Author: Kenneth Oppel
What it's about: Matt Cruse and Kate de Vries have adventures... IN SPACE! They get selected to be part of the first voyage into space. However, space travel is like nothing they've done before, and the journey is fraught with risk. Factor into that some personal drama in that Kate's parents are more concerned than ever with getting her married off, and you've got one monumental trip.
What I thought: So. I was super-duper excited when this book came in. I'd preordered it and everything. And I blazed through it in under eight hours, while having to contend with two classes and a midterm, no less, so I think that tells you a little about how gripping it was.
So I thought it was interesting that there was much less of a focus on flight in this book than in the previous two. Not a bad thing, of course. I liked how there was a real sense of fragility for the trip, which gave it more realism and suspense. The space-dwelling life forms didn't really strain my disbelief, which I was glad about. I thought that the characterization was quite good. One complaint that I'd read others having with the previous two books was that Matt was always up against some older alpha male type he had to prove himself to. Shepherd was the closest thing to this role, but the way the two interacted worked for me. It was good to see Captain Walken again, too. I really liked the whole makeup of the crew for the Starclimber. The group was varied, which made for some really great interaction. Also of interest to me was how the relationship between Matt and Kate. Things get more serious between the two, and while Matt has always had a jealous streak that sometimes made me want to facepalm, in this book you could see where he was coming from. Kate's selfish streak, more charming than anything in previous books, becomes more of a real concern. She's an interesting character. Reminds me of Suzumiya Haruhi in how she acts sometimes. Anyway, the romantic drama plays out well. I also like that we were introduced to Matt and Kate's families and the small inclusion of the sufrage subplot.
Overall: A real wow of a sequel. Great, great book. Already can't wait to reread it.