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Cam's quest to understand Big Blue leads him to new friends and shared adventures - but the truth, when he finds it, is more dangerous than ever he could have imagined.
'Follow the big blue'. That was the last thing Cam’s father said to him. Cam follows Big Blue - everybody does on the island of Cetacea. Their lives take place within his rules, delivered to them by enigmatic whale-talker, Byron Vos. Byron was once a marine scientist but is now organizing an epic clean-up operation to revive the ocean after centuries of human greed and neglect. And yet Cam wonders if there is a more complex truth. A truth that may be connected to his father's disappearance. Cam's quest to understand Big Blue leads him to new friends and shared adventures - but the truth, when he finds it, is more dangerous than ever he could have imagined.
Set in the near future on an island off Australia after catastrophic flooding, a community thinks it is ruled by the Blue Whale through its human interpreter, a man called Byron Vox. There are no books, photographs nor technology, apart from the big screen through which communication is made to the people. Cam's father has disappeared but, before he did so, urged his son to seek the truth.
Befriended by Banji, an Aboriginal boy, and Petra who lives outside the community, 13-year-old Cam endeavours to speak to the Blue Whale himself to find the truth, making a daring trip to the sea which is barricaded off from the rest of the island called Cetacea. Bryon adopts and seeks to use Cam but truth does prevail in an exciting and totally original story.
Day of the Whale is an astounding book in many ways. In the first few chapters, until the setting is established, it is difficult to understand that people would believe they were ruled by a Blue Whale but, as the story progresses, the hold of one man and the lies they are being told emerge. Looking back at history, of course this has happened before, and one can see how other men have held sway over a population.
The way in which the workers are organised and the work they do, particularly farming kelp to help fuel the world, are clearly and starkly described and the way in which the population is controlled is frighteningly credible. Underlying the whole story is the damage being done to our environment by climate change and our own actions. Young people of 12+ will find this engrossing story paints a picture of a society that is the stuff of nightmares.
336 pages, Reviewed by Janet Fisher, school librarian
Suggested Reading Age 14+