Matt Cruse is a cabin boy on the Aurora, a huge airship that sails hundreds of feet above the ocean, ferrying wealthy passengers from city to city. It is the life Matt's always wanted; convinced he's lighter than air, he imagines himself as buoyant as the hydrium gas that powers his ship. One night he meets a dying balloonist who speaks of beautiful creatures drifting through the skies. It is only after Matt meets the balloonist's granddaughter that he realizes that the man's ravings may, in fact, have been true, and that the creatures are completely real and utterly mysterious.
In a swashbuckling adventure reminiscent of Jules Verne and Robert Louis Stevenson, Kenneth Oppel, author of the best-selling Silverwing trilogy, creates an imagined world in which the air is populated by transcontinental voyagers, pirates, and beings never before dreamed of by the humans who sail the skies.
I am going to leave most of the "review" part out of this one, because I plan on covering it in greater detail in a future review. We're here for the audiobook version, and I must say, it is an absolute delight to listen to. Sometimes I have been hesitant about a "full cast" reading of any particular work, mostly because there is a greater change of an actor/actress going overboard, or sounding not how I might have imagined. The more actors, the more likely chance I may not like one of them. Not so here. I *loved* Matt's narrator. He got ever inflection, every nuance of his character just right and was a joy to listen to him flesh out his character and literally bring him to life and have him jump off the page. The other characters, including his friend Tobias, Captain Walken, and the headstrong Miss Kate de Vries were all fantastic. I can't name a single character/actor who grated on me (except for one, but her character was kind of written that way to begin with). The music and sound effects (minimally used) are put to subtle and effective use. Nothing overbearing, and just enough to suck you in. This is literally a high seas adventure full of action, fleshed-out characters, great dialogue, and an utterly fantastical setting. This would be one of my higher recommendations if you are wanting to start into the foray of audiobooks, or just want something really good for your plate next. Also, quite kid-friendly (except for a few moments of swearing). A very enjoyable listen.