Pub Writes

About the publishing Industry, editorials, and reviews

The Boundless by Kenneth Oppel

Posted by Caitie F on April 18, 2014

Title: The Boundless17846771
Author: Kenneth Oppel
Hardcover: 336 pages
Pub Date: April 22, 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Rating: ++++

Summary from pub:

The Boundless, the greatest train ever built, is on its maiden voyage across the country, and first-class passenger Will Everett is about to embark on the adventure of his life!

When Will ends up in possession of the key to a train car containing priceless treasures, he becomes the target of sinister figures from his past.

In order to survive, Will must join a traveling circus, enlisting the aid of Mr. Dorian, the ringmaster and leader of the troupe, and Maren, a girl his age who is an expert escape artist. With villains fast on their heels, can Will and Maren reach Will’s father and save The Boundless before someone winds up dead


It seems that Simon & Schuster for Young Readers also saw that we need more thrillers for middle grade readers, which is really exciting. I love it when a publisher sees an opening and finds truly wonderful books. This thriller also adds a little fantasy with mythical creatures that are awesome.

This book is a step above others because it also shows a young man from being poor to being more wealthy. The majority of the book takes place on a train after the family has become wealthy. It really works because he goes from the comfort of first class all the way to the very back, where people are getting taken advantage of when they already have so little. Since he has been in that situation, it shows compassionate and realistic look at the wealth disparity that was present in this time period and also goes on today. Of course, that wasn’t the point of the book, it is just something that Oppel showed incredibly well.

The point of this book is for Will to get to his father before everyone on the train dies. Those are pretty high stakes and the action in the book really makes it work. I feared for Will’s life several times and was eager to see how he would get out of the dangerous situations. Yet at the same time, you feel a little sorry for the bad characters because they have been worked hard all their lives for very little. Are there actions an appropriate response? Not really, but you can see why they are doing it, which always makes for a better villain.

My only issue with it was that there were a couple of slow parts that I had to push through and I had to suspend some disbelief a couple times. The train was supposed to be really long, but it didn’t seem to take Will enough time to get a great distance at times. It wasn’t enough to not recommend this book and it actually gets a 4.5 out of 5.

This is a fun and smart thriller appropriate for all ages of middle grade readers. I also think young adult readers would really enjoy this book too!



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