Author: Kenneth Oppel
Will Everett has the privilege to be present when the last spike is driven to connect the railway crossing the entire continent. Only a few years later, he finds himself aboard The Boundless, the largest train ever imagined. What’s more, his father’s fortune has turned greatly, transforming him from a lowly laborer to chief engineer. Shortly after they board the train, Mr. Everett reveals that he foresees Will using his drawing talents masterfully in the railway industry, creating a stable, comfortable future for himself. But what of Will’s own dream to go to art school? And for that matter, what of the deeper dreams and buried memories of the girl he met the day the last spike was driven? Little could they know that their decisions will be highly influenced by their journey aboard The Boundless, particularly when danger looms and its near impossibly to know who to trust.
Kenneth Oppel is a huge favorite in my family, and to myself–particularly his Airborn trilogy. I really enjoyed The Boundless, especially since it reminds me a great deal in both feel and setting of those particular stories. There is a somewhat steampunk feel to the setting, and I love it! The story flows well, with a nice blend of predictability and surprise–it’s very character driven, which is great. I absolutely love the characters, especially Maren. (I think Oppel has a knack for strong, independent, capable, and wonderful female characters.) The blend of fantasy, science, and slight-of-hand seems to work really well in this setting, adding a fresh flavor. On a grammatical note, the entirety of the story is written in present tense–which normally throws my reading all out of whack, but actually works in this case. Finally, I love the way he puts so much into the first chapter; truly, I think seeds for all the major plot elements are planted there. Check out all of Oppel’s books, and particularly The Boundless!