I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
Series: The Girl From Everywhere #1
Published by Hot Key Books on 3rd March 2016 (UK)
Genres: Fantasy, YA Fantasy
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.
I wanted to get this post up in time for the US release which I believe is this Tuesday (16th February -where is the year going?) so although this isn’t out in the UK until 3rd March here are my thoughts…
A time-travelling pirate ship? Erm, yes please! A blend of fact and fantasy? Sign me up! I was thoroughly intrigued by the concept of this book and so jumped at the chance to read it. I’ll tell you now that I really enjoyed it!
Nix is 16 and she lives on board a ship called The Temptation with her father the Captain, Slate, her best friend Kashmir and their crew. Nix’s father is a Navigator – he can use old maps to shuttle them across time and place. I loved this concept, that once reaching the border of a map another map of a different time and place can be used, the two maps blending together with some kind of purgatory in between. This is such a fascinating idea and is obviously where the time travel element comes into this story.
Now, Slate is from our current time New York, but his daughter Nix is actually from 19th Century Hawaii. Slate fell in love with Nix’s mother Lin back in 19th Century Hawaii. He didn’t know she was pregnant when he went to sea to gather funds so that they might build a home together. He returned to find that Lin had died giving birth to Nix, and, well, he had a daughter. So Slate ‘stole’ Nix away on the ship. However from that day he has been obsessed with finding an accurate map drawn during that period he was at sea, when Lin was still alive, so that he might go back to her. It’s this obsession that’s at the core of the story.
Nix has grown to be an expert in maps. She’s also well versed in history, myth and legend. It’s her job to think of ways they can generate funds for these old maps and so she takes the crew across space and time hunting for the map that will set her father free from his obsession – as well as his opium addiction.
The thing is though that no-one quite knows what will happen to Nix should her father succeed. Would she cease to exist?
There’s so much to enjoy in this book and a great deal to learn. Heilig is clearly well read herself and has undertaken significant research to mix real history with fantasy in this novel. I loved the way she weaves myth and legend throughout this book. Upon reading the author’s note I realised several links that I had failed to pick up on.
Heilig’s description in this book is wonderful. I could truly see everything she described. Her descriptions of Hawaii were stunning – not only do I now really want to go there but I wasn’t surprised to learn that she herself is Hawaiian.
I must admit that at times I found it a wee bit hard to keep up with the dates, places, maps and history. However I’m sure that’s just down to my fog-addled brain. I wanted to mention it though as it was something I encountered.
Heilig has created some wonderful characters in this book, not only Nix, Slate and Kashmir but some of the more peripheral characters too. She had me going back and forth on Slate – one minute I thoroughly disliked him, next I felt sorry for him, then I was frustrated by him…it was quite the journey!
Nix is a strong likable character but I must admit that Kashmir was my personal favourite – a cheeky chap with a sense of style, the gift of languages, an absolute charmer and a master thief. I just loved him!
All in all, this was a fascinating read. It’s a true blend of fact and fantasy filled with adventure, beautiful writing and fantastic characters. Loved it.