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The Beast of Cretacea

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4.02  ·  Rating details ·  329 ratings  ·  79 reviews
When seventeen-year-old Ishmael wakes up from stasis aboard the Pequod, he is amazed by how different this faraway planet is from the dirty, dying, Shroud-covered Earth he left behind. But Ishmael isn’t there to marvel at the fresh air, sunshine, and endless blue ocean. He’s there to work, risking his life to hunt down great ocean-dwelling beasts to harvest and send back to the r ...more
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published October 13th 2015 by Candlewick Press
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Nathan You heard wrong. Moby Dick by Melville is easy to read- it's just slow going. Make your 'story telling' choices on what you get out of it.
I can…more
You heard wrong. Moby Dick by Melville is easy to read- it's just slow going. Make your 'story telling' choices on what you get out of it.
I can watch a movie in an hour and a half yet it took me weeks to read Moby Dick. I feel good about having read this on different levels; but it took me too long. Maybe you'll do better than I.
Different levels might include:
Moby Dick is partly just a fishing story about some guys on a boat
It's partly a history lesson about culture of working class America long ago
It's partly an epic adventure/ struggle about puny humans fighting for survival against nature
It's partly existential pondering about religion and man's approach to God
Some tell me it's about sexual awakening; (I missed that)
Moby Dick is sort of a fairy-tale too
You should probably read BOTH Cretacea/Strasser and Moby/Melville. If you do, please report and contrast the stories for us here. (less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.02  · 
Rating details
 ·  329 ratings  ·  79 reviews


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L
Sep 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Seventeen-year-old Ishmael has volunteered for a dangerous assignment - a vaguely outlined stint on Cretacea, where he will work with other adventurers in an untamed environment, harvesting resources bound for Earth. Only the dismal outlook on Earth makes this option seem appealing. Stripped of its natural resources, covered in a perpetual shroud, and dangerously low on breathable air, Earth holds few attractions for Ishmael. His foster family is his only concern, but his foster brother is now h ...more
Chelsea
Jul 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
4.5 STARS
Diane Ferbrache
When 17 year old Ishmael awakens from stasis, he finds himself on board the Pequod along with 3 other nippers – Pip, Gwen, and Queequeg – learning to fish for terrafin. They have signed on to this ship on a distant planet to earn money to rescue their families back on Earth, a planet dying from an ecological disaster. Their trip will take a frightening turn when the Captain decides to pursue the legendary Great Terrafin that destroyed his previous ship.

If this all sounds familiar, it
...more
Todd Strasser
Jul 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
From School Library Journal: A riveting tale that harkens back to the high-seas adventures of old, full of pirate encounters and other harrowing nautical perils. Strasser’s pacing is flawless, and his characters well drawn. While Ishmael’s true past is unveiled slowly, readers will find themselves drawn to his obvious bravery and loyalty from the very first page. Additionally, Strasser weaves futuristic technology into an old-fashioned maritime expedition seamlessly, resulting in a setting that ...more
Joshua Springs
Feb 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, road-trip
For starters such a good book. I thought it was beautifully done.
It lost a star because it got really preachy at the end, but it's forgivable.
I am kind of a shell of the man I was earlier. This book played with me so much.
Also I want to slap a rich person. *looks around quickly* where is Donald trump?
Having not read Moby Dick, I cannot comment on this as an adaptation, but in and of itself, this was a great book about the corruption of greed. Would have been better had he named some animals
...more
Mark Richards
Oct 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! Action packed with great twists and turns. Good lessons in morality, sustainability, and environmentalism. Better than Moby Dick, as this story moves along. Could be read by anyone 7th grade and up.
Megan
Creative, engaging, not overly preachy. I don't know much about Melville's original book, but I did appreciate the nods to several of his works.
Jen
Oct 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Mikey Nielsen, Kaulin Hardy
This book was incredible! I have to admit that even though the description intrigued me, I was somewhat leery about reading it! First of all, the 414 page size was a little intimidating, even for an avid reader like myself. Also, the references to Herman Melville’s Moby Dick kind of worried me. I tried to read that classic when I was in high school and only made it about 30 pages into the book because it was so incredibly dry and boring. That was definitely NOT the case with this book! Strasser ...more
Jennifer
Strasser, apparently using the patented William Goldman "good bits" formula, offers up a sci-fi teen rewrite of Moby Dick, which I'm fairly had all our unspoken votes for Classic Novel Least Likely To Get Rebooted as YA. Smartly, Strasser's version only hews to the plot points people who've never read Moby Dick will know - ship, whale(-like thing), Ishmael, Ahab - tossing out the random chapters on cetology and how to render oil from blubber in favor of a backstory about an environmental collapse on Eart ...more
Lauraelisabeth (fashion-by-the-book)
Ishmael, an orphan from a devestated, future earth is given a chance at a new start when he joins as crew heading to alien worlds. But the ship's future is threatened by the obbsession of the captain, Ahab.

Oh my god this book was so boring.

I don't know why I thought I'd like this book. I'm not a fan of boating novels, of Moby Dick or anything else this book had to offer. But still I thought I'd like it. Maybe because in 6th grade I enjoyed the author's previous work, The
...more
Phoebe
Jan 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Cheryl
Ishmael and Archie are foster brothers living in the armpit of future Earth, where water is so scarce that it is saved only for drinking and poverty is rampant. They are soon to be parted, each going away to begin work off Earth. Ishmael wakes up on Cretacea, a planet covered with ocean, on the ship Pequod. Food is plentiful but the crew is a tough bunch, and Ishmael and his fellow newbies, or pinkies, are going to have to prove their worth and work hard to earn enough money. Terrafins and humps ...more
Ettie Andrews
Jul 31, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very interesting novel.

The world is intriguing, the characters fun, especially confrontations with shipmates and others. I can't help but feel the ending was a little rushed although I still enjoyed it.

I think why this novel works is because Ishmael is such a fun character to explore this world with. He's strong, noble, quick to do the right thing and not afraid to stand up for himself.

spoilers below:

(view spoiler) ...more
Caitlin
Sep 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
The Beast of Cretacea by Todd Strasser is a re-imagining of Melville's classic Moby Dick, but it is about so much more than just one man's dangerous obsession with an ocean creature.

Ishmael wakes up on a distant planet from deep sleep aboard the Pequod, a ship that harvests ocean creatures and sends the vital resources back to Earth. Ishmael marvels at the bright sun, the clean air, the sparkling water, and the healthy plant and animal life - nothing like the dirty and dying Earth he
...more
Kim McGee
Oct 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

A young man must leave Earth and his foster family behind to travel to a distant planet and work as a fisherman of sorts. Ishmael soon finds himself on a ship run by a captain crazed by the endless hunt for a giant almost mythical terrifin. A beast so huge and mean that the crew isn't sure that the fortune they will receive for catching him is worth it. Ishmael must learn quickly who he can trust with his life and how to survive long enough to help out his family back on dying Earth. This futuri
...more
Morton Rhue
Sep 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
FROM BOOKLIST: You don’t need to have read Moby-Dick to enjoy Strasser’s science-fiction retelling. Ishmael leaves a ravaged Earth for a mission on a feeder planet, where the natural resources needed to keep extinction at bay are gathered and shipped back. He wakes from stasis aboard a fishing trawler, the Pequod, on the pristine planet Cretacea, where he plans to earn enough to pay his foster parents’ passage off of Earth. Mad Captain Ahab’s obsessive mission to kill the mythical Great Terrafin ...more
Lia Von straßerburg
Jul 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
FROM PUBLISHER’S WEEKLY!!!! "Equal parts Moby-Dick retelling, environmental cautionary tale, and coming-of-age story, Strasser’s fantastical SF epic blends disparate pieces into a harmonious whole. The saga begins with 17-year-old Ishmael setting off from a ravaged, dying Earth for life aboard a large fishing trawler on the planet Cretacea. Along with his small, diverse group of nippers, or young crewmen, Ishmael struggles to adjust to a world with water and sunlight, while facing the kinds of t ...more
Megan Baxter
Nov 27, 2017 rated it liked it
I think I've mentioned one of my ongoing projects before - I take my Top Ten lists from the previous years, look at the "read-alikes" on NoveList, and read those. Mostly, I haven't loved the suggestions they've made - I can see why they were made, but prove, yet again, that a story is not what it is about, but how it is about it.

Note: The rest of this review has been withheld due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.

In
...more
Noelle Rogers
Aug 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not your mother's Wave. Ohmigod. This book has plenty of waves, but it's not The Wave. My mother read that book when she was in high school. She got this book at a convention but never got around to reading it. I picked it out of a pile of books a couple of days ago (colorful cover) and literally couldn't put it down. It's such A STORY, you can't stop reading. Engaging characters, story and yada-yada-yada, but really, it's about being totally transported to another (ahem) world. You're so there ...more
Drew Gobbi
Aug 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Strasser really took me by surprise with this one. I’m no longer in his demographic, but I remembering reading a lot of his books in middle school years ago. I saw the ARC at a friend’s house and she recommended it because she knows I’m a SF freak. Well, this is very different from what I remember him writing, but at the same time it was awesome. I honestly didn’t expect to get hooked, and I think a lot of it has to do with good old-fashioned story telling. This is definitely a page turner, comp ...more
Chris Madden
Aug 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Beast of Cretacea an action/adventure novel by Todd Strasser, based off a young Ishmael like from Moby Dick except he’s way in the future. If you look up moby dick you’ll see that a lot of the characters have the same names. Including the captain, who’s name is Ahab. They are supposed to be gathering nutrients for back on the earth, but all captain Ahab wants is to kill the great terrapin even two some of the crew is against it. But Ishmael & his friends also get captured by pirates. Its ...more
Cat
Oct 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great action romp that I found more enjoyable than Moby Dick. The addition of science fiction, strong hearted crew (male AND female), and basics of the classic should grab any reader from the opening to the end. Perhaps addressed more to the male youth audience, females play an essential part and are portrayed as heroically as deserved. I didn't guess the ending but read through in a fascinated day. Quite pleased with the clever interplay of pirates, islanders, old sea dogs, new sea be ...more
Tfalcone
Oct 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Modern retelling of Moby Dick which worked for me. Even though I kind of know the story line, the twists make it exciting and new. (plus we don't spend two hours describing sails and the inside of the brain of a whale). Ishmael is sent to the planet Cretacea as a nipper, a young crewmen. He has never really seen the ocean or the Sun, so you can imagine what is going on Earth. They are not exactly hunting whales either.
The story goes off onto its own track once the Pequod is destroyed and that's
...more
Helen
Oct 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Putting on my retired reading-teacher hat for a moment. This isn't a book I'd normally pick up, but I had the ARC and something about the cover and the references to Moby Dick sparked my interest. And I must say it was hard to put down. In fact, I plowed through it over a weekend. It brought to mind many of my former students, who I think would have enjoyed it quite a lot, had I been able to cajole them to look past its size. I certainly think the swashbuckling adventure mixed with science ficti ...more
Dorothy Milioti
Aug 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(4.5) Very exciting and enjoyable. I think this would be a super book for reluctant readers, if only it wasn't quite so long (tear it into thirds? ;-) Definitely a book to start reading aloud to them. It should hook them VERY QUICKLY. Some may have an issue with some of the dialects later in the story, but the narrative is so strong it should pull them along regardless. Not only will they love it, but for anyone who gets through all 432 pages, what a sense of accomplishment!
Reece Patrick
Oct 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I got this at the book festival on Saturday. He said it isn't even out yet (and he signed it! So it was really rainy and I went home and started it and was uop like half the night! And yesterday was nice but kind of cold and I couldn't stop until I gfinished! It';s really good and not I want to read the sequel!
Tiffany
Dec 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Easy to read adventure, very entertaining (probably for younger readers but still a good read) with lots of action, dramatic moments and world building. I wish there was more time spent on the character of Ahab and the mythology of the chase, to fill out the backstory a little, but a fun read everywhere else!
Tracey
Aug 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
A speculative fiction re-imagining of Moby Dick. Hmmm...I might just have to put Moby Dick on my TBR list.
Molly
Oct 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
I enjoyed this imaginative, dystopian take on Moby Dick. It is a masterful work of world-building and the characters were strongly fleshed out.
Kate (Looking Glass Reads)
Feb 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, young-adult
Sometimes you don't ever hear about the best books. Not from a friend. Not from the internet. Not from the thousand and one subscriptions that hit your inbox daily. Sometimes you just have to stumble upon them. And that's exactly how I discovered The Beast of Cretacea by Todd Strasser. I found this one at the library, tucked into the regular circulation stacks when I was busy wondering when exactly the first book in The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater was going to be returned so I could finally begin that series. Andiscovered The ...more
Alex
Jan 13, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, sci-fi
Okay, so.

This book started out so grand, then fell apart the last 20 pages and I was racing through it to finish it (because of that reason; I had been taking my time with this book).

This book is a retelling of Moby Dick (which I have not read). I thought "Hey, I'll give this a try and see how it goes". Well, it went. And at the end it went very poorly.

(view spoiler) ...more
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Todd Strasser is an American author of more than 130 young-adult and middle grade novels and novelizations, some written under the pen names Morton Rue and T.S.Rue


Todd was born in New York City. When he was young his parents moved to Roslyn Heights, New York (Long Island). Todd went to the I.U. Willets Elementary school and then attended the Wheatley School for junior high and high school. Hi
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