I'm trying to find the right words to describe my awe while reading this book... Planesrunner has been on my bookshelf for a long time, I just saw few very good reviews from the blogs I trust and bought it. If not for my book buying ban, it would have stayed gathering dust there for much much longer...
The book starts with Everett Singh, a teenage son of a quantum physicist seeing his dad being kidnapped on the streets of London. Police treating the case as of missing person and don't believe that Everett is telling the truth. Desperate boy receives a strange file from his dad's email account and from then on his life is never the same again.
Apparently, his father has been working on mapping parallel universes and a power group following his research snatched him to work only for them not for the good of all. Now it's up to his very talented son to jump through the gates and save everyone.
This book starts as sci-fi, incredibly fascinating, with all the theories of parallel worlds and human beings just like you inhabiting them, but it quickly evolves into an electropunk as Everett himself calls it when he jumps to the world in which he thinks his father is held hostage.
The London he sees runs on electricity and is full of magnificent airships. It's very colourful, reminds you of late Victorian era, full of spicy new language that Airish (airship sailors?) use to communicate and strange new customs.
Very quickly Everett gets taken under care of a young, bold teenage air pilot, Sen, the daughter of Anastasia Sixsmyth, the captain of Everness and starts plotting how to get his father back with the help of the friends he is acquiring.
The world-building is incredibly gorgeous (the closest comparison that comes to mind is Iron Seas series by Meljean Brook), the smells, the clothes, the food, the unique nanotechnology, the language, the mannerisms, the prejudice against Airish, - it's all thought through.
Then there is Everett, fabulous Punjabi teen, science geek, footballer, Doctor Who aficionado and a talented chef. His character is written with much love, and really comes to life.
I can say the same about courageous Sen. The women in this book are represented just as equally as men. Sen, who knows all the darkest alleys around Hackney Port and bribes her way out of trouble flashing her unique Tarot cards at people.
Of course there is a villainess with too much make up on, an evil plot of world(s) domination, an airships duel and lots of courage, gaiety and heartbreak. According to Poloni, Airish language, this book is fantabulosa! As in fabulous.