The Last Whale
by Chris Vick
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Pub Date 04 Aug 2022 | Archive Date 04 Aug 2022
Head of Zeus, Zephyr
From killers to conservationists, Carnegie-shortlisted Chris Vick tells the story of three generations of the Kristensen family, their history as whale hunters and later their mission to save the great whales and our planet.
Summer, the Present
Fiery and fierce, computer geek and eco-activist, Abi is holidaying with her grandmother on an island off the Norwegian coast. Having developed and befriended an AI device, Moonlight, she hopes to organise a global protest. On the island, she learns her great-grandfather rejected the family's whaling livelihood, instead creating the first whale song recording. Inspired by him, Abi and Moonlight translate the whales' songs and discover their stories. Whales are under threat, their numbers rapidly dwindling. Abi is determined to help.
Autumn, 30 years later
The world's ecosystems are collapsing. There is no sight or sound of whales. Abi, her daughter, Tonje, and a now almost conscious Moonlight live on an isolated island in the Atlantic. They search for any sign of whales, but so far there is only silence.
Winter, the Future
Tonje's search was not in vain. Despite climate crisis and the threat of extinction, there is always hope for the future, as nature and technology combine in a captivating, action-packed adventure with a powerful environmental call to arms.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 20 members
Thank you so much Head of Zeus for inviting me to read the arc of The Last whale by Chris Vick in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.
The Last Whale is a top MG / low YA story that tells the story of three generations of the Kristensen family, from whale hunters to missionaries to save the great whales and our planet. We meet Abi as a fierce teenage activist, as she is obliged to spend the summer with her family at her grandmother’s home on an island off the Norwegian coast. Abi along with the AI ‘Moonlight’ that she has ‘borrowed’ with the hope of organising a global protest, but on the island Abi learns more about her family’s history and inspired by her great-grandfather’s rejection of whaling and recording of whale songs, she learns more about whales, their songs and criticality to Earth’s future.
This book is written in such a way that it is perfectly toned to early teen awareness, understanding and experience of the world today. It’s definitely not a read for the beach, but what it does is deliver a well crafted story across the generations from Abi’s great-grandfather through to Abi’s daughter Tonje and her daughter.
A multi-generational story that carries a key message about our environment, the impact of humankind and how there is still hope for the future, that even in the depths of despair, hope and possibility are there.
Vick is brutally honest and factual regarding our negative impact on the environment and doesn’t shy away from politics and business as drivers for the delay in our response to the message, but he also delivers an engaging and captivating story that immerses you, and had you teetering on the edge, hoping and wanting a positive outcome. This is definitely an environmental call to arms that 12+ will embrace and empathise with…a great read with a powerful core message that should not be ignored.
The target of this book are very young people but I think it should be read by people of all ages as we need to know what are the risks and what will happen when there's only silence.
There's a realistic description of what is happening and will happen but there's also hope.
And hope is what can makes wish that the whales will sing for a long time.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
As always I want to start by saying that I was given an ARC of this to review. My review is honest and left voluntarily. Thank you to The Head of Zeus and Netgalley for giving me access to this.
A beautiful, heart-breaking and poignant top middle grade to low young adult novel that will speak to any age range. I have no shame to say that I became very emotional upon finishing this book. A book I feel needs to be not only in school curriculum but something everyone needs to read and acknowledge before it is too late. Chris Vick tells the tale of The Last whale over three generations of the Kristensen family.
Told in part through the eyes of a fierce teen Abi, transcending to Abi’s hopeful daughter Tonje thirty years later and the start of Tonje’s daughter we follow the world to nearly the end of world’s echo system as we know it. The writing style is easy to follow and engaging for a younger audience but as a woman in her thirties it was still deeply touching. It is a beautiful story of hope and faith despite the odds. Of fighting for what is right in a world where corporations and businesses put profit before the world we live in. You need only look at the events of recent years that are beginning to plague us to see just how important fiction like this is for future generations.
That isn’t to say this is some woke agenda with no heart. The characters are layered, complex and believable. We experience the change in Abi from the fierce eco-warrior to jaded adult trying to keep that hope alive. This is juxtaposed by Tonje’s hopefulness and belief. A belief that had been once mirrored by Abi’s sister Teagan. This is why I feel that while the intended audience may be teen that even those older will find something to resonate with. The inclusion of Moonlight, although an AI, was also beautifully done. Seeing how the work and passions of those humans around it helped the AI awaken to full consciousness was a lovely touch.
It is a beautiful book that I would hope evokes emotions in all who read it, whether that be anger at those in power who do little to listen or help or hopefulness for the future. Perhaps a mixture of both. The ending in particular I enjoyed that instilled a message of hope, the same hope and wonder we had seen from Tig, Tonje and later Astrid. Of a better world and a world that was slowly beginning to repair itself.
I will honestly be recommending this book to any one who will listen. With it’s message being needed more now than ever before.
Again, an absolutely gripping read from Chris Vick! The book itself is not my usual go to read….I prefer fantasy but I really enjoyed Girl, Boy, Sea by Chris Vick and thought I’d give it a go……and I’m glad I did!
The story follows Abi, a highly intelligent young girl who is very passionate about the climate and is forced to go on holiday with her family to see relatives in Norway. Whilst in Norway, Abi finds old tapes of her great grandfathers whale watching wand with the help of her AI, they translate what the whales are saying.
The adventure goes from past to present and then to the future and follows Abi and the AI and how they try to find the last whale.
Brilliant story line and very apt for our time right now and hopefully will encourage us all to change what we can now.
I have to admit that when I was approached by the publisher with an invite to read an arc of this book I didn't know what to think. Being an animal lover I was incredibly uncomfortable with the fact that the family centred around this story were whalers. I usually steer clear of anything with hunting and brutal killing o animals as much as possible - I can't even watch the charity TV adverts. But after reading the back blurb and doing what I usually don't do ( seeing what other reviewers thought on Netgalley and Goodreads I thought to give it a go, as this is essentially about a family turning around and moving past their murderous pasts and trying all in their power to help to save the whales in the future.
I am pleased I read it, it's completely different to what I usually pick up, but I am pleased I took a leap out of my comfort zone. I can't say I loved it or that it was for me, but I can't deny that it is completing reading and raising a lot of questions on how we preserve what we have before we lose it.
I doubt it's aimed at a 30+-year-old woman, but more for young adults/coming of age kids aged around the 12+ mark, I think that that generation will appreciate certain things far more than I did, but I can't deny that's it cast a light on the important things in life and what humans have done to our beautiful yet fragile planet.
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