By Eoin Colfer
Hyperion, 2008. 11 hrs, 22 mins. Teen fiction
Conor Broekhart was born to fly. In fact, he was born flying--in a hot air balloon over Paris. Returning home to the Saltee Islands off the Irish coast, Conor quickly becomes friends with Princess Isabella, despite her daily, or hourly, or even minutely, threats to have him hanged. He's even given the opportunity to study with Isabella's tutor, a Frenchman named Victor Vigny, who shares Conor's interest in flying. Both are determined that they will fly someday; however, their plan is cut short when the evil Hugo Bonvilain, Marshall of the Saltee Islands, puts into effect his plan to kill the king. Conor discovers his treachery, but Bonvilain catches him, and after convincing Conor's parents that Conor died with the king, sends Conor to Little Saltee where he works in the prison mines, gathering diamonds that make the corrupt Bonvilain rich. Feeling forsaken by his family and his love (Isabella), Conor is determined to forget his former life and survive the wretched conditions of the prison long enough to escape.
With flying, corruption, evil schemes, and a good villain (meaning, a bad villain that you can hate as much as Conor hates him) this book is a good pick for most teen guys, as well as quite a few teen girls. John Keating, as always, does a good narration, making this a good choice for those looking for a good audiobook as well.
3.5 stars. Clean read, other than some very, very slight usage of "d***" and "h***" (although, in some cases, it was comparing prison to the real place, so I'm not even sure if that counts as cursing).