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The Ship of Cloud and Stars by Amy Raphael

Title: The Ship of Cloud and Stars

A boy in green and blue and a girl in blue and red stand on a ship sailing through the sea. The Ship of  Cloud and Stars by Amy Raphael.

Author: Amy Raphael

Genre: Historical Fiction

Publisher: Hachette Australia/Orion

Published: 11th January 2022

Format: Paperback

Pages: 340

Price: $15.99

Synopsis: From the acclaimed author of The Forest of Moon and Sword comes a high-seas adventure for readers 9+. Join Nico on her quest to change the world…

Nico Cloud desperately wants to be an explorer, but her parents think adventures aren’t for girls. Fate intervenes when Nico chases a kitten on board a ship . . . and then the ship sails out to sea!


Lucky for her, the ship belongs to a famous scientist who is on a quest for new discoveries. But clouds are brewing overhead and cunning pirates are determined to wreck the crew’s mission. Can Nico steer the ship to victory and prove her parents wrong?



Amy Raphael’s new book again celebrates the women throughout history who have been ignored or written out, and allows them to have adventures and tell their stories, and create their own fates, which is really exciting, and opens up a new way of storytelling – a storytelling where more voices can be heard. In The Ship of Cloud and Stars starts with Nico, forced into certain roles at home, and treated like she isn’t as good as her brothers. She feels like she can’t do anything right, and is fascinated by science, education, and her aunt – so when she hears her aunt’s ship is returning, she plans to run away and see her. But Nico doesn’t count on following a cat on board, and becoming an accidental stowaway! It’s here that her adventure seeking a great discovery that everyone thinks lives in a myth.

But as Nico settles into life on the Anthos and makes friends with Etienne and Matteo, a silent threat – pirates – is discovered, following them as they seek the new discovery that will change things – so Nico’s aunt says.  Pursued by the pirates, the crew, Nico and her new friends, and Astra, the cat, try to outsmart the pirates.

Nico’s story is beautifully written – from her despondency in her family home, where she feels pushed aside, to finding her new home on the ship. It feels genuine and relatable – these days, it could be more that someone like Nico feels like nobody understands anything, until you find the people who understand you – like finding your best friend, for example. Nico’s story mirrors this and the way women were once viewed and seen in history, and allows Nico and her aunt to poke their tongue out at what society expects of them (metaphorically), and prove that just because they are women, doesn’t mean they can only sit at home, embroider, and have kids. This shows readers of all ages that not all women throughout history followed exactly what society, their families, and everyone around them expected of them – that there were some who were their own person and seen as ‘outside the norm’ at the time.

It’s an exciting story, with fun and action on every page, leaping off the page, and making it feel like you’re right there with them in the book – which is always something I enjoy as it makes the story truly engrossing and brings it to life in magical ways. These sorts of books are fun, and empowering – it shows that any of us are capable of achieving our goals in whatever way works for us through the social lens of the nineteenth century and expectations of women at the time. I love that the books Amy is writing centre women, their experiences and their skills, talents, knowledge, and passions. It is wonderful to see and I think these books will have a wide appeal, as people seek to understand each other more these days.

I’m looking forward to what Amy comes up with next. She writes lovely stand alones that are linked through the theme of women empowering themselves. I love these kinds of stories, and look forward to more!

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