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And the Ocean Was Our Sky
Cover of And the Ocean Was Our Sky
And the Ocean Was Our Sky
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From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Monster Calls comes a lyrical tale, one that asks harrowing questions about power, loyalty, obsession, and the monsters we make of others.With...
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Monster Calls comes a lyrical tale, one that asks harrowing questions about power, loyalty, obsession, and the monsters we make of others.With...
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  • From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Monster Calls comes a lyrical tale, one that asks harrowing questions about power, loyalty, obsession, and the monsters we make of others.

    With harpoons strapped to their backs, the proud whales of Bathsheba's pod live for the hunt, fighting in the ongoing war against the world of men. When they attack a ship bobbing on the surface of the Abyss, they expect to find easy prey. Instead, they find the trail of a myth, a monster, perhaps the devil himself...

    As their relentless Captain leads the chase, they embark on a final, vengeful hunt, one that will forever change the worlds of both whales and men.

    This remarkable work by Patrick Ness turns the familiar tale of Moby Dick upside down and tells a story all its own with epic triumph and devastating fate.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from August 6, 2018
    Like Melville’s Moby Dick, on which it is based, Ness’s profound tale is one of obsession and prophecy, with a twist—it’s told from the whale’s perspective. The narrative introduces readers to a flipped world in which a technologically advanced Cetacean society dominates the oceans. “Call me Bathsheba,” the whale narrator intones, recounting her pod’s ill-fated hunt for the mythical human killer of whales, Toby Wick (“Our devil. Our monster. Our myth”). Led by Captain Alexandra—the most storied of the captains, a harpoon buried in her head—Third Apprentice Bathsheba and the Alexandra’s other apprentices happen upon the wreck of a human ship. They find a single man alive, his hand protruding from the hull and clutching a disk (a message? a map?). Realizing they are on the trail of Toby Wick, the whales take the human hostage, then take to the hunt. In expansive illustrations by Cai (Tintinnula), rendered in inky washes and linework that mimics the ocean’s currents, the whales fly through the water, rendered above, not below, the air-filled “abyss” that humans inhabit. 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. Ages 13–up. Author’s agent: Michelle Kass, Michelle Kass Assoc.

  • AudioFile Magazine This twist on the story of Moby-Dick is told from the viewpoint of a whale called Bathsheba. Narrator Cassandra Campbell voices Bathsheba with world-weariness as she recounts her long-past days as part of a whale pod searching for the fabled Toby Wick, a sailor who takes pleasure in massacring whales and humans alike. Like its inspiration, Ness's story tackles complex themes such as subjective morality and reality versus perception. Campbell's voice hovers in a low range befitting a whale. At times, it dips into vocal fry to express the emotional pain Bathsheba experiences throughout the story. Campbell does not differentiate voices for other characters, but this makes sense within the narrative: Bathsheba herself is telling this story as it happened many moons ago. S.P. � AudioFile 2018, Portland, Maine
  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from August 1, 2018

    Gr 7 Up-As a young whale, Bathsheba was all too eager to join Captain Alexandra's crew hunting men for vengeance and the raw materials used in everyday whale life. 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 foreshadowing and circumspection as she relates the events that set her crew on a fateful hunt for the man Toby Wick-the devil known to whale and man for his terrible deeds and his fierce white ship. 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 the violence of war and the power of prophecy-especially self-fulfilling ones. Cai's accompanying illustrations interspersed throughout 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. VERDICT An excellent, stirring counterpoint to the original text, rife with questions about the inexorable nature of belief and violence.-Emma Carbone, Brooklyn Public Library

    Copyright 2018 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from June 15, 2018
    An ancient war draws to a climax as a vengeful--and literally hard-nosed--sea captain seeks out a demonic killer.Ness (Release, 2017, etc.) mines Moby-Dick for incidents and motifs, pitting men against whales in a futuristic alternate world. Along with telling the tale from a young whale's point of view, he reverses the usual orientation of the universe so that cetacean crews go down to meet their enemies at the threshold where oceans give way to the deep, unknowable Abyss of air. In a conflict that has raged for millennia, both sides wield harpoons and store their savagely dismembered opponents in wooden hulls for transport. Having seen her own mother ambushed and torn to pieces, Bathsheba eagerly joins Capt. Alexandra, who bears the stub of a harpoon in her head, in ramming ships to splinters. But the reflective narrator catches profound glimpses of how destructive implacable mutual hatred can be to both body and soul as her captain's obsessive search for the white ship of the universally feared Toby Wick leads through massacres and chancy encounters to a melodramatic confrontation. The story, though far shorter than its progenitor, conjures similar allegorical weight by pairing the narrative's rolling cadences with powerful, shadowy illustrations featuring looming whales, an upside-down ship in full sail, and swarms of red-eyed sharks, all amid dense swirls of water and blood.Wrenching, dark, and powerful--no fluke, considering its model. (Fantasy. 13-15)

    COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from August 1, 2018
    Grades 9-12 *Starred Review* In his latest, the critically acclaimed and wildly divergent Ness (Release?, 2017), never one for convention, takes the story of Moby-Dick, pares it down to its basic parts, and quite literally inverts it. In Bathsheba's world, whales and men are at war. Bathsheba, a whale, destined for the hunt since birth, swims with a fierce pod of warriors, harpoons strapped to their back. Behind them, they tow their ship, filled with supplies; above them is the fathomless ocean; and below is the Abyss, where mankind sails. Bathsheba is an apprentice to the legendary Captain Alexandra, and the captain has a singular goal: to find and destroy whalekind's near-mythical enemy, a man named Toby Wick. But when the whales take a human hostage and Bathsheba becomes his keeper, she begins to question everything she knows about this never-ending war, the price of vengeance, the monsters she can fight, and the ones she may have made. Ness' writing?spare, thought-provoking, and already dramatic?is utterly enhanced by Cai's breathtaking artwork. Its ghostly palette of silvery-gray, occasionally touched by wisps of red blood or traces of orange fire, adds a haunting, ethereal element to an already gripping tale. This is message-driven, but it's a needed message, especially now; its surrealist elements pull it away from didacticism and unforgettably toward fable.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2018, American Library Association.)

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