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By Kenneth Oppel
Read by David Kelly and the Full Cast Family

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By Kenneth Oppel
Read by David Kelly and the Full Cast Family
Full Cast Audio, (2006)
An Unabridged Audio Recording on 10 CDs.
ISBN: 1-933322-54-3
Genre: Science Fiction - Young Adult Fiction
Other editions: Large Print (Paperback) | Standard Print (Hardcover) | Standard Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Reviewed by Herbert White - November 20, 2006

In the adventurous spirit of Jules Verne and Edgar Rice Burroughs comes Airborn, by Kenneth Oppel. A non-stop action adventure story set in an alternative Victorian-era world where dirigible-styled airships are the norm, unimaginable creatures roam the earth, and where pirates are known to make an unwanted appearance now and then. This amazing story is brought vividly to life in Full Cast Audio's audio production of the story, a production that features a full cast of thirty-two actors, sound effects, and music.

The story is narrated by fifteen-year-old Matt Cruse (played by David Kelly), a cabin boy aboard the great, luxury passenger carrying airship, the Aurora. While working aboard the Aurora, Matt meets up with the fiery Kate de Vries, a young woman who is looking for proof that her grandfather did indeed see the incredible flying creatures that he spoke about shortly before his death when the crew of the Aurora rescued him from a disabled craft a year ago. The creatures, which she calls Cloud Cats, are supposed to be huge, fury things with monestrous claws that fly through the air on delicate bat-like wings. Before she gets a chance to see one of them, the ship is attacked by pirates and all the passengers are robbed. Close on the heels of this attack comes a huge storm that cripples the Aurora and causes it to set down for repairs. While waiting for the repairs to be completed, Matt and Kate set out to explore the surrounding area and they discover incontrovertible proof that the creatures that Kate is looking for do indeed exist. However, they have one major problem. while exploring the area, they accidently stumble upon the pirates' lair - and are captured! The story only picks up from here!!!

The print version of Airborn has received a great deal of critical acclaim and numerous awards, including being named a Printz Honor Book and a YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers. More important, it has been well received by the thousands of children that have been captivated by this rousing adventure story. What was an excellent book in print has been made even better by this Full Cast Audio production. The audio edition of Airborn makes the book earfully accessible to visually impaired listeners. It is also perfect for family listening, in the car, during dinner, or simply gathered together on the couch. As well, if your child is a very reluctant reader, listening to this story may well be just what is need to encourage him to go back and read the print version of the book, or to sample some of Oppel's other books, including Skybreaker, the sequel to Airborn. And for you parents out there - after listening to this book you may also find yourself hunting up a print copy of the book for your own amusement!

Without reserve, this is one of the best adventure stories that I've heard in years. Five stars all the way!

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