[Book Review] And The Ocean Was Our Sky by Patrick Ness

And The Ocean Was Our Sky is a novel by Patrick Ness with illustrations by Rovina Cai and tells the tale of Bathsheba as her and her hunting pod hunt down the devil himself, Toby Wick.

The novel itself is an interesting insight into the mind of a whale as they travel throughout the ocean, and how they view the humans. On a deeper level, this novel discusses the ideas of life, humans and purpose.

Giving oneself purpose is a theme that runs throughout the novel, and how our actions define us. From believing in prophecies, to how we conduct ourselves. Bathsheba and Demitrius consistently question each other on their moral standpoint, one from a whale, and one from a human. It’s deeper meaning of understanding the people and things that you do not understand shines through, and how getting to know someone will help you to understand the other person. It is a necessary topic in the current world that we live in.

Our main character is Bathsheba, and Bathsheba is a complicated one. One destined for the life of a hunter, but is one that questions the idea of being a hunter, and what makes someone a devil, or evil.

Patrick Ness has always had a way with words, and whilst I did enjoy this novel, I personally didn’t enjoy it as much as his others. It is still a great read regardless.

[Book Review] That’s Not What Happened by Kody Keplinger

That’s Not What Happened by Kody Keplinger follows Lee Bauer, a school shooting survivor as she embarks on telling the truth of what happened that day, and how one story overtook the others, but it’s not true.

The story follows Lee as she gathers letters from the other five survivors so that they can share their experiences of the day, and discusses the aftermath of the shooting for the victims three years on.

Initially, I read this book as kind of a challenge to myself. It’s not typically a book I would pick up and read, despite it’s interesting premise. So, I challenged myself to read it, and to see if I would enjoy it.

The book won. It was actually very interesting and raised so many interesting points in how one narrative can be spread, and trying to raise awareness of the truth. It also deals a lot with the idea of perception, and how the image we see of one person is not the actual representation of the person at all.

Despite my initial hesitance, Lee was probably the character I could relate to the most of all of them, as she was Asexual, like myself. It was actually really nice to see asexuality represented in a book, as I don’t come across it very often in my own reading. So, I was surprised and happy that this was included.

The writing style is neat and simple, which at first was a bit of a setback for me, as I found the writing was a little bit ‘I got up and got dressed. I wore skinny jeans.’ But once you really got into the story, the author really grips you and you find it hard to put the novel down.

All in all, this was a winner for me. A pleasant surprise, and handled a really dark subject well. It hid nothing, and really put forward that what these characters, is not just something they get over. It’s something they deal with three years on, and will carry on to deal with the rest of their lives.

I would definitely recommend this novel, even with my hesitance, I ended up really enjoying the read, and learning a lot!

[Book Review] Release by Patrick Ness

Patrick Ness has always had a way with words and infusing reality with the unreal. This is clearly shown through Release.

Release is a bildungsroman of sorts. It takes place over one day, and follows one boy called Adam Thorn as he navigates friendships, love, relationships and coming out to his parents.

The other half of the story follows Katie, or Queen as she wanders after she wakes up from her murder.

Ness builds a relationship with his characters, and his writing style flows through the day, only giving you the information you need to know. Not all the plot points are cleared, but it never leaves you frustrated with this. It’s a simple look into the way that the teens are growing up.

The other half of the story deals with vengeance and retribution, told in parallel to Adam Thorn’s story. I did not really understand how the two stories would intertwine until the end of the novel, but thematically, the two halves of the story blend well. One deals with the desperation and the need for vengeance, the other deals with the act of growing up and realising that you need the help from others, and learning where your family lies.

Both sides of the story are truly heartbreaking.

Despite not being an intricately written tale, or a tale where there is a lot of guess work and wondering how things will end. Personally, I would recommend Release, it is insightful, and a pleasant read.