Tag Archives: Patrick Ness

And The Ocean Was Our Sky by Patrick Ness. Illustrated by Rovina Cai.

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Title: And The Ocean Was Our Sky
Author: Patrick Ness
Illustrated by Rovina Cai
Publisher: Walker Books
ISBN: 978-1406385403
Genre: Children’s Fiction, Literary
Pages: 160
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5 stars

I am a sucker for retellings or adaptations. A real-time sucker. Love the way some authors take a jab at it, make the classic their own, and then there are some who just cannot communicate what they want to. Thankfully, Patrick Ness belongs to the former category. And The Ocean Was Our Sky doesn’t read like a retelling. It doesn’t read like anything I have read before (yes you have heard this a lot, but this time it is really true). Alright, to cut the long story short: I absolutely loved And the Ocean Was Our Sky – loved the minimalist prose and the breathtaking illustrations. On a side note, let me also say that I loved how it veered away from the plot of Moby Dick soon into the book and I thought it was very refreshing.

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Now to the plot: The whales of Bathsheba’s pod live for the hunt. They hunt men. Men who hunt them get hunted. Men who don’t hunt also get hunted. They are led by Captain Alexandra, fighting a war against men. Till they attack a man ship and from it emerges a man who will lead them to the myth of the very devil – the most evil of all men. The one that will change their lives forever. That in short is the plot of the book. It is a story of whales and men and how when we take over their world, what happens in the end.

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What makes it different or interesting you ask? Patrick Ness is at the top of his game. This book may be sparse in terms of the writing, but every word lends gravitas. Every word that perhaps is not there in the story, is accompanied by beautiful illustrations by Rovina Cai. The story comes alive through another dimension as you read and experience the illustrations at the same time.

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The morality play of the book is strong and is much-needed in times such as these. It is a book for both children and adults. I would say more for adults, just to get the point across that every life matters. The twist in the tale will take you by surprise for sure, but that’s hardly the point of the story. And The Ocean Was Our Sky is so heartwarming (I found it to be) and heartbreaking in so many places – the kind of book that will make you question so many things about life, death, and the in-between.

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Book Review: The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness

cranewife Title: The Crane Wife
Author: Patrick Ness
Publisher: Canongate Books
ISBN: 978-0857868718
Genre: Literary Fiction
Pages: 320
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5/5

Once in a while you need magic in your life. More so, you need to believe in. In whatever form and manner. I guess sometimes we all need a wake-up call. Something to jostle us of our mere mundane existence and show us life in its truest form. The so-called hurdles along the way also need to be dealt with though. There is no escaping that. Maybe a little bit of living and a little bit of love would be good enough, if it comes in the right balance that is. With this, I present to you one of the most wonderful books I have read this month: “The Crane Wife” by Patrick Ness.

I was taken in by the title. I could not have figured what this book would be about and that further intrigued me to pick it up and give it a go. However, it was one of those seemingly dull days, when one has nothing to do and wants to do nothing but read that I picked up this gem of a book and could not stop reading it till I had finished it.

The writing is sublime. It is funny in places even and in most places just poignant. The story is of a forty-eight year old man in present day London, his adult daughter, his infant grandchild and how their lives are infused and transformed by love of a strange woman, who just happens to enter their lives one fine day. It all starts with one night, when the man, patches an injured crane in his backyard and sets him or her going, the mysterious woman appears at his store the very next day. At some level, you want to believe that maybe it is the crane reincarnate but of course the logical reader will not. What makes this story even more brilliant are the set of 32 tiles she carries with her, which tell a tale of long time gone by, of a daughter born out of a cloud and her existence and life with volcanoes and the world. The questions but obviously keep the reader hooked till the very end: Who is this woman? Where has she come from? What is the purpose? Why the stories? Why the tiles?

I had first heard of Patrick Ness when I read, “A Monster Calls” and loved the book to the core. It affected me quite deeply. I never thought that something else written by him would have the same kind of impact. “The Crane Wife” most certainly did. The writing is magical, infused with everyday living and yet blends with it the element of folklore with great tact. I left the book while I was about to sleep and found myself waking up in the middle of the night and turning the pages right through. Such I guess is the power of a very-well written book. It doesn’t let go of the reader, till the reader is done with it. It will definitely be on my reread list.

Book Review: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Title: A Monster Calls
Author: Patrick Ness, From an Original Idea by Siobhan Dowd
Publisher: Walker Books, Pan Macmillan
ISBN: 978-1-4063-4700-5
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Pages: 237
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4/5

When I started reading, “A Monster Calls” by Patrick Ness, I did not imagine that I would be so taken in by the story, that I would be impacted by its plot to this extent, that I would cry at the end of the book or for that matter not stop thinking about it. I rarely cry when I read books but some of them just compel me to because of the connect we share in some way or the other. Books do that. So do movies. Music even. Any form of art. This one sure did.

“A Monster Calls” is about thirteen-year old Conor and his mother who is suffering from cancer and there seems to be no hope for her. Conor has nightmares which he cannot speak of. He cannot share them with anyone, till one fine night a monster comes knocking on his bedroom window and his life changes drastically. The monster is the yew tree monster, who stands dull and strong in the daytime and arrives precisely at 12:07 am (on the first night and a couple of other nights as well) to tell tales to Conor, wanting to hear his last truth and tale. This winds up the book and answers any questions that the readers might have towards the end of the book.

Conor’s character is complex and yet at the same time he is like any other teenager, who wants things to be perfect and knows that they will never be the same. The monster is crucial to the story (but of course). Conor’s mother, Dad, and grandma along with his once best-friend Lily and other bullies at school, make for the rest of the characters of the book.

The book from the look of it is set in England. The landscape and the descriptions could have been a little more detailed to add to the book’s atmosphere. I was a little disappointed with that. I liked the narrative and the story. The idea originally belonged to, as Patrick also says, to one of the finest Young Adult Writers, Siobhan Dowd, who passed on due to breast cancer. Patrick was approached then to work on the idea and he has tried to be true to it.

“A Monster Calls” is human and above all describes loss, love, and redemption in the most beautiful manner. It could have been longer and I would have liked it to, but it is alright I guess. Patrick Ness is brilliant at his craft and as he has also highly recommended Siobhan’s works, my next new found author would have to be her.

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