The Boundless - Kenneth Oppel

In The Boundless, you'll be a witness to murder, mayhem, sasquatch fury, and tightrope walking awesomeness, all within the bounds of a train, ironically named the Boundless. Oppel's narrative follows William Everett, a young man of few means, whose father is working on finishing the railroad across the continent. When an avalanche comes crashing down on a celebratory gathering as the last, gold spike is being hammered into place, William's father saves the founder of the railway from certain death. When the founder eventually passes away, William's father is named successor. During the maiden journey of the Boundless, a group of thugs hatch a scheme to rob the train of some very valuable merchandise, and William becomes caught in the crosshairs.

Oppel manages to cover issues of race, class, adversity, history, and many other themes, without ever succumbing to an overly didactic writing style, and the pacing will hold the attention of adults and young readers alike. I remember listening to Oppel speak at an event in Vancouver a few years ago, during which he talked about wanting to write a story set on a really long train (in this case over 900 cars in length!), and I'm so glad to see that he brought the story to life.

Highly Recommended

(Note: This Review is from an Advanced Reading Copy - Out April 22, 2014)


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