Summary and book reviews of And The Ocean Was Our Sky by Patrick Ness

And The Ocean Was Our Sky

by Patrick Ness

And The Ocean Was Our Sky by Patrick Ness X
And The Ocean Was Our Sky by Patrick Ness
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  • Published:
    Sep 2018, 160 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Michelle Anya Anjirbag

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Book Summary

A richly illustrated and 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.

With the lush, atmospheric art of Rovina Cai woven in throughout, 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.



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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

All in all, And the Ocean Was our Sky is a challenge that should be engaged with by all readers. Like its source material, it is sure to spark conversation and remain of its time and context while being endlessly transposable and interpretable, and only gain from multiple and multifarious readings.   (Reviewed by Michelle Anya Anjirbag).

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Media Reviews

Booklist
Ness' writing - spare, thought provoking, and already dramatic - is utterly enhanced by Cai's breathtaking artwork.

Publishers Weekly
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.

School Library Journal
Starred Review. An excellent, stirring counterpoint to the original text, rife with questions about the inexorable nature of belief and violence.

Kirkus Reviews
Starred Review. Wrenching, dark, and powerful - no fluke, considering its model.

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Beyond the Book

The Hunt That Came First: Moby Dick

Illustration from Moby DickAnd the Ocean Was Our Sky is a re-imagining of Herman Melville's 1851 novel Moby-Dick; or, The Whale. Ness's text is a very experimental adaptation of Melville's, and one need not know Melville's text to understand it. However, some background on this American classic – recognized widely as a Great American Novel – may well serve to add further depths and context to Ness's contemporary story.

Look at any meme, mug, poster, or listicle that purports to include the most famous opening lines in literature, and "Call me Ishmael" is sure to be on it. Ishmael narrates a tale about his time on a whaling ship, the Pequod, during Captain Ahab's quest to destroy Moby Dick – the whale who took his leg. Ahab's desperate pursuit of ...

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