I'm sure they could be better, but there is nothing about them that I dislike. And the visuals are awesome. I've said it once and I'll say it again: these books would be GREAT movies. If you any reluctant male readers, recommened these books to them. They appeal to a wide audience. Easy enough for middle school readers, but older readers will love them too. Both boys and girls.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved Airborn, and this sequel exceeded my expectations. Filled with action, old-fashioned adventure, mystery, and romance, this is a book you wont be able to put down. Oppels style of writing is very descriptive, but not too complicated. Some airborn characters return(matt, kate, miss simpkins)along with a cast of brilliant new characters. If you havent read airborn, it is ok to read Skybreaker first. The stories are pretty seperate, it is not necassery to know the events in the first book. I cant wait to read the third book!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
good action. Keeps your interest! I will look for more by this author.
cdguylhs More than 1 year ago
Kenneth Oppel is a great author. I have not read any book by him that I did not like. He knows how to draw you into the story. This is another great book by him.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had to ead this for a book club at school and i loved it the most out of everybody. I loved it so much I bought the first oneand lived it too cant wait to read the third one, plus its co written by the co author of Goliath which i loved (read that series too)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Skybreaker is the worth-while sequel to Kenneth Oppel's book Airborne. In these books a world is visited that would perhaps be modern day earth save for one thing, airplanes have not yet been invented, and the sky is ruled by massive and wondrous airships. If you have already read Airborne then you will be happy to hear that many of the same characters are present in Skybreaker and are accompanied by new and different people who all strive for the same thing. For those of you who have not yet adventured into this book's predecessor, I would undoubtedly recommend that you do because it holds many key story points. At the end of Airborne, Matt Cruse fought and defeated the dreaded pirate Vikram Spzirglas. Not long after this, he is given a reward for his part in exposing the pirate's secret lair; with this reward Matt achieves perhaps one of his more prominent dreams, to attend the Airship Academy. On a training trip from the academy Matt and the rest of the crew with him discover a long lost airship known as the Hyperion, and with this discovery comes the main plot of the story. While Matt and his friends seek to board the Hyperion and plunder its treasure, they are chased and hounded by pirates seeking to get in on the treasures that lay in wait upon the mysterious ghost ship. In conclusion I would undoubtedly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good tale about love, adventure, and fighting from the bottom to get to the top.
Striped More than 1 year ago
Must read for anyone who is iffy about continuing the series. Exciting, suspenseful, and yes the two love birds are still around.
Kdawg34 More than 1 year ago
A fantastic novel. I never wanted to put it down. I am 11 and read the first book, "Airborn" at camp this summer. I was so intrigued by the story that I wanted to get the sequel, "Skybreaker", right away when I got home. Can't wait to read the third.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Skybreaker is my favorite book of all time. I have compared it to books like: Phillip Pullman¿s Dark Materials, Harry Potter, the City of Ember, Lord of The Rings, Narnia and Eldest, and this book is my favourite-by far. This book truly soars sky-high. Skybreaker is an excellent book it will leave you gripping the edges of your chair, anxiously waiting to turn the page. I experienced a very powerful mental bond between the book and I. Wherever I went, Skybreaker came along. My biggest fear is heights, and those of you that are acrophobic don¿t become intimidated, this book will truly have your eyes glued to the pages, from the first word. The story is very unpredictable and suspenseful. I often compare the thrill of this book to riding a rollercoaster- it twists and turns and truly leaves you mesmerized. I truly would award Skybreaker five stars, and would recommend it to anyone. The plot is well organized and very clever, boredom is not a factor of this book and basically, I have read many books, but I have never read anything as exciting or compelling as Skybreaker-bottom-line. Well done Mr. Oppel.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read the first book 'Airborn' and I thought 'Skybreaker' was almost as good. I liked the ending but I'm still hoping for another book to keep the series going or end it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Skybreaker is an awesome book about a young man named Matt Cruse, who goes on a daring adventure aboard a lengendary airship. THIS BOOK IS AWESOME!!! The characters experience things that make them almost seem real. The characters are also very funny, and Kenneth Oppel describes the environments so well that I almost feel like I'm there. Anyone who likes somewhat historical fiction will love this book! This is my absolute favorite historical fiction book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved the first one and i loved this one! I couldn't put down the first book i loved it so much! I want the third book to be out so i can get it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
this is a great book. I couldn't put it down for 7hr straight!
Guest More than 1 year ago
It's almost as good as Airborn. It's another exciting adventure that really lives up to the standard set by the first book, and it leavs you praying for a third one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago