I’ve been waiting years to read this book, having loved the first two parts of the series, Airborn and Skybreaker. Starclimber tells the story of the first space exploration – but you have to bear in mind that these books are set in an alternative past. Having said that, this third part is much more firmly grounded in time and place. There are references to Mrs Pankhurst and the Suffragettes, the King and Canada. The series always felt like it was set in the Edwardian period so I’m glad to be confirmed in that.
I raced through Starclimber and thought that it was both better and worse than its predecessors. I think the plot is more satisfactory; it’s tighter and has fewer moments of high drama. In the earlier books, there was sometimes a slightly imbalanced feel to the plot. This one develops well and believably in context. But I think that the changing relationship between Matt and Kate isn’t handled as well. It ebbs and flows and at times it disappears altogether.
But that’s a minor gripe. I thoroughly enjoyed Starclimber and it was well worth waiting for. I hope that there will be further books in the series – Kenneth Oppel is rapidly becoming my second favourite Canadian author.