The Boundless by Kenneth Oppel

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?

boundless

I really enjoyed Oppel`s This Dark Endeavor, and heard many positive reviews about The Boundless when it was released in 2014.  It`s a suspenseful middle grade read, featuring avalanches, sasquatches, murders and more!

The majority of the story takes place on a Titanic-inspired train on a journey across Canada, Halifax to Victoria.  I enjoyed how it highlights Canada; from the trans-continental railroad, to the Mountie on board. Oppel didn`t shy away from portraying some of the darker aspects of Canada`s history, including the treatment of aboriginal people.  However, it wasn’t all historical; he also included a sasquatch and a muskeg hag.

Since it is a middle grade book, some may have concern for the age appropriateness of swear words (feck and jaysus), and the violence (a sasquatch tears off a man’s head and puts it on a spike).   Besides this, I think the book has wide appeal for both boys and girls.  So, hop on board The Boundless for a fast paced, wild Canadian, fantasy adventure!

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