Thursday, 17 March 2016

Review: The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

Title: The Girl From Everywhere (The Girl From Everywhere #1)
Author: Heidi Heilig

Release date: March 3rd 2016
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction/Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Pages: 343
Source: Pansing

Nix has spent her entire life aboard her father’s ship, sailing across the centuries, across the world, across myth and imagination.

As long as her father has a map for it, he can sail to any time, any place, real or imagined: nineteenth-century China, the land from One Thousand and One Nights, a mythic version of Africa. Along the way they have found crewmates and friends, and even a disarming thief who could come to mean much more to Nix.

But the end to it all looms closer every day.

Her father is obsessed with obtaining the one map, 1868 Honolulu, that could take him back to his lost love, Nix’s mother. Even though getting it—and going there—could erase Nix’s very existence.

For the first time, Nix is entering unknown waters.

She could find herself, find her family, find her own fantastical ability, her own epic love.

Or she could disappear.

The Girl From Everywhere is quite different from what I was expecting. Yes, it's a novel about time travel, but it's more fantasy than science fiction, because from what we find out about the art of Navigation, which is how they travel through time and space, there's no scientific explanation - it just happens, like magic. I liked the lightness of the tone in this book, and though it was a tad too short for me to fully immerse myself in, I'm eager for the next book.

We jump right into the plot from the beginning of the novel. Nix has been travelling on the Temptation her whole life, along with her father, Slate, and two other crew people, later joined by a new crew member two years ago. It sounds like a great life, but Nix's father is focused only on one thing - to get back to his love, Nix's mother, who died when Nix was born (or so I think. It's actually quite confusing). But Nix could be erased from existence if he finds her mother, so she's obviously torn. When they manage to get to Honolulu in a different but close time, Nix gets to see what her life could've been like had she not been aboard the Temptation, and well, she's tempted.

I can't say I cared too much for Nix's character, because there wasn't much about her that wowed me. I also didn't approve of her following her father through his obsessive journeys and not doing enough to stop him and knock some sense into him. And also to do something about his opium addiction (yeah, Slate is messed up). The fact that Nix calls him Slate or Captain most of the time speaks volumes about their relationship. She rarely ever calls him 'dad' because he's rarely a dad to her. Nix has always felt like an afterthought with him, especially since he's doing everything he can to get to her mother knowing that he could lose Nix. So I didn't really care for Slate, either.

The one character I absolutely loved was Kashmir, the relatively new crew member. He's Persian, but also speaks English, Arabic and French. The crew picked him up from the mythical land of Arabia from One Thousand and One Nights. Kashmir is funny and charming and thoughtful and smart, and I could go on and on about him! He's a super skilled thief, which causes quite a few problems but also helps the crew quite a bit. Kash and Nix are close friends, obviously, since they're similar in age and they spend a lot of time together. There isn't really any romance at all between them, but it's clear how Kash feels about Nix, and I was shipping them so hard! Nix, on the other hand, is a bit torn, and I'll get into that later. But Kash was basically the reason I liked this book, and he's why I will definitely be picking up the next one.

A large part of this book is set in Honolulu, as that's where Nix's origins are and that's where Slate hopes to find the right map. The concept of Navigation is a little confusing, since we don't get much of an explanation, but basically the cartographer and the Navigator both have to believe in the map and what's on it, which is why it's possible to Navigate to mythical places. Slate has tried a lot of maps so far, but none have got him even close to his love, Lin. I really liked reading about the Kingdom of Hawaii in the 19th century, because I knew nothing about it beforehand and it has such a rich history.

One aspect of this I didn't like was the hint of a love triangle. The book is short enough that we don't even get a proper background on Navigation, and yet the author finds space to include a love triangle? I didn't approve. It was between Nix, Kashmir, and Blake, a boy they meet in Honolulu, and coincidentally the nephew of the man who drew the map they need. I didn't really like Blake, he was a slippery sort of character. And there was no chemistry between him and Nix, so the pairing just felt forced. I'd pick the banter and familiarity of Nix and Kash over the idea of Nix and Blake any day.

I really hope there's more background in the next book, because this one was pretty fast-paced and plot-driven. It wasn't enough for me to understand the world and its elements, but I liked most of what I saw in here. I also hope we get to see new times and places, perhaps some mythical ones!

*Thank you to Sasha from Pansing for sending me a copy for review*

Rating: 3/5

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