Monday, 29 October 2018

The Girl The Cat, and the Navigator by Matilda Woods and Anusker Allepuz (Children's, 9 years +, 10E/10E)

 1st November 2018, Scholastic, 260 pages, Paperback, Review copy 

Summary from Scholastic
 Afloat on the wild waves, can Oona spot the sky whale who swims past the stars at night…? For years, pin-bright Oona has dreamed of setting sail with her father, a ship’s captain. And while he’s away on his voyages, she devours stories of a fabled beast: the Nardoo, who swims amid the moon and stars at night. So when she stows away on a whaling boat bound for the ice-caps of the North, the stage is set for an adventure full of myths and marvels. There’s a plucky girl, and a cat, and a navigator. But where is the Nardoo? Is it real? Will Oona ever find out?

Nayu's thoughts
Covers and titles usually create the first impression of a book to the reader. I saw both and my interest was sparked because I adore my cat and going on an adventure with her would be simply awesome. I had a bit of an idea of what the book may be like, this ended up being incorrect. From the synopsis I felt there would be a lot of hardships for Oona, which is true, but there is certainly some humour every now and then plus some positive moments that made it an incredible read that I couldn't put down. 

Oona's family background means that she is resented and unwanted. She is nothing like her siblings and when the worst case scenario happens she literally flees in the opposite direction. I expected the story to get to her adventure quickly, but instead it was slowly narrated - I mean this in a good way. The events weren't slow, but what happened provided background for all the characters and helped me love Oona, the cat, and the navigator even more. Oona is certainly spunky for being a stowaway - I wish her father had been kinder to her, but thank goodness someone else is. I also thought that the cat would be her cat, and would love her a lot. Neither of those were true until the end. 

There's a magical side of Oona's world, with mystery creatures kind of like unicorns, evil ones intent on doing damage (I think it was a kracken, and it made me smile because that's what happened to the cast of the video game Ys 8 which I'm currently playing). The magic and the reason behind the Northern Lights phenomenon blew my mind, and breathtaking doesn't describe how those scenes made me feel. What the houses are made of is totally creepy and you wouldn't catch me staying at Oona's home!

There were many tense moments, where I didn't know how Oona would survive. Personally I think she is part cat, using up some of her 9 lives like the cat does who she ends up with: the cats are closely linked to their ships, if a ship sinks then the cat loses a life. Poor cat! Although I was annoyed it didn't like Oona straight away, the way it eventually helps when circumstances become life and death made me love him and want him to be my cat. 

I hate being on a boat and near any expanse of water but I love finding out about all the ins and outs of ships. This was something I got to discover through Oona's on board life, without loads of terms that I've never heard of, and it fitted my idea of what a ship like Oona's fathers' would be like. 

There are a lot of plot twists, most I remained oblivious to until the last minute. I had a theory about Oona which didn't actually turn out to be true, however much I wished it would, but the ending made my dream come true. Oona's childhood may have been awful, but her future looks extremely bright at the end of the book, something I had no idea how it could happen, not even when I knew all the characters. Trust me when I say you'll hate her biological family the more you read about them. Well, hate is a strong word, you will feel sorry that they are greedy, selfish, and narrow minded. It feels like her siblings get what they deserve, in my view. 

Be sure to check out Matilda's website for more info! 

Suggested read
For a series which is sea orientated (this time with a real mermaid) try The Tail of Emily Windsnap by Liz Kessler (Children's, 9 years +, 10/10 ) 

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