- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Orbit; Reprint edition (November 7, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 031646984X
- ISBN-13: 978-0316469845
- Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 57 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #254,728 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Ship Paperback – November 7, 2017
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"A remarkable debut novel - powerful, haunting, and beautiful."
―M. R. Carey, author of The Girl With All the Gifts
"Thoughtful and luminous . . . [A] powerful debut novel . . . it's a provocative novel with difficult questions about the fundamental nature how people choose to live their lives."―Los Angeles Times on The Ship
"Honeywell's lyrical descriptions of Lalla's thoughts and the ship itself are haunting . . . . will appeal to lovers of psychological speculative fiction."―Publishers Weekly
"Honeywell's dystopian coming-of-age tale is challenging and intense...A solid YA crossover"―Library Journal on The Ship
"Honeywell's assured debut is an exercise in noose-tightening tension and lyrical prose."―Barnes and Noble Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog
"Honeywell's eloquent tale raises thought-provoking questions about the difficult task of growing up, no matter the time or place: What do you do when the people you trust will no longer listen to you? What do you do when they're wrong?"―The Washington Post
"As engrossing as it is chilling, this potent first novel fuses an apocalyptic coming of age story with a fierce interrogation of what it means to be truly alive."
"The Ship is tense, engaging and emotionally charged: I devoured this novel."
―Helen Dunmore, author of The Lie
"Honeywell's debut is ambitious and well written and provides endless possibilities for debate."
About the Author
Antonia Honeywell studied English at Manchester University and worked at the Natural History and Victoria and Albert Museums in London, running creative writing workshops and education programmes for children, before training as a teacher. During her ten years teaching English, drama and film studies, she wrote a musical, and a play which was performed at the Edinburgh Festival. She has four young children and lives in Buckinghamshire. The Ship is her first novel.
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Lala is heartbroken and depressed in the majority of her narration of the book. I just can’t bring myself to like her, or even to sympathize with her. She is so oddly inarticulate in her actual dialogue, which while in some ways does make sense considering her upbringing, makes it that much harder for the reader to truly connect with her. The pacing is really slowed down by her introspection and the lack of real relationships just makes it that much harder to foster a connection. The cultish nature of the ship itself and its society is disturbing in its own way, and never really addressed. I really think that its heart, this is a great idea, but the main character just spoils it for me. She isn’t convincing as a voice of reason, as she is so unreasonable in so many ways… And the “romance” didn’t work for me at all, either – honestly, the more I think about the book, the less that I like it and the more I am surprised that I even finished it!
Lalla’s life in London was nothing short of isolation. With the money her father made designing the government program that, in essence, controlled the lives of the citizens, her parents were able to protect her and keep her fed and housed and coccooned. Her only interaction with the outside world was daily trips with her mother, past the tent city in Regent’s Park, the starving homeless on the streets, the daily arrests, to the British Museum. There, her mother would share their rations with for the homeless squatting amongst the exhibits and Lalla would study the exhibits and learn about a world that no longer existed.
Onboard the ship of plenty, Lalla should have been happy, and grateful; but she is neither. Incidents that took place before they set sail have left her haunted and grieving and full of questions. No one seems to know where the ship is headed, nor do they care. Her father is openly adored by the people, he is their savior; their unquestioning devotion to him makes him into this creepy cult leader that made me cringe every time someone called him “Father”. His explanation of how the unneccessary parts of a pineapple are cut away, keeping only the "best" is quite telling. There are other instances of weird that make both Lalla and the reader shudder, keeping the anxiety level high.
Even after Lalla falls in love, she still questions her happiness, her situation, her father. People call her a spoilt brat and ungrateful which, to me, makes perfect sense; these people remember the life before the end of the world and this ship has saved them from certain death had they remained in London. They never want to go back, they don’t want any connection with the world they left behind.
It’s a shorter book than what you can find on the shelves these days and that is a good thing. With each chapter, the reader expects the big reveal or a powerful interruption in paradise, but is instead given more reason to dislike Lalla. We get Lalla’s discontent and sixteen year-old roller coaster ride of emotion, but no real event brings this all to a head until the very last chapter. True, there are incidents that build more suspicion, creating even more tension. Unfortunately, when we finally get all the answers about the ship, there is a good chance that most readers will have already guessed them.
And then there is the ending. Without getting too spoilerish, Lalla is a total idiot and I truly don’t understand her.
So, The Ship might be for some readers, but I found it depressing and exhausting. I felt all the edgy build up was a waste of energy and the ending made me want to throw the book across the room. The author is a good writer who paints powerful and haunting images and her book definitely has an Orwellian influence but I needed more. A ship of unquestioning zombie-like cult followers could have used more doubters or rebels other than Lalla but instead we got more disciples weirdly willing to throw away their identity and follow their Father. That ship needed more contention among the content.