This week for Teen Book Talk, our reviewer shares his take on Eoin Colfer’s book, Airman. Colfer is well known for his Artemis Fowl series.

Teen reviewers select which titles and movies they’d like to review, and opinions are their own. **Teens use a scale of 1-5 stars, with one star being poor and five stars being excellent, for their reviews**

Justin L., Teen Reviewer

airmanBook Title: Airman

Author: Eoin Colfer

Book Format: Book

Year of Publication: 2008

Appeals to: Young adults, teens, people who liked the Artemis Fowl series

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Airman , by Eoin Colfer, is set in the late nineteenth century on the Saltee Islands off the coast of Ireland. The story begins in a hot air balloon, a peaceful ride until bullets begin ripping through the cloth balloon. The balloon begins to fall, and only with the masterful steering of the Frenchman Victor Vigny do the passengers survive. The shock, however, causes Catherine Broekhart to give birth prematurely, and her son Conor Broekhart is born in the sky as the balloon falls. Conor is taught by Victor in math, language, fencing, literature, and most importantly to them both, the science of aviation. Conor and Victor are bound together with their love of flying, and together they dream of building a flying machine heavier than air, but still able to soar through the sky. The dream ends, however, when Marshall Bonvilain murders King Duncan and Victor, and blames the murders on Conor. Conor is sent to Little Saltee, a prison mine where the prisoners mine for diamonds underwater. With the death of King Duncan, all prison reforms stop, and the treatment of the prisoners gets much worse. There is no way to escape the island by land (it’s an island) or by sea (the currents are treacherous), so Conor must find a way to escape the island by air and prove his innocence.

What I liked about this book is the unpredictable plotline, and also the dry humor that Colfer incorporates into the story. I liked how the setting of the story is in the Saltee Islands, a very unique setting for any story (I didn’t even know these islands existed and had to look them up online just to confirm their existence). The ingenuity found in this book relating to the topic of aviation I liked as well.

What I didn’t like about this book was that it failed to attract me like the Artemis Fowl books had attracted me before. While parts of this book were intriguing, the book as a whole did not do a very good job in absorbing me, particularly in the several chapters directly after the beginning. While the rest of the book was pretty good, these middle chapters were not, in my opinion, good enough to keep the reader reading to the good parts coming after (which would make the later parts and the end pointless if the reader stopped reading the book altogether in the middle). It should be noted though that my point of view may be slightly biased because of my higher expectations from this author after reading the Artemis Fowl series (the last book I read directly before reading this one), but this book was still pretty good. Similar titles that are a good read are the Artemis Fowl books, also by Colfer.