The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig eARC (2 stars)
Kel Saturday, January 02, 2016 reviewThis eARC was provided through Edelweiss for review. Some things may have changed in the final version.
The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
Series: The Girl from Everywhere #1
Genres: YA, Fantasy, Historical
Published on February 16, 2016
Published by Greenwillow Books
Final Rating: 2 stars
Heidi Heilig’s debut teen fantasy sweeps from modern-day New York City to nineteenth-century Hawaii to places of myth and legend. Sixteen-year-old Nix has sailed across the globe and through centuries aboard her time-traveling father’s ship. But when he gambles with her very existence, it all may be about to end. The Girl from Everywhere, the first of two books, will dazzle readers of Sabaa Tahir, Rae Carson, and Rachel Hartman.
Nix’s life began in Honolulu in 1868. Since then she has traveled to mythic Scandinavia, a land from the tales of One Thousand and One Nights, modern-day New York City, and many more places both real and imagined. As long as he has a map, Nix’s father can sail his ship, The Temptation, to any place, any time. But now he’s uncovered the one map he’s always sought—1868 Honolulu, before Nix’s mother died in childbirth. Nix’s life—her entire existence—is at stake. No one knows what will happen if her father changes the past. It could erase Nix’s future, her dreams, her adventures . . . her connection with the charming Persian thief, Kash, who’s been part of their crew for two years. If Nix helps her father reunite with the love of his life, it will cost her her own.
The Girl from Everywhere is a love letter to historic Hawaii with a dash of Dr. Who-like time travel and adventure.
Heilig's writing is pretty solid, the plot made me curious, and the inclusion of mythological relics and realities added a fantastical flavor. The main character, Nixie, is a confused girl with a complicated father-daughter relationship and a host of trust and commitment issues. Her shipmate and best friend, Kashmir, is a charming pickpocket and the source of constant entertainment; I wish he had more screen time and the relationship with him was better fleshed out. I'd like to see more time on the ship and daily life with the crew. The story spends a lot of time in Nixie’s head.
My biggest problem with this book is the love triangle. I don't like triangles in general, and I didn't expect one based on the synopsis, which made me even less happy to encounter it. I didn't really like the second boy period. He suffers from a horrendous case of instalove and has a hero complex, and I generally disliked his story arc. It showcased beautiful Hawaii, gave some insight into local culture, and wound up playing some part in the plot…but his presence felt so contrived--like he was just a foil for Nixie exploring her emotional state and giving us a tour of Hawaii.
My other complaint with the book is the setting. I felt a little jipped. We hear about all these magical, dangerous adventures the ship has been on gathering mystical items and creatures, but we experience very little of that adventure and magic firsthand. There’s still magic, there’s still a little adventure (mostly at the end), but we spend a lot of the story playing Hawaii tourist and history student. Don’t get me wrong; Hawaii is beautiful and awesome and I’d love to visit, but MOUNT OLYMPUS. ATLANTIS. Let’s really consider our options here.
Personally, I'm hoping the sequel includes more magic and zero love triangles.