Friday, May 8, 2009

Review: Starclimber by Kenneth Oppel

Starclimber by Kenneth Oppel
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 400 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0060850579
Price: $17.99; HC

This book is the third in a series (Airborn and Skybreaker are the first
two) that started out great and just keeps getting better! Starclimber is
set in a world very similiar to ours, with one notable difference that
affects everything- lighter than air travel (as opposed to our
heavier-than-air) is the norm. Many of Matt and Kate's (our main
characters) adventures until now have taken place on the huge floating
ships- but this time they're hoping to head to space in a ship that looks
rather like an elavator- it travels on a cable to reach space. Those who've
read the series till here will enjoy this book immensely- Kate is
*engaged*? *Not* to Matt? Those familiar with the series and Matt and
Kate's romance will feel betrayed and anxious right there...and the book's
pace doesn't slow. Those new to the series will enjoy this book too; prior
knowledge of the series is not needed to understand or enjoy this book,
though it does make it clearer and more fun. The other tensions at play in
the book include fear of the bomb-wielding Babelites (an anti space travel
group, Matt's resentment that although Kate is invited on the journey he
has to compete for a spot- in a group he feels is far superior to him,
problems on the astral-cable that holds the ship, Kate's burning anger at
the scientists that dismiss her as a fraud and female and a ship's mate who
wants to be Captain. A dour Russian scientist, pompous zoologist, our
beloved Captain Walken, a passionate and bad-tempered cook, eccentric
photographer, sabotage-ready "Babelites" and arrogant space-contenders make
this book a pleasure to read, too. These are not stock or boring
characters! They are exciting and well-developed in a world that is strange
and similiar at the same time.
This book is wonderful! Read and enjoy.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The River by Gary Paulsen

I've only recently become a fan of Gary Paulsen. I avoided reading him in High School, and in my YA literature classes in college. Being a girl, he just didn't seem like my type of author. When my husband came into the store one day, and selected some Paulsen books, he did nothing but rave about them while he read them. So I broke down, and starting from the beginning, I read Hatchet, and then Brian's Winter, and then my most recent, The River.

Some kind of primitive something must have been sparked in me when I read the first two, because I absolutely loved them, so I went into The River with great enthusiasm. I have to admit, though, that I was mildly disappointed in the book. It was still a very good book, but the swiftness of its ending was just so abrupt. Of course, it wasn't just the ending that I didn't like. Perhaps my dislike was my own fault, because I feel that I should not have read Brian's Winter so soon. The things Brian did in The River were not things he would have done had Brian's Winter been more than speculation by Paulsen. His decisions were too brash and uneducated, and his trust in a technology even so low as maps was too much.

I will definitely continue to read the books about Brian, but I feel that The River will be a blip in that adventure.