Author: Eoin Colfer
Publisher: Puffin Books (2008)
Pages: 424 pages
First Published: 2007
Literary Awards: Carnegie Medal Nominee (2009)
In the 1890s 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 deadly conspiracy against the king. When Conor tries to intervene, 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 prosoners are forced to mine for diamonds in inhumane conditions.
There is only one way to escape Little Saltee, and that is to fly. So Conor passes the solitary months by scratching drawings of flying machines on 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 air.
I knew I loooove Eoin Colfer's writting since the first time I laid my eyes on Artemis Fowl years ago, so when I saw this novel on some discount racks in one of the bookstore, I grabed it without thinking much... then it went to my stacks... and burrrrieeed... until being digged up and resurrected by my nephew as randomly picked in this year Lucky No.15 Challenge.
So, actually... I really-really like this novel, but eventhough I do, I can't passed the lame twist and lies which this story was built and how it climax and ended.
The story was about Connor Broekhart, a young smart and brave lad, from Great Saltee, some island nation in Irish land. His father was a captain of the King Nicholas's guard and his mother was scientist. He befriended with Princess Isabella, and both was teached by a French visionary tutor named Victor Vigny. Vigny was personal friend of King Nicholas, and both dreamt of making a flying machine that worked and flew at will.
Then, enter the villain guy... the Marshall Lord Hugo Bonvilain. He wanted to overthroned the King, and what way easier to do it but to kill him and made Vigny a French spy. Young Connor incidently witness this scheme, so he had to be removed as well.
This is when I felt the basic of the story fell apart. How... please someone tell me... HOW could Capt. Broekhart, a most trusted and experienced soldier of the King and also a friend of Victor Vigny, not to mentioned a father that his only son involved in this coup d'etat, could be so foolishly fell into Bonvillain's words. Cannot he think at allllll??? Not even a slightly doubt? Blindly followed the devil without even wanted to conduct his own investigation of such great event? Puhliiisss....
Buuut..., I still hoped that this was some kind of insane twist, maybe Capt. Broekhart had something in his mind, something for the greater good, so I waited and waited and waited... only to be disapointed all over again. The climax scene was lame and boooòóooring. Also too short compared to all of adventures that were going on.
Other than that, Isabella, Catherine and Declan characters do not deep enough to be believeable, to be humanise. I know this story was told from Connor POV, but i think the characters in the palace should be built strong enough to counter Connor's. On the other hand, Linus Wynter character was stealing the scenes. I loved his kind sarcastic lines and his unweavering trust to Connor.
So, all that being said, Connor parts of the stories were all good, I love him from the moment of his birth on the sky, his learning days with Victor Vigny (and his mis-behaved with Isabella) to his 'learning days' in Little Saltee to the broken-hearted airman days. His prison breaks was the best moment of them all, even felt much grandeur than Edmond Dantes' from Château d'If.
By and by, I loveeee the Connor 'Airman' Broekhart story *five full stars there*, I love this steampunk description and engines, but the premises are too annoying to be dismissed. Sorry... 3 stars it is.