Sometimes poking around random GoodReads lists pays off big time. That’s certainly the case with this one – The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig. I grabbed the sample chapters from Amazon and knew right off it was one I’d lose myself in, and after I bought the full story, I found I was right.
A time-travelling pirate ship? Count me in right there. But there was so much more to love about this novel. Lost love, adventures through time, romance, action, myths brought to life, redemption. Plenty to keep you busy. But first, as always, let’s check out the blurb.
Sixteen-year-old Nix Song is a time-traveler. 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.
Nix and her crew mates can travel anywhere in history (including to fictional worlds), so long as they have a hand-drawn map of where they want to go. The kicker though is once they’ve used a map they can never return because maps are only good for one trip. The “how” is fairly wishy-washy, in that you have to believe in the map and it’ll take you there. No less implausible than other time-travelling devices though, so I don’t fault it on that.
The story revolves around the Captain’s plot to get back to a certain date and place in history before his beloved wife died. He intends to bring back medicine that’ll help her survive, but Nix, the Captain’s daughter, isn’t sure what this’ll mean for her. Will she be erased from existence if the Captain gets his way?
Nix is a strong young woman, written as believable and well developed, as were the main supporting characters. There’s a deep friendship with another character, Kashmir, which evolved naturally throughout the book without being overly romantic. He’s a master thief, or at least he has mastered the art of thievery, and was pulled from a fantasy map before the story began.
When Nix and the crew of The Temptation (a fantastic name for a pirate ship) arrive after following a map, they find they’ve arrived years too late. A dark force has reached out across time, a group of men who engineered their visit to help ensure Hawaii passes from self-rule to a state annexed by America. It is here the pace picks up as Nix tries to outwit the players to help ensure her own survival.
Of course a potential love triangle develops between Nix, Kashmir, and a local boy Blake, son of one of the men forcing Nix and the Captain to help them achieve their goals.
Ms Heilig has a fantastic way with words that make you feel immersed so deeply in the plot you feel like you’re actually there, be it Honolulu in the 19th century, a street market in Calcutta, 1774, or the mercury-filled tomb of Qin Shi Huang, first emperor of China.
I was fortunate to find this book after the sequel had already been published, so I’ll be picking that up soon to continue Nix’s adventure.
There’s an alternate cover floating around too, so I’m not sure at the moment which is correct. I much prefer the blue one (up top of this post), but can also see the appeal of the black one (below).
Treat yourself to this one. Thoroughly enjoyable. Check out the sample chapters from Amazon, you’ll be glad you did.