54 pages 1 hour read

Kenneth Oppel


Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 2004

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Character Analysis

Matt Cruse

Matt Cruse is the narrator and protagonist of Airborn. At age 15, Matt has served as a cabin boy on the airship Aurora for three years, a role took on following his father’s death. Matt’s father fell to his death from the Aurora, where he also served, and living on the airship makes Matt feel closer to his lost parent. Matt loves airships and is fascinated by their inner workings, routinely observing events on the ship even after his mandated duties have ended. He aspires to one day be an airship captain and works whenever he can be helpful to the crew.

Matt, despite being pragmatic and practical, finds himself drawn into the schemes of first-class passenger Kate de Vries, for whom he holds a romantic interest. Matt grows frustrated with Kate’s inability to see how social class makes him less able to flaunt rules than she is but ultimately ends up following her on her adventures. Despite these frustrations, Matt is intensely loyal and does not consider leaving Kate behind, even when he grows angry with her. Kate speaks to the lover of adventure and storytelling in Matt, helping him pursue the curiosity his father’s stories awoke in him as a child.