Thursday, December 26, 2013

Review: Skybreaker by Kenneth Oppel

Skybreaker--Kenneth Oppel
November 2005 by Harper Collins
560 pages--Goodreads

A legendary ghost ship. An incredible treasure. A death-defying adventure.

Forty years ago, the airship Hyperion vanished with untold riches in its hold. Now, accompanied by heiress Kate de Vries and a mysterious gypsy, Matt Cruse is determined to recover the ship and its treasures. But 20,000 feet above the Earth's surface, pursued by those who have hunted the Hyperion since its disappearance, and surrounded by deadly high-altitude life forms, Matt and his companions soon find themselves fighting not only for the Hyperion—but for their very lives.

I really wanted to like Skybreaker, but it just wasn't as good as Airborn.  It was still fun, still exciting, but it had some glaring problems.

Airborn contained some deus ex machina here and there, but Skybreaker took it to a new level.  Oh no!  We're trapped by pirates with no chance of escape.  But wait!  The pirates have been electrocuted by a sky jellyfish.  What?  Again and again, Matt and company got stuck in hopeless situations and then were provided with miraculous escape routes.  I can accept this once or twice in a novel, but it happened too frequently here to ignore.

Matt was really possessive of Kate.  I get that he likes her and that he's hurt by some of her actions, but he took it too far.  He can feel like he's been punched in the gut, but to think to himself, "How dare she?" isn't okay.  He doesn't own her!  If she wants to flirt with other guys, she can.  She's her own person.  She's not even cheating on him since they have no defined relationship.  But no; how dare she.

I wanted to see more of Nadira.  I wanted her to be her awesome gypsy girl self, jumping off buildings and doing other daring things. Instead, she became fuel for a messy love quadrangle and an angst fest from Matt.  

Skybreaker was not as good as the first book, but it was still a fun romp, complete with sky pirates and a bit more steampunky.  It's just so darn compelling. 

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