And the Ocean Was Our Sky by Patrick Ness
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication: September 4th 2018 by Walker Books
Series: None. Standalone.
Length: 160 pages
Format: ARC from publisher
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.
Huge thanks to my friends from HarperCollins International for sending me a review copy of this title in exchange for an honest review. This did not, in any way, affect my overall opinion of the book and/or the story.
And the Ocean Was Our Sky is one of the many review copies that my generously supportive friends from HarperCollins International sent me last June. Out of the entire line-up, this book was the shortest, and also the one I was most intrigued with because upon checking the synopsis, it features a whale for a main character. Without thinking, I started reading this as soon as I had the time and I ended up liking it. Read on to know my thoughts on Patrick Ness’ newest work of art.
The plot might have been a little hard for me to get into but the characterization felt unique and spontaneous. I have never, in my entire life, read a book with a whale for a main character. I understood the message that this story was trying to convey, yes, but the plot was a little hard for me to grasp. And for a fairly short read, I expected more of a story that was easy to comprehend. But maybe that’s just me. Or so I’ve heard, maybe it’s just Patrick Ness’ magic touch that’s coming into play here. But on a more positive note, I appreciated how Bathsheba, the main character, was characterized. I love how even though she was only a second apprentice, the author was able to put so much emotion and depth into her character. Seeing how conflicted she sometimes felt made me root for her and that feeling of rooting for a character is important to me.
The addition of sketch art was useful too, and it helped me visualize the story even more. The review copy that I read contained art that wasn’t final, and I definitely can’t wait to grab my hands on a finished copy just to see how the graphics would look once it’s out. Especially for a story that I, personally, had a hard time getting into, this pulled me up and this honestly made me like the story somehow. Part of why I gave this a slightly positive rating is because of the art.
And lastly, I loved the underlying message found in this novel. All throughout the story, Bathsheba was forced to believe a prophecy spoken only by her captain. She, along with Captain Alexandra, shaped her whole life around this prophecy and the entirety of the story revolved around the fact that she and her comrades are destined to defeat the devil himself, after witnessing great deals of grief, death, and horror. Now, with that prophecy in mind, Bathsheba was always told what to do in order to turn this prophecy into a reality. To make sure that she will never step out of line. And because of this, Bathsheba was always limited and had no choice but to follow orders.
The message (I) found in this plot line is that a rumor is a very powerful and threatening thing. It has the ability to turn other people’s heads due to paranoia, and it can easily defeat nations, especially when it spreads like wildfire. What I was able to take away from this was that in order for us, whether we be whales, humans, or whatever, to be able to live a good, fulfilling life, we should always speak our truths in full, never half-heartedly. If we choose to make a decision or act in a certain way, we should always believe in it fully, and we should never falter. I don’t know if this was the author’s intended message, but this was what I got.
“And the Ocean Was Our Sky is the first book by Patrick Ness that I’ve read. It tells a compelling story about a pod of whales in search for glory in realizing a prophecy. It has an underlying message about the power of rumors and the fears and monsters we, as people, associate it with. The use of graphics also adds to the overall aesthetic of the book, making it a very interesting read for just about anyone. It’s a short, impactful read, perfect for those who may want to try out Patrick Ness’ books for the first time.”
Have YOU read anything by Patrick Ness yet? If not, be sure to check his stories out, especially And The Ocean Was Our Sky, and once you do, let me know what you think of it down below in the comments section!
JM is a 21 year old blogger from Manila. He has a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management mainly because it was too late when he discovered that literature and publishing is his true calling. He enjoys reading contemporary and fantasy novels as much as he enjoys playing video games and baking pastries. You may find him on his book blog, Book Freak Revelations, also on Twitter, Instagram, & Goodreads.