TITLE: The Girl From Everywhere
AUTHOR: Heidi Heilig
SERIES: The Girl From Everywhere (#1)
PUBLISHER: Hot Key Books
GENRE: Historical Fiction, Young Adult, Fantasy, Adventure
RATING: 4/5 Stars
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.
What I Liked:
- So let's start with the best bit - the research! It was the bit I was most dreading but I really felt that Heidi knew what she was talking about when it came to Hawaiian history, and indeed, the other lands that she ended up talking about. The mixture of Victorian values and the native traditions of Hawaiian locals was really interesting, and I liked the indication to Hawaii's last monarch too.
- Strangely, I kind of liked the love triangle in this book. I actually felt that it was applied well and pointed towards a bigger picture - Nix's confusion about what exactly is 'home' and 'stability'. Also rare, I rooted for Kashmir (who was very funny and even more sassy) but I liked Blake too (though I'm a little disappointed he'll still be on the boat for book two, I hope Heilig doesn't drag this thing out for too long).
- There were some cool characters in this book with interesting pointers to their history. I found Bee and Ayen really intriguing, and also really wanted to learn more about Rotgut. Kashmir I obviously loved and I liked hearing about his backstory. Nix was a great MC and her relationship with her father was complicated but well written later in the book. Madame Joss really intrigued me, I have to say and she was probably my favourite character.
What I Disliked:
- The beginning of this story really didn't grab me. I felt thrown, headfirst into the 'mission' for the map and Nix's complicated relationship with her Father without the build-up. It made Nix come across as whiny and weak as she seemed totally unable to communicate her feelings in any way, shape or form, and Slate came across as nothing short of awful! Of course, as the book went on, this improved drastically but it almost totally destroyed my perspective on this novel.
- So I have to say there was a little bit of 'blink and you miss it' in this novel. Especially in some of the plot twists surrounding Madame Joss. We learnt so much about her as the book went on but I found her timeline really confusing. In fact there were a couple of aspects that confused me during the story. But they didn't impact the plot heavily enough that it ruined the reading.
This is a really interesting book because it had points that I thought would ruin the reading experience for me, but in the end the writing was great and it was so intriguing as a concept! I loved Heilig's ideas for the time travelling (or 'navigation') itself as it felt very different to other things I'd read. Heilig grew up in Hawaii herself, so I loved the #ownvoices vibe! Great story, characters and setting too! I wish that the beginning had been better built into, and I'd also hoped for less confusion in the timelines which is one of the things I don't like about time travel. But I'm definitely up for book two!