Immediately on seeing the picture of Airman, I knew this wasn’t typical of what I read. I’m not really an adventure-type person, and this was definitely an adventure book. But despite that, I ended up enjoying this one a lot. It was like a movie in book form.
In essence, this is a modern retelling of the story of Icarus, only on a much grander scale. Icarus is even mentioned at one point.
I enjoyed a lot about this book. The writing was smart and pleasant. The pacing was excellent – not too fast, but never slow – and Colfer doesn’t underestimate his reader at all. At one point near the beginning, I thought he was going to, but it turns out the reader knows many secrets, even when the characters don’t. For the most part, the characters develop well, with the exception of the arch nemesis, Bonvilain (oh yes, the name is symbolic, as is Mr. Broekhart’s), who is the shadiest of shady and never changes a bit. The end wraps up neatly and exactly as one would expect a good adventure novel to end. But despite the patently obvious symbolism, the super-bad bad guys, and the predictable ending, the book doesn’t feel like a generic copy of every other adventure book (at least it didn’t to me). The ending may be caricatured, but it also feels natural, and made me cheer.
In the end, this wasn’t an earth-shattering book, but it was quite fun, and I’d read it again. It was a good break from heavy books. I’m glad for the exposure outside my normal tastes, too.