Book Review | The Night Ship by Jess Kidd

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Summary: 1629: A newly orphaned young girl named Mayken is bound for the Dutch East Indies on the Batavia, one of the greatest ships of the Dutch Golden Age. Curious and mischievous, Mayken spends the long journey going on misadventures above and below the deck, searching for a mythical monster. But the true monsters might be closer than she thinks.

1989: A lonely boy named Gil is sent to live off the coast of Western Australia among the seasonal fishing community where his late mother once resided. There, on the tiny reef-shrouded island, he discovers the story of an infamous shipwreck…

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

My Thoughts: Honestly, when I first started reading this, I wasn’t sure I was going to like it. But, wow. This book was just…amazing.

The book alternates between 1629, with Mayken on the Batavia ship, and 1989, with Gil on an island with his grandfather. The Batavia shipwreck is actually based on a true story, which I think actually made me like it even more.

I grew to absolutely love both Mayken and Gil (both 9 year-olds in their respective times). Mayken was a strong, fierce girl that tried to save those she loved. Gil was a lost boy that needed saving himself. I liked seeing parallel scenes between the two, with similar dialogues, but with different people.

I really enjoyed learning about the Batavia and seeing the author’s fictional take on the shipwreck (keeping a lot of it true to what we know from historical reference). I also enjoyed reading about the scientists and the island in 1989. I really liked how Gil grew and the relationships he formed, even if he thought he didn’t want them.

I highly, highly recommend this book.

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