If you have been lamenting the lack of modern-day classics that stand up to Treasure Island and Shipwrecked, give a listen to the Full Cast Audio version of Airborn by Kenneth Oppel. It is a rousing adventure with a steampunk twist, in a Brit-centric universe where San Francisco is called Lionsgate City and giant airships fill the skies over the continents and the immense oceans, Atlanticus and Pacificus. Matt Cruse is the narrator and cabin boy of the Airship Aurora. He was literally born in the air, and following his father's tragic fall from the Aurora, was invited by the captain to join the crew. As the sole support of his mother and two sisters, life is never easy for 15-year-old Matt, but he loves the ship, the sky and his captain. It's his dream to eventually work his way up the ranks.
Matt is instrumental in a daring rescue of a crippled balloon and its mysterious passenger. Later, a cruise from Lionsgate City to Sydney, Australia, brings Matt into contact with a society girl, Kate, who is grateful to Matt for rescuing her grandfather-- the balloon passenger. She allows Matt to read her grandfather's journal describing his encounter with large beautiful flying cats, which they dub "Cloud Cats." She is determined to find scientific proof of her grandfather's discovery. A deadly but elegant pirate and his nasty crew storm aboard, robbing the passengers. Damage to the ship in a bad storm, a shipwreck on a deserted island, narrow escapes, encounters with the beautiful but deadly cloud cats, and feats of incredible bravery on the part of Matt and Kate fill the listening experience with lots of excitement.
The Full Cast Audio production was excellent. The audiobook is on 10 CD's with 10 and 1/2 hours of recording. It is perfect for that long vacation drive or even a chapter a day. If you are looking for an audiobook that parents, tweens and teens can enjoy, pick it up at the Carnegie Branch of the Jackson District Library. ~Jane DeBano