The Night Ship: Book summary and reviews of The Night Ship by Jess Kidd

The Night Ship

A Novel

by Jess Kidd

The Night Ship by Jess Kidd X
The Night Ship by Jess Kidd
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About this book

Book Summary

Based on a real-life event, an epic historical novel from the award-winning author of Things in Jars that illuminates the lives of two characters: a girl shipwrecked on an island off Western Australia and, three hundred years later, a boy finding a home with his grandfather on the very same island.

1629: A newly orphaned young girl named Mayken is bound for the Dutch East Indies on the Batavia, one of the greatest ships of the Dutch Golden Age. Curious and mischievous, Mayken spends the long journey going on misadventures above and below the deck, searching for a mythical monster. But the true monsters might be closer than she thinks.

1989: A lonely boy named Gil is sent to live off the coast of Western Australia among the seasonal fishing community where his late mother once resided. There, on the tiny reef-shrouded island, he discovers the story of an infamous shipwreck…​

With her trademark "thrilling, mysterious, twisted, but more than anything, beautifully written" (Graham Norton, New York Times bestselling author) storytelling, Jess Kidd weaves a unputdownable and charming tale of friendship and sacrifice, brutality and forgiveness.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"The lives of two 9-year-olds—one in 1628 and the other in 1989—intersect across time in this moving examination of the real-life wreck of the Batavia...Her prose has an arresting simplicity that evokes fairy tales...An ambitious, melancholy work of historical fiction that offers two wondrous young protagonists for the price of one." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"[I]ntriguing...Kidd effortlessly navigates between the two time periods, highlighting the similarities between Mayken's and Gil's lives and the increasing dangers they face. Readers will be swept up in this fast-paced narrative." - Publishers Weekly

"Kidd's latest weaves a spell around the reader, transporting them across centuries, between a doomed ship and a dying island. The result is a true work of magic, and one that will haunt me for years." - V.E. Schwab, international bestselling author of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

This information about The Night Ship was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

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BuffaloGirlKS

Spectacular Read
In 1628, 9-year-old motherless Mayken is on ship Batavia sailing from Holland to the Dutch East Indies and her wealthy merchant father. Inquisitive and bright, Mayken explores the ship, learns about the sailing life, makes friends among the different classes of passengers, and avoids those with malice for her and others. Dressing as a cabin boy, she searches the bowels of the ship for the monster the sailors say lives there. In 1989, 9-year-old motherless Gil arrives to live with his grandfather on desolate Beacon Island off the coast of Western Australia, where the Batavia shipwrecked on its maiden voyage 150 plus years earlier.

Alternating chapters between each child's experiences, the story propels through Mayken's voyage and Gil's acclimation to the island. While Mayken's voyage focuses on finding the monster and dealing with her nursemaid's illness, Gil's acclimation is complicated by a scientific excavation of the shipwreck, the rumor that a ghost roams the island, and a feud between Gil's grandfather and another fisherman.

Kidd's writing is gorgeous; I was repeatedly stopping and writing down a phrase or paragraph that I wanted to save. She moves seamlessly between the children's experiences and heighten the reader's tension for each until the book comes to its dramatic conclusion. The Night Ship is a spectacular read.

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Author Information

Jess Kidd

Jess Kidd is the award-winning author of The Night Ship, Himself, Mr. Flood's Last Resort, and Things in Jars.

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