by BuffaloGirlKS: In 1628, 9-year-old motherless Mayken is on ship Batavia sailing from Holland to the Dutch East Indies and her wealthy merchant father. Inquisitive and bright, Mayken explores the ship, learns about the sailing life, makes friends among the different classes of passengers, and avoids those with malice for her and others. Dressing as a cabin boy, she searches the bowels of the ship for the monster the sailors say lives there. In 1989, 9-year-old motherless Gil arrives to live with his grandfather on desolate Beacon Island off the coast of Western Australia, where the Batavia shipwrecked on its maiden voyage 150 plus years earlier.
Alternating chapters between each child’s experiences, the story propels through Mayken’s voyage and Gil’s acclimation to the island. While Mayken’s voyage focuses on finding the monster and dealing with her nursemaid’s illness, Gil’s acclimation is complicated by a scientific excavation of the shipwreck, the rumor that a ghost roams the island, and a feud between Gil’s grandfather and another fisherman.
Kidd’s writing is gorgeous; I was repeatedly stopping and writing down a phrase or paragraph that I wanted to save. She moves seamlessly between the children’s experiences and heighten the reader’s tension for each until the book comes to its dramatic conclusion. The Night Ship is a spectacular read.