The Night Ship by Jess Kidd



Based on a real-life event, an epic historical novel from the award-winning author of Things in Jars that illuminates the lives of two characters: a girl shipwrecked on an island off Western Australia and, three hundred years later, a boy finding a home with his grandfather on the very same island. 

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…​

With her trademark “thrilling, mysterious, twisted, but more than anything, beautifully written” (Graham Norton, New York Times bestselling author) storytelling, Jess Kidd weaves a unputdownable and charming tale of friendship and sacrifice, brutality and forgiveness.



Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Night Ship by Jess Kidd

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Reads like a fun, adventurous sea tale, my favorite sort of book. I’d recommend it to anyone, especially for the historical aspect of what may be lesser knowings of the Batavia, makes for an interesting book club pick for historical and cultural reference.

Thank you to Book Club Favorites at Simon & Schuster for the free copy for review.

Expected publication: October 18, 2022.

The Story
Imaginative sequence, dream-like quality. It tells a dual timeline, in which paths may meet somewhere in the middle.

Fantastical elements. Really brought out the richness in what became a fluid approach to the struggles and celebrations at sea, as well as the internal, more personal reflections on life, growing up, making memories, bonding and attachment, fears, grief, reconciliation, hope, maturity, desires, and growth.

The Writing
The style was fitting for each aspect of dual timeline. Felt connected to each characters as age and life stage was presented. At times a little less distinguished, but culture and outlook may have been shared to the least, where overlap may have certainly been fitting.

Loved the integration of sailing vernacular.

Somewhat direct. Occasionally subtle in message.

There were bits of modern outlook and humor sprinkled though out which brought out the adventurous spin in the story, as well as modern day identification to the circumstances as well as the character.

I loved the humorous bits.

The adventurous parts was where it was at.

At times it was a bit slow in motion with some mundane detail that I didn’t care so much about, particularly where the slower bits may have been better represented at points in sailing where the real boredom would come to pass and the writing to match the storyline could have more easily reflected that rather than an overabundance of details in most every scene.

I grow tired easily of too many descriptors, it’s just not my preference, but wasn’t too distracting other than my impatience to breeze ahead and hit more of the action highlights and depth of story moving forward rather than just meddling around.

Narration and dialogue was fitting for each perspective, at times, again occasionally less distinguishable, but minor.

The magical realism and reactions were fun to explore along with each character. Fed into the mysterious under dwellings, particularly those associated with the deepest secrets of the ship.

I will definitely look forward to reading more from this author.

View all my reviews

<span class="uppercase">Hello, I'm Erica </span>
Hello, I’m Erica

Recipe developer, book reviewer, and artist. Expect delicious recipes both traditional and new, book reviews of all sorts of genres, a variety of creative expression, life musings, and much more!



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