Wednesday, August 23, 2006

A Great Sequel

I enjoyed Airborn by Kenneth Oppel, but I think the sequel, Skybreaker, is even better.

I've been arguing all summer with a young relative about foreshadowing. There has to be a logic behind the things that happen in books. When the heroine saves the hero, the reader has to think, "Of course! She was able to do that because of something she did in the second chapter!" You have to plant the seeds ahead of time, so to speak.

Kenneth Oppel does a wonderful job of that in Skybreaker. Sure, there were a few times I could tell what was coming, but what was coming was still well done.

One thing I find particularly interesting about both Airborn and Skybreaker is that the main character, sixteen-year-old Matt Cruse, seems a little flat and bland to me. What brings him alive are the more flamboyant characters around him. The wonderfully flawed Captain Hal Slater and his Sherpa crew do an excellent job of building a fire under our hero as they all sail off together to salvage a ghost ship.

The young women in Skybreaker are extremely interesting because, though the book is set in an alternative past, it's a past we can almost recognize. So the young women are living under Victorian restrictions. Yet they are still very powerful characters.

Anybody can have a great time reading this book.


Camille said...

At TLA I learned that Oppel has another one coming out soon. I cannot wait. I love these books.

Gail Gauthier said...

I think he's got the whole package--a great idea with the writing skill to make it work.