Cover Image: The Night Ship

The Night Ship

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

This was a beautifully written and heartbreaking novel. Told through two timelines one in 1629 and the other in 1989 the novel is based on a true story. The 1629 timeline follows Mayken as she travels on the ship the Batavia for the dutch East Indies and the 1989 timeline follows Gil who is a lonely orphan sent to live with his grandfather on the island where the Batavia eventually ship wrecks. The story follows each character and brings the two timelines together. The story is both heartbreaking and lovely and speaks volumes to human resiliency.

Was this review helpful?

Unfortunately, at 18% in, I am going to have to DNF this one. I am having a hard time getting into the story and the two different timelines. I really wanted to like this one but it’s just not grabbing and holding my attention.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to @netgalley and @atriabooks for the eARC of The Night Ship. This cover is stunning and you guys know I love a good historical fiction.

Because I couldn’t get this one read in time for pub day (October 4) I actually listened to this one via audiobook 🎧 from my library.

This book is an historical fiction novel about the real life story of the Batavia, a ship from 1629 with an infamous past. As told by a girl on the actual ship and then a boy, in 1989, as he is surrounded by the people excavating and trying to preserve parts of the shipwreck.

I’d never heard of the Batavia, but I imagine it’s more Australian lore, since it took place off the coast of their shores.

Was this review helpful?

I absolutely loved this book! The Night Ship is the story of two children set 300 years apart and the trauma and turmoil they both endure. This book will make you gasp, cry and you will not want to put it down.

Was this review helpful?

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

I love stories with non-linear timelines, and the structure of this book was wonderful. This book alternates between a progression of Mayken's journey on the Batavia ship in the 17th century, and Gil's stay on a remote coral island off Australia in 1989, where we learn details about his traumatic past. The two stories converge in subtle ways, and I expected there to be some fantasy/magical element but I was actually happy there was not.

I also somehow didn't realize that the events of the Batavia's journey were all based on a true story, and only found out after finishing the book and reading the author's acknowledgements- it definitely hit me then how dark that part of the story was. Though, Gil's story with his mother was also extremely sad. The reviewers who called this book "haunting" were definitely right.

I think I only wish there had been more of an emotional, sob-your-eyes-out moment when reading this, rather than the empty hollow feeling of reading all this dark stuff through the eyes of children. Overall, it was a memorable read.

Was this review helpful?

(3.5 stars rounded up to 4)

Two separate stories of two young, troubled children cross paths on the same island 350 years apart.

Knowing that <u>The Night Ship</u> was based on the true, horrifying events following the shipwreck of the Batavia did have an affect on my final rating. At first, the Mayken chapters were a little dry, but they soon became my favorite. Kidd often seemed to account some gore/nasty details a little too fanatically for my taste, and the middle of the book dragged a bit, but overall this was a very unique historical fiction novel that is difficult to compare to anything else I've ever read. I did enjoy that the entire story was told from the perspective of two children, even though it's a story written for an adult audience. There were a few times when Mayken's and Gil's perspectives/knowledge of things weren't always that believable, but their voices did seem mostly authentic.

Was this review helpful?

My sincerest thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

Dual story lines tell a tale of a young girl on doomed ship in 1629, and young boy trying to adjust to life with his grandfather after his mother’s death on an island off the Western Australia coast.

I loved the way these two storylines worked together. Hardship in common, these two had difficult times in learning how to survive, surrounded by characters, mostly unlikeable, that are well-drawn and developed. The events they struggle through are striking and so impactful; ones that takes all they have not to break them.

Based on a real shipwreck, JK has crafted an endearing story that will stay with you for a while. Brilliant writing and so glad I read this one.

Was this review helpful?

I’ve enjoyed the author’s previous books but found this to be a slog. The characters, the writing, and the dual timeline did not work for me.

Was this review helpful?

The book was set in two time periods. The 1629 shipwreck/mutiny was based on a true story. As far as I know, the 1989 story was entirely invented. This is one of those books that made me wish that I was reading a nonfiction account of the 1629 events (and skipped the modern story). I like the author’s writing style so I will probably read her next book, but I wasn’t crazy about this one. Too many mythical monsters and weird children. “Himself” was much more my style. 3.5 stars

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

Was this review helpful?

Historical Fiction with a bit of supernatural.

I was prepared to love this one but just barely liked it.

It felt really disconnected to me with the two main characters being so far apart in time. One character being adventurous and positive and one being beaten down by the world on a daily basis.

I really struggled through most of this audiobook. It felt a bit like a fantasy novel but without any cool parts. I'm not sure that the storyline meshed well with the mixture of genres.

Was this review helpful?

Jess Kidd continues to deliver absolutely stunning novels. The dual stories here of two young people, hundreds of years apart, are horrifying and gripping. The historical and modern settings are not the usual choices and create a fascinating ambience from start to finish.

Highly recommended.

Was this review helpful?

I was very intrigued by the premise of this book! We enter two time periods, the first being 1629 as we follow a young girl who is traveling on the Batavia to the Dutch East Indies. The second time period is 1989 as we follow a young boy and his life on the coast of Western Australia where seasonal fishing happens.

I was most interested in the historical aspect of the Batavia on her maiden voyage from Amsterdam. The girl, Mayken, believes in some magical elements like small children do and seeks them out as she explores the ship. There is something looming over the ship and time will tell the story. This story itself was well told and super interesting. Although it did get a bit confusing at the end with the many characters. Ultimately I ended up reading the details on the internet after finishing the book.

The 1989 POV I literally cared nothing about and got completely bored with Gil and the lack of storyline. These two storylines were not well integrated even by the end of the book.

So I enjoyed every other chapter and drudged through the other ones getting to a point of scanning it for any pertinent information.

Thank you to NetGalley and Atria Books for the e-copy of this book.

Was this review helpful?

This beautiful book tells the parallel stories of two children separated by more than 300 years but tied together by sinking of the Batavia. in 1629.

In 1628 Mayken sets sail for the Dutch East Indies on the ship Batavia with her nursemaid. She passes time by exploring the lower ship decks she has been forbidden to enter. There she learns about the imaginary Bullebak that haunts the ship.

In the 1980's, Gil comes to live with his grandfather on the island where the Batavia hit coral reefs and sank. Gil becomes obsessed with the story of the shipwreck and the girl who is memorialized with the Raggedy Tree.

Through alternating chapters, Jess Kidd masterfully tells the mirrored stories of these two children as they navigate through their new lives. I was unable to put this book down, and the story will stay with me for a long time.

Do not skip the author's note at the end of the book.

Thank you, Atria Books and Net Galley for providing me with a review copy of this book. The opinions expressed are my own.

Was this review helpful?

This book wasn't fun or enjoyable but that doesn't mean it was a bad book it was just heavy and bleak and that's probably more true than anything else anyway. I just didn't fall into the story as much as I wanted to. Perhaps the settings were just too unfamiliar or their life struggles to separate from mine. I don't think it was the author's fault, it just wasn't the book for me. But I didn't struggle to read it. It was well written. The characters were fully developed the settings were vibrant. Overall a good book just not a story I connected with.

Was this review helpful?

The Night Ship half takes place on the Batavia, a real life ship back in the early 1600s, and half on an island off the coast of Australia, at Batavia’s wreck site in 1989. The story is from the perspective of two 9 year old kids, 3 centuries apart.

I really wanted to enjoy this book. I like challenging myself with books in the genres outside my comfort zone. And a lot of the time, I really enjoy reading them. However this time it wasn’t as good of a match.

This is a very well written, very strong and very sad story. I just couldn’t connect with it enough. However, I’m still really glad to have read this book and find out more about a shipwreck I previously hadn’t heard of. And there are some parts of this that will stay with me for a while.

+ This was a really well written book, both in the way it was woven together and in terms of literary prowess. I highlighted so many quotes.
+ I REALLY enjoyed the folklore in this book. I loved not being able to tell what was real vs imagined. This was helped by the fact that the main characters were kids, making it even harder to tell the difference.
+ I found the parallels between the timelines very interesting. The two main characters have a lot in common. I kept looking for different similarities and ways they could be connected.
+ There are many very compelling characters in this book. All of them flawed, some of them irredeemably so.

- This is a very dour at times tragic story, especially in one of the timelines. This combined with the fact that it’s also very slow, makes it difficult to want to keep turning the pages. At any given time I was only interested in one of the timelines.
- Sadly most of the things I found intriguing didn’t end up getting resolved or really meaning much for the overall story.

Thank you so much to Atria and NetGalley for the eARC!

Was this review helpful?

WOW.. I mean WOW.. This book is my first by this author. It is a very intense and sad story. Actually it's two stories in one. One is in 1628-29 and the other in 1989. So many years apart. It's kind of like the later year is history repeating itself in ways. Although it's about the people from the ship Batavia. The child in particular.


A little nine year old girl named Mayken... What she went through after losing her mom and being sent to her father whom she has never met. Headed to Australia. What happens on this ship and after it wrecks is horrible. It's very sad. Not in a cry your eyes out way, though you probably will in places, but in a how horrible that this really happened kind of way. The things that these people went through trying to survive. The horrors and the many many deaths.

A young, nine year old boy Gil.. He lost his mother. He was sent to his grandpa, the only family he had left. This young boy is a free spirit. His mother never really gave him anything except to let him be who he was. Unrestricted it seems. He could dress and act however he wanted. He was not given things like cars or trucks. Or anything that most normal boys had. He had an imagination though and that could come to hurt him in this new faraway land.

Mayken is said to be a ghost on the island where Gil lives. The people of the island believe it. He knows that there was a ship that wrecked many years ago and that there are possible bones and treasures buried on the island. The people on the island are not very kind to Gil. They think him strange. Especially some of the young boys and their dad.

You will love both Mayken and Gil. Also Gil's pet turtle Enkidu. He's a very old turtle that Gil loves and takes the best care of. Gil and his grandpa go through a lot before they actually become friends but once they do it's a great relationship.

There are quite a few characters in this story but not confusing to keep up with. The only problem I had was pronouncing their names. Boy they were tough ones. Some of these characters are so likable and some not so much. Some are downright cruel and horrid. Some are compassionate and caring. Things will happen that will make you cringe. Make you sad and possible cry. Toward the end I was ugly crying. But it's still a good story. One I'm so glad I read. I did not know anything about this era. This ship and these people. Now I've learned something new and I love that.

Thank you #NetGalley, #JessKidd, #Atria for this ARC. This is my own true thoughts about this book.

5 huge stars and a very high recommendation.

Was this review helpful?

The Night Ship follows two characters in two very different timelines who end up on the same island off the coast of Australia. I thought this was such a unique story and really didn’t expect the supernatural elements that came along with Mayken’s story and her love of adventure, but provided an interesting plot to keep me reading. I definitely did struggle a bit with some of the writing that felt repetitive and the descriptions were difficult to picture. The book just felt a little long for me, but I’ve heard such wonderful things about this book, so I know it’s well loved by many people even if it didn’t work for me personally.

Thank you to Jess Kidd, Atria and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you for the advanced copy of this book! I will be posting my review on social media, to include Instagram, Amazon, Goodreads, and Instagram!

Was this review helpful?

Based on a true story this book captured the lives of the people who were traveling on the ship Batavia. It was heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time as the characters were developed and became more familiar. I thoroughly appreciated this book!

Was this review helpful?

I really enjoyed Jess Kidd's novel, Mr. Flood's Last Resort, and was excited to get an early copy of The Night Ship. While the writing was fantastic, and the concept fascinating (mixing supernatural elements with a true story), I struggled to get through this book due to slow pacing, repetitive events in Mayken's story, and disconnect from the characters. Mayken and Gil have a lot of similarities even though they are from very different time periods: both young children lost their mothers, encounter dangers, chase a supernatural element, and have overall tough lives during the book. I wish that the book was a bit more uplifting, though I'm sure the author wanted to be true to the horrors of what it was like on the Batavia, but with how discouraging the story was it had me a bit discouraged to read. I can see other readers enjoying this book, especially those who enjoy historical fiction (not my favorite genre), it just wasn't for me.

Was this review helpful?