Eoin Colfer is made of awesome. He is one of those authors whose work you never have to doubt. When I see one of his books with its shiny new cover begging me to pick it up and turn its lovely pages, I never think, “Oh, I hope this won’t be one of those books that looks fantastic and is just… not.” Which makes me happy because books with shiny covers disappoint me all too often. *sighs and rambles for a while about how books with awesome covers should, in themselves, be awesome*
But getting back to Airman. Our hero, Conor Broekhart, has been (literally) flying since birth. He was born on a hot air balloon, and has been obsessed with aircrafts of all sorts since. He is a resourceful and clever youngling (as shown when he rescues Princess Isabella from the king’s tower… which they may have set ablaze in the first place…) and is assigned a tutor, Victor, under whom he learns about aircraft, fencing, and other studies necessary to an illustrious youth. Okay, maybe not necessary but certainly helpful.
However, Conor’s world falls apart when he witnesses the assassination of King Nicholas, by the devious scoundrel, Bonvilain. Victor and Conor are blamed for the king’s death. Victor is shot by Bonvilain and Conor is sent to Little Saltee, the island prison. Now, Conor has to learn to survive the daily beatings, poor conditions, lack of air and sunlight, etc. Oh, and he needs to find a way to escape, too. What kind of story would it be if our protagonist rotted away in a cold, dank cell? How is he going to escape? Well, maybe, just maybe, looking at the title of the novel would give you a hint ;).
Eoin Colfer never disappoints. His characters were solid and the adventure was exciting. The two year time skip was a necessary evil (I mean, who wants to hear about two years in prison?) and very appropriately placed. I actually liked this book better than the newest Artemis Fowl, to tell you the truth. 6 out of 7 balloons full of fireworks for this one [insert explode-y noises and such here].