Format: eBook (NetGalley)
Published: 19th February 2015
Synopsis taken from Goodreads:
Children of Men meets The Handmaiden’s Tale: a dystopian epic about love, friendship and what it means to be free.
Welcome to London, but not as you know it.
Oxford Street burned for three weeks
The British Museum is squatted by ragtag survivors
The Regent’s Park camps have been bombed
The Nazareth Act has come into force. If you can’t produce your identity card, you will be shot.
Lalla, 16, has grown up sheltered from the new reality by her visionary father, Michael Paul. But now the chaos has reached their doorstep. Michael has promised Lalla and her mother that they will escape. Escape is a ship big enough to save 500 people.
But only the worthy will be chosen.
Once on board, as day follows identical day, Lalla’s unease grows.
Where are they going?
What does her father really want?
This was a really hard book for me to rate. There were elements that I really enjoyed, and things that just didn’t work for me.
The story focuses around Lalla, a teenage girl living in a world completely destroyed by society. Nothing is as it used to be. Her father, Michael, has prepared a ship – a sort of ‘safe haven’ in which specially selected people can live together. They all sail away from London, with high hopes and dreams for the future, especially Lalla.
For me personally the strongest part of the book was the writing style. It is really beautifully written, the prose just flows from one page to the next. Each scene is described in such vivid detail that you feel like you are really there. The only downside to this was that occasionally it felt slightly repetitive. A paragraph was written and then re-described using a different sense or emotion. There wasn’t anything wrong with this, I just felt like it slowed the novel down slightly.
I enjoyed the premise of The Ship and it did question my judgements. I often thought to myself – what would I do? I didn’t always agree with Lalla, although I think this worked. She is a well-portrayed teenager in my opinion – irritating, selfish and hopeful all at once. Lalla deals with a particularly turbulent life – I had a definite love-hate relationship with her. I can think of a few students that I teach who would relate with her.
There were a few parts of the novel that really didn’t work for me. Firstly, Tom – Lalla’s love interest. Their relationship irritated me. Lalla seemed to really dislike Tom, yet thought about him and fantasised about their life together constantly. He was just so plain and dull, there was nothing interesting about him. Maybe this was the intention – a slave within Michael’s ‘cult’ perhaps?
The Ship is also very character-driven. Not a lot actually happens on the ship, which is a real shame. I really wanted (and I suppose expected) lots of action here. Sadly, this didn’t happen and I was left feeling a little disappointed.
The cliff-hanger ending was good. I didn’t see it coming and it seems to have been left open for a possible sequel?
Overall, it was a good, beautifully written debut. There just wasn’t enough action for me, too much focus placed on character development.