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The Night Ship by Jess Kidd -a review

the night shipThe Night Ship by Jess Kidd

ONE SHIPWRECK.
TWO MISFITS.
THREE CENTURIES APART.

1629. Embarking on a journey in search of her father, a young girl called Mayken boards the Batavia, the most impressive sea vessel of the age. During the long voyage, this curious and resourceful child must find her place in the ship’s stratified world. She soon uncovers shadowy secrets above and below deck and as tensions spiral, the fate of the ship and all on board becomes increasingly uncertain.

1989. Gil, a boy mourning the death of his mother, is placed in the care of his cranky grandfather. Their home is a shack on a tiny fishing island off the West Australian coast, notable only for its reefs and wrecked boats. This is no place for a boy struggling with a dark past, and Gil’s actions soon get him noticed by the wrong people.

The Night Ship is an enthralling tale of human brutality, fate and friendship – and of two children, hundreds of years apart, whose destinies are inextricably bound together.

Published 5 July 2022  |  Publisher: Penguin Random House  |  RRP: AUD$32.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  | QBD

My Blurb (4 / 5 stars)

“The dead can’t hurt you, Gil. It’s the living you need to watch out for.”

I read a history book on Batavia a few years ago so I knew the horrific things that went on then. I was curious though with the last line of the book description, “two children, hundreds of years apart, whose destinies are inextricably bound together.” This seems like a timeslip sort of read to me which is a favourite of mine.

Of course, then, there are 2 perspectives: Mayken in 1629 as a passenger of Batavia and Gil in 1989 as boy coming to live with his grandfather on Beacon Island. Neither fit their expected moulds and seek to express their individualism which attracted scorn and more. There wasn’t actually a huge link between them but what there was keeps making me think that there was going to be more. Sitting back after the read, however, I thought what there was was rather sweet in its poignancy and nothing more is needed.

The Night Ship is a story of grief and courage; the depravity of people and also the loving side of human nature. It’s all bound up together is a messy knot but you just can’t give up hope. A terribly riveting read as I could truly imagine myself being tossed about by the waves on a ship made of wood and all kinds of horrible smells abound. I was completely mesmerised by the characters and very much under their spells as I just needed to know what happens to them at the end.

My thanks to Penguin Random House for this paperback copy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

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