Monday, April 28, 2014


It’s always nice to be able to refer back to a book when you’re writing a review. In this case, though, my ten-year-old daughter scrounged the book the second I was finished with it—she’d been eying it from the moment I cracked it open.

Fans of Kenneth Oppel’s Airborn series will not be disappointed by The Boundless. It’s action-packed and lots of fun, with unexpected characters and just a twist of the supernatural.

As in Airborn, we start with an exciting, James-Bond-style opening that establishes the main character and the world of the book. In this case, we’re in a world much like late Victorian-era Canada, attending the Last Spike ceremony celebrating the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway. With monsters, and an avalanche.

We then flash forward to the main character’s life a few years later. He and his family are on a new course as a result of the opening events. The father, whom we met as a railway labourer, has been promoted, and young Will finds himself with a first-class ticket on the maiden voyage of The Boundless, a train more than seven miles long.

The train, of course, is the main setting for this combination mystery and heist caper, which unfolds as the train pulls her way across the country. Will befriends a gutsy young tightrope walker and even joins a circus act for a while, as he works his way from the end of the “rolling city” back up to the start, where the final showdown must occur.

Oppel’s latest for middle-graders offers appealing characters, high-stakes adventure and lots of twists to keep readers guessing. You won’t regret joining The Boundless on her journey.

Erin Thomas writes (and reads!) books for kids and teens from her home in Whitby, Ontario. For more information, visit

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