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Whale of a Story: Review of And the Ocean Was Our Sky by Patrick Ness

September 4, 2018

In a reference to Herman Melville’s classic, Moby Dick, ‘Call me Bathsheba’ is the first line of And the Ocean Was Our Sky. This new offering from best-selling author, Patrick Ness, takes the Melville story and turns it on its head, transporting you to another world deep below the ocean.

Not only is this mythic tale visually stunning, with illustrations from Rovina Cai but it’s a story that will have readers transported to the depths of the ocean, in an exploration of human nature through the story of Bathsheba the whale.

Bathsheba is a hunter, she didn’t want to be a hunter, but it is her destiny. Third apprentice in a pod led by the legendary and fierce, Captain Alexandra, she is about to undertake the most important hunt of her life.

‘For I, a lowly but eager Third Apprentice was about to begin the final hunt that ever was. The hunt for a legend, a myth, a devil. Pray for our souls. Because this is the story of how we found him.’

When the pod come across a wrecked ship, they stumble upon a human hand sticking out of the hull. On closer inspection he is grasping a gold disc covered with symbols that Captain Alexandra believes is a sign, a prophecy that they are being led towards a show down with the infamous Toby Wick.

 And the Ocean Was Our Sky follows the hunt for Toby Wick and the feelings that Bathsheba struggles with along the way, loving the hunt but hating the death, the romance of war that doesn’t acknowledge the trauma.

2019 marks the 200thanniversary of Herman Melville’s birth so it’s timely that Patrick Ness is introducing the story to a new generation of readers.

Patrick Ness has won the Carnegie Medal twice, as well as every major prize in children’s fiction and with that in mind, his books should be part of every 10 + readers home library. Parents will also thoroughly enjoy reading the book and poring over the breathtaking illustrations, by award winning Rovina Cai – apparently her studio is situated in a nineteenth century convent which just adds to the appeal!

Purchase a copy of And the Ocean Was Our Sky | Read an extract | Read an Q & A with illustrator Rovina Cai

Patrick Ness is the award-winning and bestselling author of the Chaos Walking trilogy, A Monster CallsMore Than This, The Rest of Us Just Live Here and Release. John Green has described him as “an insanely beautiful writer.” He has won every major prize in children’s fiction, including the Carnegie Medal twice. He has written the screenplay for the film of A Monster Calls and the BBC Doctor Who spin-off, Class. The first Chaos Walking film is slated for release in 2019. He lives in London.

Rovina Cai creates illustrations that evoke a sense of intrigue and she is often inspired by the past. From myths and fairy-tales to gothic novels, she loves stories that bring a little bit of magic and wonder to the present day. She was awarded the 2018 CBCA Crichton Award for Best New Illustrator. Rovina lives in Melbourne, Australia.



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