Sunday, March 23, 2014
Disclaimer: I read the Advance Reader's Copy of this book and the published version will probably have minor differences than the version I read. This book will be published on April 22, 2014.
As a teen, I loved Kenneth Oppel's Airborn and managed to follow the series through my life into college; which was very rare because college left very little time for pleasure reading for me. I was thrilled to come across The Boundless.
There has been something about Oppel's style of writing that has swept me thoroughly into the story where it's hard to put it down and do anything else. The characters are all vivid, the world building not only captures the physical aspects of the world but also the different tones of society within that world.
I'm getting ahead of myself a bit. Let's get to the amazon summary, "All aboard for an action-packed escapade from the internationally bestselling author of Airborne and the Silverwing trilogy.
The Boundless, the greatest train ever built, is on its maiden voyage across the country, and first-class passenger Will Everett is about to embark on the adventure of his life!
When Will ends up in possession of the key to a train car containing priceless treasures, he becomes the target of sinister figures from his past.
In order to survive, Will must join a traveling circus, enlisting the aid of Mr. Dorian, the ringmaster and leader of the troupe, and Maren, a girl his age who is an expert escape artist. With villains fast on their heels, can Will and Maren reach Will’s father and save The Boundless before someone winds up dead?" AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE
Honestly, I've never quite understood that more romantic and nostalgic culture that seem to surround trains. I've ridden on a train, it was pretty fun, but it's not my first choice for mode of transportation if it's an option. Or second, or third, or well ever. Riding on a train, to me, is chosen more for the journey of riding on a train rather than the destination that I'll reach.
With that in mind, I loved this book even though about 99% of the story took place on a train.
Will Everett is a shy artist; he carries around a sketchbook that he fills with whatever captures his eye. His father works in the railroad business and rose through the ranks under the powerful Mr. Van Horne who builds the Boundless; the greatest locomotive of the time. His father is chief engineer of the Boundless and Will is invited along for her maiden voyage.
There is a circus on board that is full of colorful cast of characters; most notably Mr. Dorian as the ringmaster and Maren who Will met three years prior and who also has his Sasquatch tooth.
...Sasquatch tooth? In this world, there are several creatures from myth who are very real and involved with the story. You'll have to read the book to learn more about them though.
So, on the first night that Will is on the Boundless with his father in their cabin, Will learns of the key that unlocks Mr. Van Horne's funeral car. Will knows his father has one and the guard of the car has the other.
The next day, the Boundless makes a stop in a city and Will wanders from the train to explore the city and to also see if he can find the girl who has his sasquatch tooth. He happens to wander too far and witnesses the murder of the guard, and finds the key before running for his life back to the boundless. He barely manages to catch the last car on the train and needs to journey through the long train to reach his father to let him know of the tragedy, and that some unsavory men are on board.
I'll stop there so I don't spoil anything about the book.
I really enjoyed Will's character development and seeing all the different people that the Boundless hosted on its journey. The action and suspense were very well timed and I was thrilled that there wasn't anything I could predict entirely in regards to the plot.
The book is truly a delightful adventure and I hope it continues to become a series.