Review: AIRMAN by Eoin Colfer

Eoin Colfer
412 pages
Publisher: Hyperion
Release Date: January 2nd 2008
Source: Borrowed from Library
Rating: LOVED

Conor Broekhart was born to fly. In fact, legend has it that he was born flying in a hot air balloon at the world’s fair.

In the 1890’s Conor and his family live on the sovereign Saltee Islands, off the Irish coast. Conor spends his days studying the science of flight with his tutor and exploring the castle with the king’s daughter, Princess Isabella.

But the boy’s idyllic life changes forever the day he discovers a conspiracy to overthrow the king. When Conor tries to expose the plot, he is branded a traitor and thrown into jail on the prison island of Little Saltee. There, he has to fight for his life as he and the other prisoners are forced to mine for diamonds in inhumane conditions.

There is only one way to escape Little Saltee, and that is to fly. So he passes the solitary months by scratching drawings of flying machines into the prison walls. The months turn into years, but eventually the day comes when Conor must find the courage to trust his revolutionary designs and take to the skies.

Conor Broekhart was born to fly, actually, he was born flying in a basket of a parachute over Paris. When he saves the princess (his best friend) from a burning building with an instant parachute, the ever-modernizing King hires a tutor, the great scholar Victor Vigny, to teach young Conor. Conor grows up happily – learning fencing, fighting, and studying flight.

When Marshall Bonvilian heads a conspiracy that gets Conor’s tutor and the king killed, Conor gets partially blamed for both murders. His parents, nor the princess, help him or even try to. And as punishment, he is sent to work day and night in the dark and dangerous diamond mines in Little Saltee, where he is beaten up everyday by one of Bonvilian’s men.

At first Conor gives up all hope of leaving the mines and clearing his name, but with the help of an American friend, and his love for flying, Conor is determined to make things right with a flying contraption – before its too late.

I love Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl series, so I didn’t hesitate to pick up Airman (also by him). The cover was attractive as well, and after the first few pages, I was hooked. And unlike supernatural fiction, readers can relate to Conor and his love for the sky. Airman will be enjoyed science-loving teens and others alike.

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Hafsah Faizal is a YA author, designer, and blogger. Her designs have graced the sites of New York Times bestselling authors, bloggers, and more. She resides in Texas, with her family.

September 11, 2010