- Hardcover: 158 pages
- Publisher: Harperteen (4 September 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780062860729
- ISBN-13: 978-0062860729
- ASIN: 0062860720
- Product Dimensions: 17 x 1.7 x 24.5 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 712 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
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And the Ocean Was Our Sky Hardcover – 4 Sep 2018
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"In his latest, the critically acclaimed and wildly divergent Ness, never one for convention, takes the story of Moby-Dick, pares it down to its basic parts, and quite literally inverts it... Ness' writing--spare, thought provoking, and already dramatic--is utterly enhanced by Cai's breathtaking artwork." --Booklist (starred review)
"An excellent, stirring counterpoint to the original text, rife with questions about the inexorable nature of belief and violence."--School Library Journal (starred review)
"The whale epic, particularly Bathsheba's discussions with the human hostage, mounts an exploration of inherited prejudices, violence justified, and the far-reaching consequences of war."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Fans moved by the author's A Monster Calls will be especially gratified to see Ness revisit this type of mythic, philosophical storytelling artfully complemented by powerful illustrations."--Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review)
"Bathsheba's story has heft, even though Ness's book is significantly shorter than Melville's... Rovina Cai's illustrations are detailed and dream-like, her gray-scale with splashes of color depictions of the fathomless world an additional source of intensity in this already fierce tale."--Shelf Awareness (starred review)
About the Author
Patrick Ness is the author of ten novels, including his New York Times bestselling The Rest of Us Just Live Here, the Chaos Walking trilogy, More Than This, A Monster Calls, which was made into a major motion picture with a screenplay adaptation by Patrick himself, Release, and And The Ocean Was Our Sky. Born in Virginia, Patrick lives in London. www.patrickness.com
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As Bathsheba grew she becomes the third Apprentice to Captain Alexandra, the most prolific hunter in the sea. Captain Alexandra and her apprentices us echolocation to determine whereabouts of an approaching entity.
As they get closer they realize the entity is a wrecked ship and one man, Demetrius is left alive. It is obvious that this is the work of Toby Wick, an evil mythological entity that hunts whales.
At the beginning of the book it doesn't explicitly say that this POV is from the whales's perspective so it gives you an opportunity to see our main crew as very human in nature. Bathsheba's grandmother speaking to her of prophecy for example, or them riding around in a giant ship.
Bathsheba and her counterparts are taught to hunt the humans who time and time again maliciously slay whale kind. Particularly, they are hunting for the legendary Toby Wick, who is the most renowned killer of whale kind. Bathsheba is a non-believer, who thinks Toby Wick is the stuff of myth.
The whales have their own kind of religion in this that promotes them having a "pure hunt" as if it is a competition in a holier than thou mentality. It was interesting to see a culture that emerges from their legends where the ultimate goal is the defeat Toby Wick.
This was a quick read on a fantastical scale and at times some of the descriptions were a bit so fantastical they were hard to imagine. Thankfully, at a few of the points in the story the illustrations help assist in that imagery.
I did enjoy this mainly for its deep philosophical aspects and the illustrations, some of the visuals didn't fully display the profound scales this was operating on that could have been made up for in verbal description. I did really enjoy reading this and recommend it for fans of classics with a twist.
In addition, this book is needlessly gruesome. I am not a young adult, but I found parts of it very hard and disturbing to read. The premise in this "inversion" ("parody")of Moby Dick, which is most recognizable in the name of the "human" antagonist, "Toby Wick". I actually acknowledge that at first this link escaped me, mainly because I did not see any resemblance to Moby Dick, except in the concept of vengeful whales, an Idea I thought had worn out its welcome with the movie "Orca", also known as "Mindless in the Water."
To me this book was a serious disappointment at several levels, however I recognize that to those of you to whom whales are magical creatures, this book might seem deep and sublime. Just be careful about letting impressionable teenagers read it. It probably should come witha sensitivity alert.
But after years spent working her way up to Third Apprentice on the fiercest crew in the sea and sailing down toward the air-filled Abyss to hunt men, Bathsheba has begun to question the raw hatred that drives hunters in their constant war.
Bathsheba’s weary narrative is heavy with foreshadow and circumspection as she relates the events that set her crew on a fateful hunt for the man Toby Wick--the devil known to both whale and man for his terrible deeds and his fierce white ship in And the Ocean Was Our Sky (2018) by Patrick Ness, illustrated by Rovina Cai.
If you haven't guessed yet Ness's latest standalone novel is a very loose retelling of Herman Melville's classic Moby-Dick where harpoon-wielding whales are hunters every bit as fierce as men themselves.
Ness channels Melville's original language well and uses the structure of Moby-Dick as a framework for this fast-paced and streamlined retelling filled with philosophical meditations and cautions against both the violence of war and the power of prophecy--especially self-fulfilling ones. Although Bathsheba's warnings often lack subtlety they remain powerful and timely.
Cai's accompanying illustrations interspersed throughout the book bring the depths of the ocean to life with jarring, full color artwork that calls back to the haunting setting and anguished tone of the narrative.
And the Ocean Was Our Sky is a stirring counterpoint to the original text, rife with questions about the inexorable nature of belief and violence.