Archive | December 2012

Fiction Thoughts – Airborn

by Jamie Downes


Author – Kenneth Oppel

Genre – Young Adult, Sci-fi/Fantasy, Alternate History

Published – 2004

Length – 433 Pages

Airborn is about adventure; about having belief in the existence of things that have not yet been placed before our eyes; about the wonderment provided by a world less rigid and all knowing. I could argue at length about why such grand tales are so imperative to the development of young adults; about the ridiculous notion that such novels are now termed ‘middle-grade’ and thus seemingly not considered mature enough for the gritty abrasiveness of modern teenage life. Such issues however, are for another time and another place. Airborn itself is a very good example of the classic adventure tale, and while some of the action sequences do drag towards the end, Kenneth Oppel’s scene-setting is quite exquisite. I want to live in the world he has created; I want to take a trip on the luxury airship that his novel is built around, and on reflection, perhaps most importantly, Airborn makes me want to believe in the fantastical things that could be a part of our own reality. Even as a mid-twenty-something, how is that not a wholly invaluable reading experience?


Fiction Thoughts – Pirate Cinema

by Jamie Downes


Author – Cory Doctorow

Genre – Young Adult, Dystopia

Published – 2012

Length – 384 Pages

Pirate Cinema’s biggest failing is a jarring juxtaposition between the contemporary young-adult novel that it would appear to favour, and the youthful innocence preferred by classic and middle-grade literature. The grimy, modern reality of a daring teenage life can be front-and-centre one moment, smoking weed and hiding from the police, but the next it’s sitting down at a table piled high with every delicious food you care to mention, all scavenged from rubbish skips yet cooked to mouth-watering perfection with a side order of jolliness. It’s an enjoyable read nonetheless, but one can’t help but feel that a greater commitment to either the realistic, or the fantastical portrayal of a homeless teenage life in London, would have made for a more consistently enticing read than Pirate Cinema’s awkward combination of the two.