Book Reviews, YA Book Club for Writers

Book Club Review: The Boundless by Kenneth Oppel


20190201_141759Will Everett has always wished for an adventure. Little does he know that his adventure starts the moment he boards the Boundless. There is a murder, and now Will must protect a key that can unlock the train’s hidden treasures. Villians are fast on his heels and strange creatures are lurking outside the windows as the Boundless hurtles across the country. Together with Maren, a gifted escape artist, and Mr. Dorian, a circus ringmaster with amazing abilities, Will must save the Boundless before someone else winds up dead.

His adventure may have begun without him knowing . . . but how it ends is up to Will.

Book Club Discussion Highlights

steam-train-512508_1920Overall members agreed that The Boundless was a well written story.

Kenneth Oppel combined fantastical elements into a story set in Canadian history in 1888. Many of the characters in the novel were real people at that time. We were all curious to do a bit more research into some of  the character’s names to see what their real stories were. We believe Oppel seamlessly included more interesting historical points than we even realize.

fog-1984057_1920Fantastic creatures such as the Sasquatch really exist in this world. There are other elements as well, but I don’t want to give too much away. All I will add is that I LOVED the scene with the hag. The world-building is believable.

The characters were all strong characters and well written. Each memorable with an individual voice.

train-19640_1280Showcasing the exceptional size of the train was well done, by having Will move from his station in first class and end up at the very back of the 7 km long train. The story then launches into his journey through the Boundless, back to the engine where his father is, all while on the run from a murderer and meeting weird and wonderful circus folk.

We agreed that the ending surprised us and we questioned the logic of it. None of us would have ended the story in that way. If you have read The Boundless, comment what you thought of Will’s response to Maren’s question. Of course I don’t want to give anything away, so beware of spoiler alerts if there are comments below.

tunnel-957963_1920We couldn’t precisely determine if this story was a middle grade or young adult novel. The main character Will was 12 in the first chapter and then the story picks up three years later in chapter two, making Will fifteen years old for the majority of the story. Typically young people “read up,” meaning that they read about characters older than themselves. Taking that into consideration the story would be most likely older middle grade. The writing would be more suited to a higher level middle grade reader, but would be enjoyed by a young adult audience as well. So take that for what it is…

We do recommend this book.

This is an unsolicited review, I purchased this book from a local bookstore.


  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTrophy (March 10 2015)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1443410274

2 thoughts on “Book Club Review: The Boundless by Kenneth Oppel”

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