Starclimber, by Kenneth Oppel, is the third Matt Cruze novel (following Airborn and Skybreaker). Matt has taken a summer job working on the Celestial Tower in Paris – a huge structure designed to reach up into space. When the opportunity arises to train for a Canadian expedition into space, Matt eagerly signs up. It helps that Kate De Vries has also been picked for the ride.
Matt must make it through grueling training, where there is stiff competition to make it on the crew of the Starclimber.
Then, when Matt somewhat unexpectedly is made a part of the Starclimber’s crew, he must navigate both the dangers of being in love with Kate de Vries (after she has suddenly announced her engagement to someone else) and the dangers of space, including some interested and unforeseen company in it’s inky black depths.
I didn’t find this third book as compelling as the first two. Airborn in particular was a fantastic adventure story. Starclimber is still an adventure, but there is more emphasis on the relationship between Matt and Kate, with less emphasis on the adventure. There are still some quirky characters, but there is no defined foe, other than the dangers of space. As a Canadian, I appreciated that Canada was front and center in the space race – ahh fiction.
It’s worth reading to end up the series, but I will only put it at 3/5.