Though it's only a summer job piloting a humble aerocrane, he's thrilled to be small part of something big. With every load, he's helping to build the Celestial Tower, Paris's extraordinary gateway to outer space. But Matt's idyllic summer is short-lived. He narrowly survives a deadly attack by the fanatical Babelites, who are opposed to humans reaching the heavens. Worse still, his nights spent stargazing with Kate de Vries must end when she's summoned back to Lion's Gate City by her parents. It's time she began to think of getting married.
But then a chance of a lifetime boosts Matt's hopes of being airborne once more. Canada wants to reach space first, and Canadian Minister of Air has asked Kate to join the first expedition as an expert on aerial zoology. There's a place for Matt, too—if he can pass the grueling tests to become one of the world's first astralnauts on board the incredible ship Starclimber.
The lure of outer space has existed since time began. People looked longingly up at the stars since the dawn of man. It has spawned great scientists such as Galileo and Copernicus. But, how do you get to outer space? That has been the age old question.
Well, Kenneth Oppel has supplied the answer in Starclimber, the third book featuring Matt Cruse and Kate DeVries. If you havent read Airborn and Skybreaker, you have deprived yourself an infinite amount of pleasure. They are full of adventure and action and odd creatures. You dont necessarily have to read them before Starclimber, but you must, must, must read them.
The setting of the first two books always puzzled me. It seemed sort of nebulous. The combination of old and new technology always threw me off. But in Starclimber, Oppel has pinpointed the date to the early 1900s, with the mention of womens suffragettes. The book starts with Matt piloting a small aerocrane delivering material to the Celestial Tower, a tower being built in Paris with the goal of reaching the heavens. (I can literally picture a city in 1900 juxtaposed against airborne cranes and tugs.) The structure is already 10 times taller than the Eiffel Tower. The Babelites are against this project and Matts ship is almost blown to smithereens by one of them, posing as a crew member. (Action right from Chapter One!!!)
Matt and Kate are approached by the head of an airship company and asked if they would like to join a space mission. Both, known for the mischief they get into, immediately agree, although Matt must go through extensive training and may not make the cut. How do they intend to get to space? In a rocket climbing a 25,000 mile strand of incredibly durable thread..the Astral Cable. Ill tell you no more, because you NEED to read it yourself.
Starclimber takes you through the rigorous training program&picture working on a rocket with primitive tools in a weightless environment. You follow Matt, Kate and a colorful group of travelers as they climb the Astral Cable. You know it wont be smooth sailing. You also know youll meet unbelievable creatures.
Ive been a fan of Oppels since I read Airborn and he hasnt disappointed me. I love his characters, the action, and the creepy creatures hes devised. The way he writes and the stories he tells just suck you into the books and you dont want to put them down. The action and adventure are non-stop. For the romantics out there, please know that Kate and Matt are in love, which poses its own problems, so youll get the love story you need. All in all, Starclimber will please any reader who picks up the book. I cant rave about it enough.