Author: Heidi Heilig
Series: The Girl From Everywhere
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Release Date: 3rd March 2016
Publishers: Hot Key Books
No. Pages: 343
Buy at: BookDepository | Wordery | Amazon
It was the kind of August day that hinted at monsoons, and the year was 1774, though not for very much longer.
Sixteen-year-old Nix Song is a time-traveller. She, her father and their crew of time refugees travel the world aboard The Temptation, a glorious pirate ship stuffed with treasures both typical and mythical. Old maps allow Nix and her father to navigate not just to distant lands, but distant times – although a map will only take you somewhere once. And Nix’s father is only interested in one time, and one place: Honolulu 1868. A time before Nix was born, and her mother was alive. Something that puts Nix’s existence rather dangerously in question…
Nix has grown used to her father’s obsession, but only because she’s convinced it can’t work. But then a map falls into her father’s lap that changes everything. And when Nix refuses to help, her father threatens to maroon Kashmir, her only friend (and perhaps, only love) in a time where Nix will never be able to find him. And if Nix has learned one thing, it’s that losing the person you love is a torment that no one can withstand. Nix must work out what she wants, who she is, and where she really belongs before time runs out on her forever.
Time travelling pirates? What could go wrong?
The Girl From Everywhere follows sixteen year-old Nix, who has lived aboard The Temptation her entire life alongside her father, the ship’s captain, and their crew. Nix’s father, Slate, is no ordinary captain, he’s a time traveler; he can visit any place, real or fictional, during any time period as long as he has a map. Since Nix’s birth Slate has been obsessed with finding one map, 1868 Honolulu, so that he can reunited with his lost love, Nix’s mother. As the crew grow closer to finally finding the map they need, Nix must decided whether to help her father and risk erasing her own existence or to branch out on her own.
I went into this expecting to love it, but I was left slightly disappointed. Whilst there’s no denying Heilig’s writing is beautiful, the world-building felt prioritized over the actual plot. It felt like nothing was happening for a large chunk of this book, which made it difficult for me to get through. This also meant that when everything was resolved in the end it all seemed to be happening so suddenly and in a bit of a rush.
I really enjoyed the time-traveling/magic system and I do wish we’d seen more of it in play (The story is primarily set in Honolulu). Also, whilst we’re told the basics behind how it works I do still have a few questions (Can anyone time-travel? Or do you have to be born with the ability?). Although, since there is a sequel I understand why we weren’t given every single detail straightaway.
The characters are what made the book for me. Not only are they a group of diverse individuals but they’re also dynamic characters with interesting personal backstories (which I hope we get to know more about in the sequel). I really enjoyed Nix as a main character and I think her willingness to help her father despite what it could mean for her was admirable. Despite being frustrated by Slate multiple times I still thought he was interesting and whilst I still don’t agree with his willingness to risk Nix, I do understand his motivations. However, the character I loved the most was definitely Kash. He was just so charming and funny, and I found myself eager for his next appearance (Also he spoke Farsi/Arabic which is basically unheard of in YA).
There is a love-triangle in this book which I found pointless. It was obvious who Nix should be with and I think it wasted valuable time which could’ve been dedicated to developing the plot further.
Overall, I did enjoy the mix of historical events with fantasy solutions, and I definitely see potential in this duology. The sequel is being released soon and I’ll be sure to grab myself a copy.