The whales of Bathsheba’s pod live for the hunt. Led by the formidable Captain Alexandra, they fight a never-ending war against men. Then the whales attack a man ship, and instead of easy prey they find the trail of a myth, a monster, perhaps the devil himself…
With their relentless Captain leading the chase, they embark on the final hunt, one that will forever change the worlds of whales and men. From Patrick Ness, the multi-award-winning author of A Monster Calls, and CBCA Crichton Award-winning Australian artist Rovina Cai comes a haunting tale of power and obsession that turns the story of Moby Dick upside down.
And the Ocean was Our Sky is a powerful, moving tale by bestselling author Patrick Ness. Accompanied by gorgeous illustrations from Rovina Cai, Patrick’s story is from the point of view of a whale — Bathsheba. This story is a unique twist on the classic novel, Moby Dick.
War between humans and whales has been going for generations, each hunting the other. This book illustrates the trauma and death associated with war, and the reader comes to sympathise for Bathsheba. She is the third apprentice in a hunting pod to Captain Alexandra; they spend their days searching and destroying ships and humans. Bathsheba feels conflicted about their task, and struggles to understand the necessity of this war against humans.
“Let me be clear, right from the start. I hate the hunt but I loved it then. Now, of course, after all the occurred, after all are dead, after I waited for a rescue that might never come, no one would blame me for hating it.”
The book tells the story of the hunt for Toby Wick — an enemy so evil that no whale has ever met them and survived. Captain Alexandra is desperate to find and kill Toby Wick.
The illustrations are gorgeous. They mostly follow a soft use of the colours black, grey, white and red and they capture the mood of the story perfectly. Rovina is so talented and has done an exceptional job bringing this story to life.
As the hunting pod closes in on Toby, Bathsheba wrestles with his doubts and concerns. How necessary is this war? Is it worth all this death? As the reader, we know that this hunt will likely kill almost every character because Bathsheba hints at it right at the beginning of the book.
“Call me Bathsheba. It is not my name, but the name I use for this story. A name, I hoped, that would be free of prophecy, free of the burden of a future placed upon it, free of any destiny that would tear it from my hands and destroy worlds.”
Set in the depths of the ocean, this is a stunning, brilliant work. The prose is effortless and each sentence beautiful. I did find the first person narration confusing at first, and it did take me a short while to understand the dynamic and structure of the story, but apart from that I was completely absorbed in this story and it’s artwork.
And the Ocean Was Our Sky explores themes of loyalty, friendship, family, war and revenge.
Thank you to the publisher for mailing me a review copy in exchange for an honest review.
And the Ocean Was Our Sky
Patrick Ness, illustrated by Rovina Cai
Walkers Books Australia