The Girl From Everywhere – Heidi Heilig
Published: 3rd March 2016
Source: Hot Key Books (NetGalley)
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Time Travel
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.
This book is definitely unique, and it will make you have a strong urge to both read up on your history, but also make you want to go to Hawaii. The imagery produced of these different worlds and time periods is amazing and it just makes me want to go back to reading about history in different countries and time periods.
What Makes This Book So Original?
It’s a book about time travelling pirates! I mean, what more do you need to know. Technically they aren’t pirates, they are simply world travellers who happen to participate in a few questionable pastimes that may be deemed piracy and they travel through time. It sounds weird but it totally works.
Then there is the fact they time travel using maps. Captain Slate, Nix’s father, has the ability to travel to any time or place using a map, but each map can only be used once and there are a lot of rules in regards to the maps about what will work and what won’t and then there are a whole other bunch of time travel rules which you learn about later in the book. But time-travelling using maps is one I’ve not heard of before and it sounds epic, and you get all the different maps as pictures in the books. Sadly, I read the book on my Kindle, so didn’t get the full mappish impact, but picture that in book form and you’ll be blown away.
The whole mappish time travelling is made even better by the fact that the maps will transport you to the mapmakers version of the place they are travelling to. It’s a book which is all about belief and perception and about how everyone has their own idealised version of a place and that comes across when travelling by map. You’ll understand more when you read it.
And the most important thing that makes this book original is that there is barely a romance happening, refreshing for a YA book. Sure, there hints at romance for Nix, but never does it overtake the plot, you know these characters are sticking with the story and won’t get too distracted with romance. The main romance in this book is Slate’s love for Nix’s mother, but even that is questionable if it’s truly love or another case of someone idealising something which is no longer there.
It’s Original, But I Had My Doubts To Begin With
I almost put this book down. I was bored, I knew the basic premise of the story from the blurb… but that just didn’t seem to be happening. It definitely took the first third of the book for the plot to properly develop, I don’t think it really began to get going until they were in Hawaii and Nix had started wandering around, which was really frustrating for me. This may be partly because I’d just read a disappointing book and I was allowing that to affect my mood, I don’t know, but I really hate when books take too long about figuring out where they’re going. I don’t need the entire plot thrown at me in one go, and I don’t need to know what’s happening next before it happens, but I hate when books dawdle about unnecessarily and I feel like that was the first third of this book. Thankfully, the book picked up and the story was amazing, but why couldn’t it have had that pacing and been as interesting right from the start?
But, Overall, It’s Filled With Time Travelling Greatness
I’m not going to lie, I loved the book. I was really frustrated and disappointed with it, at first, but once the story got going I simply could not stop reading. It’s one of those books which fools you into thinking it’s going to be one kind of book (a boring long winded one) but ends up being an awesome adventure book with mythology and history all bound up together in a fascinating book. It was great. I am a history graduate, so I love reading historical books and this one feels liked it really does justice to history. I want to read up on Hawaiin history so much now, it’s not something I had ever thought about before reading this, but now I am fascinated. History is awesome. As are pirates and time-travel, so basically, this book has it all and you should go buy it now.
Have you ever read a book which made you question why people liked it until you find yourself halfway through and suddenly it all clicks for you? And do you have any good, unique, time travel books recommendations, or any historical recommendations?