By Kenneth Oppel
Matt Cruse was the cabin boy aboard the airship he called home, the Aurora. He felt closest to his father when he was in the sky and on adventures. At the beginning of the novel, Matt was chosen to rescue an unconscious man from a hot-air balloon. Before he passed away, he told Matt about the “beautiful creatures” he saw flying in the sky. Matt didn’t think much of it and quickly forgot this man’s remark. A year later, Kate de Vries arrived on board with her grandfather’s detailed notebook - the same man who had told Matt about the “beautiful creatures” he had seen. Despite Kate’s passion and enthusiasm to prove that her grandfather’s story was true, Matt was skeptical. But when the Aurora crash-landed on an island, Matt noticed that the island looked similar to the one drawn in the notebook. And as time went on, stranded on the island, Matt couldn’t help but question if these “creatures” really did exist. Contrary to Matt’s hesitant outlook, Kate de Vries had a strong-willed and persistent attitude, eager to prove her grandfather true. But if these creatures existed, shouldn’t other explorers have discovered them? Was it all just a misunderstanding? Or were these powerful, winged creatures merely lurking in the shadows?
Despite this book seeming to be super-interesting, it wasn’t exactly so. The beginning was extremely slow and quite boring, frankly. It was not until about the middle of the book that some action started taking place. It seemed the book was going somewhere, but the rest of it still wasn’t super gripping. One thing I did like about the book was the humour- I rarely read a book that actually makes me laugh in some parts. This novel did have a lot of plot twists, which should usually make a novel more interesting. However, it almost did the opposite - it made the book very predictable, especially near the end. I was also quite repetitive. The book takes place on an airship, meaning it uses a lot of terminology readers may not understand. This made it difficult to visualize many parts. Overall, this book was good but not as great as other novels written by Kenneth Oppel. I would not recommend this book for teenagers, but perhaps for a younger audience (8-12). For younger audiences, it might be more interesting and less predictable. 3/5 stars.
Reviewed by Sarah