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And the Ocean Was Our Sky

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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.

160 pages, Hardcover

First published September 4, 2018

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About the author

Patrick Ness

42 books18.2k followers
Patrick Ness, an award-winning novelist, has written for England’s Radio 4 and Sunday Telegraph and is a literary critic for The Guardian. He has written many books, including the Chaos Walking Trilogy, The Crash of Hennington, Topics About Which I Know Nothing, and A Monster Calls.

He has won numerous awards, including the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, the Booktrust Teenage Prize, and the Costa Children’s Book Award. Born in Virginia, he currently lives in London.

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5 stars
1,480 (18%)
4 stars
2,951 (36%)
3 stars
2,750 (34%)
2 stars
716 (8%)
1 star
123 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,814 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,990 reviews298k followers
September 26, 2018
An interesting message but, unfortunately, it seems no amount of interesting messages can make a story about a pod of whales not boring. Sorry.

I've definitely said this before but I'd like to stress it again: I love that Patrick Ness gets creative. He thinks outside of the box. He doesn't care for tropes or trends; he simply looks to tell an interesting and unique story. That's why I will keep reading his books. And The Knife of Never Letting Go is still one of my all time favourites.

That being said, his experimental style doesn't always work for me. In Release, I really enjoyed the emotional chapters about a teenage boy coming to terms with his sexuality in a deeply religious family, but the weird magical realism chapters did nothing for me. Here, I appreciated the messages that emerged at the very end, but the story of the whales hunting Toby Wick (yes, it's a retelling of Moby-Dick from the perspective of a whale) almost put me to sleep.

The book is ultimately about the power and danger of rumour; how believing in whispered half-truths or lies can create the devils you fear. Fascinating concept, but I think this message is only realized in the final few pages of the book. In Ness's accompanying note, he says that the message was not the original intention and, in fact, grew out of a different kind of story-- I think this is obvious in the reading. It feels tagged on like an afterthought.

The story itself was very dry. We follow a pod of whales who hunt humans and, particularly, the infamous "Toby Wick" who allegedly terrorizes the seas. No one has actually seen Toby Wick but he is known to be a monster. It's only a short book, but it is not compelling. As much as I tried, I just could not care that much about these whales. They were not anthropomorphized, and the limited emotions they showed throughout made me feel no emotion towards them.

The piles of "liked" and "didn't like" of Patrick Ness's books are pretty even at this point. Sadly, And the Ocean Was Our Sky was one more added to the latter.

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Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.5k followers
November 13, 2018
'for there are devils in the deep, but worst are the ones we make.'

there is no doubt that patrick ness is gifted when it comes to writing. every word he puts to paper is a thing of beauty, if not poetry. the way he tells stories is unparalleled and this book was no exception.

this was a uniquely told reverse retelling of moby dick, where the whales hunt humans. and even though i admire the creativity that went into creating this story, im not sure the content matter was for me. if i had prior experience with the story of moby dick, then i may have enjoyed it more. but honestly, i just wasnt in love with it.

but thats not to say it wasnt a good story. its a short and quick read, with qualities reminiscent of a bedtime tale. and the illustrations are stunning. this is perfect for any fans of ness!

3.5 stars
Profile Image for Kai Spellmeier.
Author 6 books13.7k followers
Want to read
April 2, 2018
'scuse me all I wanna say is OH MY GOD THIS COVER OH MY GOD thanks for your attention.
Profile Image for Hamad.
1,048 reviews1,380 followers
September 22, 2018
This review and other non-spoilery reviews can be found @The Book Prescription

🌟 This is a short story by Patrick Ness, in under 160 pages, we have a kind of “Moby Dick” re-telling. It also has great illustrations which helped understanding the quirkiness of this story. If you are already familiar with Patrick, then you know that he has the strangest ideas and I am always rooting for creative authors! I like that this was from Whales POV because it is all about the symbolism. The story is confusing at first but then we quickly understand everything and there is that “Ahaaa” moment where everything clicks in and it makes sense.

🌟 This is not supposed to be a children or a MG story just because it is illustrated, this is a story that can be read fast if you have an hour or a bit more to spare and it shows how Rumors affect us and how we turn ourselves into monsters while claiming to fight monsters. I gave it 3 out of 5 stars!
Profile Image for Bea.
196 reviews109 followers
February 20, 2019
3.5/5 stars!

This was my ninth Patrick Ness read and I sure wasn’t disappointed. Usually his books are a hit or miss for me but that still keeps him as one of my favourite authors of all time. I also got my copy personally signed by the author as I was very lucky he toured near me and I got to meet him!

I love how each and every book he writes explores different genres and ideas making each one unique in its own way. And the Ocean was our Sky has definitely done just that.

This was a retelling of Moby Dick (which I haven’t read but I went to the author’s promo tour of this book and during his speech answering audience questions he did say you didn’t need to have read it to read this one) which sounded very interesting. Creatively, the story is from the perspective of a whale, Bathsheba.

The writing is gorgeous and I find that with all of PN’s books, he’s a very good writer who knows how to captivate his readers. The book is filled with beautiful phrases that just make you think and feel for the characters.

The plot was probably the thing that brought down the rating for me. While I liked it I kept getting confused about what was going on and I felt there were scenes included that weren’t really needed. Also the ending was kind of predictable sadly.

The illustrations were perfect. I don’t know whether I would’ve understood the story as well without them and they were just so pretty to look at!

I wouldn’t recommend this one if you haven’t read any other Patrick Ness books before (I’d recommend More Than This or Release) but it’s definitely a stunningly beautiful book to try out later on.

‘’For there are devils in the deep
But the worst are the ones
We make’’
Profile Image for Elle (ellexamines).
1,093 reviews17.7k followers
September 21, 2018
This is a lovely illustrated graphic novel about the need to analyze war beyond simple prophecy. Patrick Ness really shines when given a basic thematic core to live off of; even a simple story like this feels super engrossing in the context of the gorgeous art.

So what I like about this story is the commentary on war and prejudice. Within this story, the primary dynamic is between the whale world and the human world - the human world resents the whales as killers, and the whale world resents the humans as killers. And the world of whales lives in fear of a monstrous creature known as Toby Wick. The main theme here is the idea that a side of a war is not a monolith. Every person of a certain population is not the same, do not think the same. And villainizing one side, blaming a monolith for the sins of one, will not end well.

The writing is a bit dry, and I'm sure it won't work for everyone, but I adored slipping into this mythic world, and I adored looking at the art. And the art wasn't even finished in my arc. I want so much more of Rovina Cai's art.

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December 7, 2017
*whisper* patrick ness is writing a new book.
*jump on a table* Patrick Ness is writing a new book.
*bang pots and pans* PATRICK NESS IS WRITING A NEW BOOK.
Profile Image for ℨαrα .
173 reviews158 followers
October 3, 2018
Plot ~ Concept: ★★★★★
~ Execution: ★★★★☆
Pacing: ★★★☆☆½
Writing style: ★★★★★
Characters: ★★★★★
World: ★★★★★
Enjoyment: ★★★★☆½
Illustrations: ★★★★★
★★★★★★★★★★ (yes I just did that)

Note: I haven’t read Moby Dick and only have a vague idea of its plot, so I had no true point of reference while reading this book.

○ The writing style is so completely unique and one of the biggest highlights for me. Writing from the perspective of a whale allows Patrick Ness to get creative with his prose and style of storytelling.
○ I’m someone who loves symbolism and analysing and interpreting deeper meanings in books. This one has a lot of that, and I was in my element.
○ I found dynamic between whales and man truly fascinating. So many parallels can be drawn between these fictitious societies and our world.
○ Dark illustrations in a non-middle grade book.
○ The interior of this book is so beautiful. My eyes have been blessed by Rovina Cai’s illustrations.
○ Seriously, I could stare at them all day. They add a whole new dimension to the reading experience.
!!!THE ENDING. The final pages after the climax of the book were so amazingly beautifully superbly astonishingly breathtakingly I’m running out of adjectives brilliant. It is poetry. It’s honestly worth reading the whole book for that.

○ IT ENDED TOO QUICKLY (I know that this is a good thing but I need cons to balance this out okay).
○ The premise may not be everyone’s cup of tea as it’s quite peculiar.
○ The middle didn’t fully capture my attention and I found myself struggling to concentrate.

QUOTES (this book is a landmine for quotes):
○ “For who needs devils when you have men?”
○“All because, in place of a fin, they had a hand.”
○“Will the world end in darkness because it is foretold? Or because there will be those who believe it so strongly they will make it so?”
○“...I dove for the sky.”

Overall rating: ★★★★☆½ and rounding up because THE ENDING.


1. Patrick Ness.
2. Rovina Cai - I ADORE HER ART.
3. A peculiar premise.

This is the definition of happiness, so p l e a s e don’t disappoint.
Profile Image for Lisa.
991 reviews3,321 followers
October 19, 2018
Whoever sets out to fight the Devil will eventually find him - inside!

Monsters are Patrick Ness' expertise. And they come in various shapes, and tell stories from different perspectives. In this novel he lets the whales tell the story of hunting and vengeance that we all know from the unforgettable Captain Ahab. There is a Moby Dick in each society if there are people who believe in his power and are willing to turn into a mirror of him in order to fulfil the prophesy of hatred, fight and exclusive honour.

Patrick Ness shows the self-absorbed hunter for fame, and the absurdly loyal acolyte, and the doubter and thinker in their timeless roles - but in the shape of whales, not humans. They fight and kill in an eternal vicious circle of vendetta for lost lives among their own. A bleak story, but with a sense of hope. The way out of violence is respect for the individual and communication across the enemy's borders. But who can actually do that, trained and drilled in partisanship? Taught to think in demonising patterns? Or alone in doubts?

Knowing more about the enemy is the key to stop hating and fearing him.

To enhance the powerful message of the paradigm shifting story, it is illustrated in black and white, emphasised with increasing colour signals in red. The artwork tells as much about the climax of the fight as the warning voice of the huntress herself: if you think this life is admirable, you haven't understood what I am telling you, she says. And that is true for so many people. Heroism looks glorious from far away. In close-up, it is a black ocean striped in red pain.

Does fear of the devil make him rise? That is the message of this tale:

"Take my name as the warning of where our fears will lead us, where the devils we make will destroy us all."

As she hears whispers of a new devil killing whales, Bathsheba tells her tale of peace, against death masked as glory.

Listen to her!
Profile Image for Elizabeth Sagan.
240 reviews2,087 followers
February 17, 2019
Books are so weird. Art in general is like that. I loved this one to pieces. And, as I sometimes do, after I finished it I went straight on Goodreads to read both the positive and the negative reviews. Especially the negative ones. The 1 stars. Because, of course, "how could someone rate this less than 5 stars?". Well, I believe you, people. I do believe it was a strange concept. But boy I loved it so much. I feel like it was so much more than just the story of some whales, than just a re-telling. It was the story of any 2 groups of people who are pointing fingers at each other, waging war against each other because they think they are different... when they are, in fact, the same. It was also the story of that frog whose water gets gradually heated up to the boiling point. And Toby Mick, I believe, was the product of their own hatred, their mirror, their doing, their fears made flesh.

Absolutely brilliant.

And the writing... I wanted to eat some of those paragraphs, to get them into my blood, because only reading them didn't feel enough.
Profile Image for Erik Fazekas.
481 reviews200 followers
January 1, 2023
Najťažší okamih v mojej editorskej kariére nastal, keď som si prečítal email, v ktorom stálo: "Patrick (Ness) a jeho agentka Michelle (tá, ktorá je vo venovaniach) by radi vedeli, čo si myslíš o ATOWOS."

Zamysleli ste sa niekedy, čo povedať autorovi, ktorého ako jedného z mála obdivujete, o jeho knihe? A napísať to tak, aby to neboli prázdne reči, ktoré sa hádžu na obálku kníh, že to povedal New York Times alebo niekto podobne anonymní?

Zavrel som dvere, oči aj uši pred svetom a napísal som to, čo som mal v tej chvíli na srdci:
And the Ocean was our Sky som čítal tesne po výročí konca druhej svetovej vojny. Posledný aprílový a prvé májové týždne som videl kvantum dokumentárnych filmov o vojne a prečítal neúrekom vojnových článkov. Najviac vo mne asi zarezonoval trojdielny nemecký seriál Unsere Mütter, unsere Väter (po anglicky Generation War), ktorý vám odporúčam si pozrieť.

V tomto vojnovom rozpoložení som sa začítal do ATOWOSu. Bola to kniha v pravej chvíli a na pravom mieste. Lebo na tých 160 stránkach si uvedomíte jednu krutú pravdu--najhorší nepriatelia sú tí, ktorých si sami vytvoríte. A to sú dejiny vojenstva zhrnuté na 160 stránkach. Vlastne sú to dejiny ľudstva. Lebo my ľudia stále hľadáme zlo a dôvody, prečo by sme sa nemali radovať. Máme strach žiť šťastne, neustále hľadáme len nenávisť, ktorá podporuje ďalšiu nenávisť a tak ďalej dokola. Nikdy sa nevieme poučiť z vlastnej minulosti. A to sa nám snaží Patrick povedať aj touto knihou.

A to nám chcú povedať aj úchvatné ilustrácie. Máte sa na čo tešiť. Rovina Cai je... nedá sa to opísať slovami. Ja osobne som rád, že Jim Kay (ilustrátor Sedem minút po polnoci) je strašne vyťažený ilustrovaním Harryho Pottera. Lebo kniha takto získala nový rozmer. Toto nie je druhá časť knihy Sedem minút po polnoci, A Monster Calls, Volání netvora. Toto je samostatný príbeh s rovnako silným posolstvom.

O obsahu tiež veľa nepoviem, anotka hovorí za veľa, no musím spomenúť, že mojou najobľúbenejšou je posledná kapitola. Nie však pre zadosťučinenie, že som konečne dočítal túto knihu, to vôbec nie. Ale hlavná hrdinka Batsheba v nej rekapituluje svoj život, spomína a vysvetľuje prečo a ako koná. Batsheba nechce stáť v centre pozornosti, nechce okolo seba budovať kult osobnosti, lebo raz sa to všetko zvrhne. Batsheba je len svedkom udalostí a anonymne o nich rozpráva. A dnes som si uvedomil, že máme s Batshebou niečo spoločné. Sme svedkami, stojíme v úzadí, poťahujeme za nitky... lebo mám tú česť spolupracovať s úžasnými ľuďmi-s autormi, prekladateľmi, redaktormi a čitateľmi. To oni sú hviezdy našich obľúbených kníh, oni tvoria, prinášajú, dolaďujú príbehy, ktoré sa nám vryjú do sŕdc. Taká je sila kníh a príbehov v nich skrytých. Ak sa nám kniha páči, ľúbme ju a vychvaľujme, kde sa dá. Ak sa nám nepáči, zdržme sa hejtu, lebo možno práve ten zabráni, aby tento poklad objavil niekto, komu prirastie k srdcu. Všetci sme rozdielni, no najväčšie zlo si tvoríme spolu my sami.
(Toto je koniec sentimentálnej vsuvky a interpretácia posolstvoa skrytého v knihe.)

Dúfam, že vás kniha osloví a zamilujete si ju, rovnako ako ja.

Ja viem, že mi veľa ľudí závidí prácu vo vydavateľstve, hlavne to, že mám rukopisy dávno pred vydaním, ale dobre viete, že sa tým nechválim, ani vás tým neprovokujem, ale o tejto knihe som prosto musel napísať pár slov.
Profile Image for Heidi The Reader.
1,388 reviews1,468 followers
January 13, 2019
"But now, here, once and for all, I set down my tale. I am not who I was then. I said I was ignorant, and I am not wrong, though by that point I had learned that men lived upside down from us, that for them the ocean was below, the Abyss above, our gravities only meeting at the surface." pg 15

Patrick Ness weaves a re-telling of Moby-Dick, or, the Whale from the point of view of the whales. It falls some what short of his usual magic.

I think the trouble with re-telling major stories or fairy tales, (as I've discussed in previous reviews, Dorothy Must Die comes to mind) is that unless the remake is extraordinary in some way, it won't surpass the original story. It's exciting to revisit beloved worlds or, in this case, a classic tale and upend reader's expectations. Using the point of view of the whales is unique, but the story seems to stall there.

The original Moby Dick gives us obsession and memorable characters. Bathsheba, the young apprentice whale in this tale, is a confused mess most of the time. That doesn't lend itself to either greatness or memorability.

Ness is at his best when he's describing Bathsheba's world. I wish he had gotten more into how they respected and feared the depths of the ocean, which they considered the opposite of the 'Abyss' in our world. I also wish he had taken readers through one of the cities constructed by the whales. He hinted at a civilization beyond the hunt, but we never quite got there.

I guess he was trying to build tension with the hunt for Toby Wick. I wanted a more layered fantasy tale.

"Maybe it takes a devil to fight a devil," I said. "But at the end of the fight, Bathsheba," he said, "Don't only devils remain?" And for a moment in the ocean, there was only blackness. We were alone. Even with ourselves. And whatever devils lurked, unseen. pg 99

The artwork by Rovina Cai is beautiful and spare, utilizing very few colors or many fine details beyond shading. I think she conveys the idea that most of the story takes place underwater very well. I liked the illustrations perhaps more than I liked the story.

If you must read And the Ocean Was Our Sky, may I suggest borrowing it from your local library.
Profile Image for Whispering Stories.
2,754 reviews2,580 followers
January 2, 2019
Book Reviewed by Nia on www.whisperingstories.com

I’m not going to analyse this book too hard in search deeper meanings beyond a vague ‘enemies aren’t always who/what you expect’ and ‘war sucks’ because it’ll only give me a headache and I always wonder if authors are really putting that much thought into subtext when they write or if they’re just enjoying spinning a good yarn for readers to enjoy at face value (I have no definitive answer to this, I just prefer face value).

The story is a switched perspective version of Moby Dick where the whales have their own advanced civilisation and form hunting pods to do battle against humans. I have never read the original, though I somehow doubt the whales were scientifically advanced, so I can’t comment on how this book ties in to the original. All I know if that this book is a weird and wonderful read that made me sad, thoughtful and warm on the inside.

What I can say with a degree of certainty is that the hardback edition, illustrated by Rovina Cai, is one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever held in my hands. It has bold monochromatic artwork that perfectly captures the essence of the book and makes it a more immersive experience.

As long as you can sink into the vague world building without asking too many questions and enjoy the story for what it is, a beautiful and melancholy take on how whales might feel about whalers, it’s something well worth experiencing.
Profile Image for Claude's Bookzone.
1,535 reviews216 followers
July 15, 2021
3.5 Stars


Well Patrick is certainly a remarkable writer!

This is literally an upside down reimagining of Moby Dick. The whales are hunting the elusive human, Toby Wick, and the whale captain's obsession with fulfilling the prophecy of killing him, mirrored that of Ahab's in the original story. The images are darkly beautiful as they follow the path of blood and destruction brought about by the single-minded pursuit of this much feared human. An interesting twist on a classic tale.
Profile Image for joey (thoughts and afterthoughts).
139 reviews145 followers
April 30, 2018
Holy fuck, whale feels are real feels.

This is like a second coming of A Monster Calls, except not. The art, the themes, the collision of everything at the end to give us Ness' usual one-two punch of truth. My goodness are the visuals in this book is stunning. I may have been iffy with "Release", but damn it all, Ness has brought the good stuff in this Moby Dick re-telling.

(Also a non-review but sea otters are still my fave.)

thoughts prior to reading:
yes, i hope the whales win. humans suck.

- Full review to come.

Profile Image for Rana⚡ .
82 reviews114 followers
January 9, 2019

It was Okay, but seriously?? This is not a retelling of moby dick. The only similarity is.... you guessed it, WHALES.And whatever that creature called toby wick that i wont even talk about cause its name is way too extra.

It could've been better if
A) It had nothing to do with moby dick.
or B) It had everything to do with mobydick, they could've stuck with the name and everything but the only difference is that it would've been from the whale's perspective (I would totally dig that even though i disliked the classic).
This weird mix between the 2 totally didn't work for me.

What i liked:
World building
Writing style because i mean it's still Patrick ness I'm talking about
the cover/title
Aka.Everything but the plot
Profile Image for Renee Godding.
640 reviews632 followers
July 6, 2019
‘’For there are devils in the deep
But the worst are the ones we make’’

3.5/5 stars

As with most of Patrick Ness' books, I'm not sure if this premise spawned from the mind of a genius, a mad-man, or perhaps a little bit of both...
And the Ocean Was Our Sky is a sort of flipped Moby Dick retelling, from the perspective of the whales, and it's as original and bizar as that sounds. I'm not even sure how best to review this, as it's a book that is best experienced, instead of talked about. So I guess this is going to be a short one.

What I liked:
- The illustrations
These had to be the first thing I mentioned, as I feel they added at least an extra star to the story. The novella is full of illustrations, in the same style as the gorgeous coverart, to support the story, and it works wonders. I’m not usually big on illustrated stories, graphic novels and a like but in this case, it added an extra layer to the atmosphere that drives this book.
- The originality and worldbuilding
Topnotch Patrick Ness... The upside-down world of the whales, the whale-ships, their almost military society... Again: I'm not sure if Patrick Ness is a genius or just insane.
- Symbolism
As you might expect based on the synopsis, and the fact that this is a Patrick Ness story: it's filled with so many layers of symbolism. This story is like the ocean it describes: their is a world below the surface, if only you dive into it.

What I didn't like:
- The characters
More specifically, their development. I feel the story might have been a little too short for them to come to full fruition, so most of them felt a little surface level to me.
To a lesser extend: this goes for the whale-society as well. I'd have loved a little bit more background and build up for this, and I feel I would have enjoyed the novel more if it had been a little longer.
- The bizar-ness
Although the bizarre nature of Ness' stories are often a selling point; in this case it kept me from being fully immersed in the story.

In the end, I do recommend this book, but probably not as your first book by this author. I feel like I appreciated it more, because I was already familiar with his style, and I imagine it could be a bit of a "culture shock" if you're completely unfamiliar with it.
Profile Image for Cassandra.
718 reviews90 followers
June 30, 2018
*Thank you to Edelweiss and HarperCollins for the ARC in exchange for an honest review!*

"Will the world end in darkness because it is foretold? Or becasue there will be those who believe is so strongly they will make it so? In the fear that I always try to hide in my heart, I wonder if there is even a difference."

This was a complete whirlwind of a novel. I have no idea where Patrick Ness's book ideas come from, but there was no way his previous novel, Release, could have prepared me for this one. They're just so different. Even his writing style seems to morph from book to book. And I absolutely love that.

This was engaging start to finish. Whales hunting humans? With a whale as a main character? I didn't know how much I needed Bathsheba and her crew until they began to hunt the infamous Toby Wick while also fighting off rival pods and human hunting parties.

"For who needs the devil when you have men?"

The most precious part of this novel was the unlikely friendship that formed between the whale, Bathsheba, and the human, Demetrius. I can easily say I have never read any relationship like it and that it was one of my favorite parts of this tiny little treasure of a book.

"Maybe it takes a devil to fight a devil."

By far one of the most interesting and unique books I've read in years. Plus, this book is littered with beautiful, intricate illustrations that just add the feeling of wonder this book contains. I can't wait to get my hands on more by this author.

"For there are devils in the deep, but worst are the ones we make."
Profile Image for Warda.
1,205 reviews19.7k followers
April 4, 2020
“For there are devils in the deep but worse are the ones we make.”

4.5 🌟

Patrick Ness is something else.

I had no idea what this book was about. All I knew is that it was written by Patrick Ness and that was all the information I needed.

Little did I know I was entering a story of whales and symbolism and poetry. It was dripping with meaning. There was depth packed in it alongside the simplicity of it all.
I could literally write an essay on the themes it touched upon, i.e. war, morality, humanity and identity.
My mind was racing throughout the story, trying to grasp at their meanings and dissecting it in my mind, which would lead to trails of thoughts. I was entering an abyss.

The audiobook was fantastic, I highly recommend it.

Read for the OWLs Readathon.
Subject: Defence Against the Dark Arts.
Profile Image for Darcey.
988 reviews204 followers
July 12, 2019
"For who needs devils when you have men?"

holy shit.
i really need to make a 'goddamn intense' shelf on goodreads, because this book didn't fit into any others.
i haven't read the original moby dick, so i don't know how similar this was, but let me tell you that it was definitely different to anything else i've ever read. as per Patrick Ness, it was full of stunning writing and deep meanings, and it really hit hard. it was beautiful and it was horrible and it made me wonder if humans aren't just devils in real life. the quotes in this book made me gasp, and the drawings were so beautiful they made me pour over them, studying the unique and brilliant style.

thank you Patrick Ness and Rovina Cai. you have astounded me.

"For there are devils in the deep,
but worst are the ones
we make."
Profile Image for Dannii Elle.
2,063 reviews1,473 followers
December 9, 2019
This beautiful book contained abstract imagery, depicted with vivid strokes and a muted colour palette, that was a perfect accompaniment to Ness' similar writing style. These two mediums worked together to portray a well-known story from an entirely new perspective.

Moby Dick as told by the whale was every bit as harrowing as I had anticipated. I adore Ness for the emotion his writing exudes and for the chances he takes with his work. Both worked in tandem here, along with the accompanying artwork, to build a thrilling underwater adventure with a poignant message attached to it.
Profile Image for Ivka.
375 reviews116 followers
September 5, 2018
Keď Erik zverejnil svoju recenziu, pýtala som sa, či môžem ešte pred vydaním niečo napísať aj ja. A on že: "Až keď to preložíš."

TAK SOM TO PRELOŽILA, OKEJ? A som rada, že som to spravila. Lebo keby som niečo písala bezprostredne po čítaní, vyzeralo by to úplne inak. Mala som totiž nesprávne očakávania: je to krátke, má to obrázky a je to o veľrybách, takže to isto bude metaforický doják ako Sedem minút po polnoci. CHYBA.

Každá. Jedna. Nessova. Kniha. Je. Úplne. Iná.

Táto je o húfe veľrýb, ktorý raz počas lovu na ľudí narazí na mincu s iniciálkami T. W. - a kapitánka loveckého húfu usúdi, že ju tým Toby Wick, najobávanejší ľudský námorník, vyzýva na súboj. Hlavná hrdinka Batšeba vie, že to nemôže byť pravda. Toby Wick je mýtus, legenda, ktorú si veľryby vymysleli, pretože si odmietajú pripustiť, že by ich nenávidení ľudia mohli v boji premôcť, a tak za každý jeden masaker musí byť zodpovedné niečo nadprirodzené. Toby Wick.

Inde by to, že Toby Wick je mýtus, bolo POINTOU celej knihy, ale tento príbeh je O OPAKOCH. Dostanete hrdinku, ktorá veľké tajomstvo Tobyho Wicka pozná už od začiatku a je na seba náramne pyšná, ako nie je - na rozdiel od všetkých ostatných - trápne zaslepená. A tak je to aj s príbehom, kde občas čakáte, že teraz to príde, teraz sa stane niečo dôležité... a ono sa... nestane nič. Aspoň naoko.

Viem si predstaviť, že sa o tomto dočítate v mnohých recenziách, keď kniha vyjde. Bude to samé: bolo to zmätočné, čakal som viac dobrodružstva, čakal som viac akcie, čakal som nejakú pointu. Pointou tejto knihy nie je koniec, ale cesta k nemu, a uvedomila som si to až vtedy, keď som ju čítala druhý raz a nesústredila sa len na to, čo sa deje, ale čo je tam vlastne napísané.

Strašne sa teším, až tú knihu uvidím aj naživo - ilustrácie sú FANTASTICKÉ a to, ako sú v nich použité farby, je úplne že oooch, a ktokoľvek vôbec dostal ten nápad knihu ilustrovať a dať ju ilustrovať práve tejto ilustrátorke, by si zaslúžil nejakú cenu.

Ani neviem, ako to zhrnúť. Ness nikdy nenapísal jednu knihu dvakrát a toto nie je výnimka - je to niečo nové, niečo iné, niečo absolútne svojské a bolo to potešenie prekladať.
Profile Image for Tijana.
763 reviews206 followers
December 27, 2020
Lepo je kod Patrika Nesa što se ne ponavlja i što smelo krmani vodama novih tema ili makar inventivnih obrada starih tema. "A okean beše naše nebo" je varijacija na Mobi Dika u kojoj jato kitova lovi i ubija ljude, a njihova prekaljena kapetanica Aleksandra opsesivno traga za čovekom koji ju je nekad davno ranio harpunom, po imenu... Tobi Vik.
Da, ako se čita s jedne određene strane, ova novela je beskrajno smešna.
S druge strane, i Melvil ume da bude beskrajno smešan, recimo kad posveti celo poglavlje tome kako kitovi nisu sisari nego ribe...
Uglavnom, Nes je vrlo brižljivo izgradio svoju parabolu, analogije sa Melvilom nisu klot mehaničke, Išmaelov pandan je uspešno oblikovan kao mlada ženka kita, Batšeba, i uopšte, ako izuzmemo imena, kitovi nisu preterano antropomorfizovani niti - što je jednako važno - ljigavo idealizovani. I neobičan odnos između Batšebe i zarobljenog čoveka relativno ubedljivo se pretvara u prijateljstvo. Nes je jedna nežna i romantična duša i to se na momente baš primeti, bilo je trenutaka kad sam se prisećala one ljubavne priče iz "Haosa koji hoda" koja je stvarno zalazila u gnjecavost, ali ovde se toga najvećim delom sačuvao. Čak je i završetak uspeo da donese izvesnu dozu iznenađenja.
Profile Image for Alison.
548 reviews3,686 followers
December 29, 2018
I thoroughly enjoyed this and thought it was such a unique retelling of Moby Dick (also grateful for the SMALL version of the story).
This is from the point of view of a whale (not going to lie, it took me an embarrassing amount of time to realize this) who is part of a hunting crew trying to find Toby Wick (ha ha).
I thought this gave us a great glance into the life of the whales, a nice mixture of fantasy and reality blending. To see how the whale began to understand the human was great, since it what we do to animals.
I liked the message of the book and the importance of fears and myths. I think if you have an hour or two, this is worth a read, plus the pictures are lovely and dark.
Profile Image for Tom Quinn.
552 reviews165 followers
December 22, 2020
Moby-Dick is impressive as an unfathomable force of nature, not as an angsty moralist with a melodramatic backstory.

2 stars. Mercifully brief. Recommended to nobody but Melville scholars and completionists with time to spare.
Profile Image for Rusty Grey.
143 reviews1 follower
September 7, 2018
2.5 stars

I'm gonna keep it short . I didn't like this very much . But the beautiful illustrations were exceptional . And I've given half stars for the illustrations alone .

And the Ocean Was Our Sky is Moby Dick's retelling . If I say anything more than this , then it would be a spoiler . There is a lot of symbolism , and I get the message what the author wants to convey . But for the most part this book was dull .

Patrick Ness' writing style is captivating . And the atmosphere created is fantastic too . If only the story and characters were better I'd have liked this more .

However the silver lining in this book were the illustrations . Look at these.

Simply stunning . I'm not gonna give up on Ness right now . Hopefully his other works are much better .
Profile Image for Alice-Elizabeth (Prolific Reader Alice).
1,157 reviews162 followers
October 12, 2018
T/W- Scenes of Drowning, Blood

Having read and hated the original Moby Dick novel a few months ago, I went into this with somewhat high expectations. This is a re-imagine from the POV of a whale. I like reading stories with animal POVs, however, this story didn't grasp me as much as I thought it would. Patrick's writing style is something I've experienced before and was left unsure whether I was interested in reading another one of his books. The saving grace for me was the beautiful illustrations by Rovina. It gave the storyline more of a visual impact which for me as a visual reader, stopped me from DNF'ing.

I won't be re-reading this one!
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