Title: The Girl from Everywhere
Author: Heidi Heilig
Publisher: Hot Key Books
UK Release Date: 3rd March 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Historical Fiction, 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.
I had heard a lot about The Girl from Everywhere, but never quite got around to acquiring a copy about reading it – it was one of the 2016 releases which I wanted to read but unfortunately didn’t manage to over last year. Fortunately for me, I won a copy from Hot Key Books during their series of giveaways over the Christmas period, and I knew that I simply had to read as soon as possible. Once I got started, I was hooked, and I seriously struggled to put it down, as I needed to know what was going to happen!
For me, I think the main things I loved were the characters and setting. Heidi Heilig created this fantasy world with a host of compelling characters, and it kept my attention throughout. I thought her descriptive abilities, when it came to building up a picture of the world in which the story place, and the shifting setting, was absolutely spectacular. The characters I largely loved too – I found a handful of them a bit annoying or frustrating, but I adored Kash, and by the end I had a soft spot for Nix too, our wonderful and emotionally complex protagonist.
Another element that really stood out to me was the diversity that Heilig brought to the book. The book is a strange amalgam of genre, mingling sci-fi, historical fiction, and fantasy together, but she pulled it off really well. It can be exceptionally difficult to find diversity in any book, and in my experience it becomes even less common when the book is fantasy, but the author wove in characters from a variety of cultures, and with different sexualities. This definitely sets The Girl from Everywhere apart from other books in the genre!
Although there were lots of aspects about the book which I loved, there were a couple of things I wasn’t such a fan of. I did have to adapt to the world in which Nix lived, and get my head around the situation – at first I was rather confused by Navigating. Occasionally towards the end there would still be an element I thought wasn’t particularly well explained, or that I couldn’t make sense of, which was disappointing as it was a good idea, and I did want to understand. Also, I found that a few of the characters could frustrate me from time to time (*cough* Blake *cough* Slate *cough*)
Overall, I thought that The Girl from Everywhere was an inventive and original tale, with a fascinating mix of genres and strong description and voice throughout. The diversity was also an element that makes this book stand out in the fantasy genre, and my only hesitation is that there were some confusing elements and irritating characters. Nonetheless, I am still very interested to know what is going to be happening next to Nix and the crew of the Temptation, so I will definitely be reading the sequel when it is released in March.