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BOOK REVIEW: The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

| 1 March 2016 | Reply

BOOK REVIEW: The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

March 2016
Hot Key Books
Paperback, £7.99
Reviewed by Aly Locatelli




Why did the stories I knew best never end well? But why too did I feel at home among them? I could never give up the myths, the maps, the ship that had shaped me. Blake’s home might be paradise, but mine was the Temptation.

The Girl From Everywhere is a heart-wrenching, poetic book about love and loss, and the endless cycle within. Nix is sixteen years old, and has lived her entire life aboard the Temptation, a hand-built time-travelling pirate ship, along with her father, Captain Slate, a runaway thief, Kashmir, and two other loyal shipmates. The Captain is obsessed with maps — all maps. Maps from the past, especially, but specifically one: a map from 1866 Hawaii. If found, Slate will be able to time-travel into the past, to the time before Nix was born, and save the love of his life… thus, putting an end to Nix’s existence before it ever came about in the first place.

“Now you understand,” he said, his eyes bright. “The pain of losing someone you love.”
My mouth twisted. “Oh, I’ve understood for a while, Captain,” I said, spitting the words out like broken teeth. “But you always come back when you want something. Maybe one day I’ll lose you for good.”

Captain Slate and Nix’s relationship is complicated and tense, full of things left unsaid and, rather than taking steps forward in trying to fix their problems, they both avoid the thought. Slate is aware that if he “fixes” the past, Nix will disappear. He will no longer have someone to teach the arts of time travelling with maps and a ship; he will no longer have his loyal, trustworthy, bright sixteen year old daughter. Yet it seems he is more than happy to take the plunge, if it means saving Nix’s mother from death. Nix is all too preoccupied with the knowledge that Slate’s obsession will end her life, and she does her best to steer him away from find this ever-elusive map. A map that seems, strangely, incredibly hard to track down.

“What’s the use?” I shouted into the dark, my voice echoing in the cold stars. “Why do we bother if all we do is what was written a thousand years ago? What’s the point if we can’t try to change things?”
“Oh, Nixie.” My father reached out again and I let him; my rage had burned too hot and flamed out quickly. He stroked my cheek with the back of one finger. “I always knew one day you’d understand.”

But then someone comes along with an offer Slate can’t refuse, and the only question worth asking is: Will Slate really do absolutely anything for this map he desires more than anything in the world?

I think, as mentioned before, what really made me love this book, what really made me feel, as an outsider looking in, was Nix’s and Slate’s relationship. It’s very love-hate, with Nix adoring her father, but also hating him, and vice versa: there’s no doubt that Slate loves his daughter unconditionally, but there is also a huge sense of resentment there. After all, maybe without Nix, Slate would’ve been able to save her mother. Or maybe he would never have had to leave her in the first place. Who knows? Although twisted and bitter, they consistently have each other’s backs, and even though Nix doesn’t agree with half of Slate’s plans, she is always planning one step ahead to take the load off her Captain’s shoulders. In that regard, Nix is a wonderful leader, and she is always willing to learn, even if Slate refuses to teach her.

And, of course, there is romance! Although it’s very light and takes a backseat for most of the story (the plot is very fast paced and packed with action, so it would be hard to give way to romance, thankfully), I totally cheered when it finally happened. Heidi is very good at not only orchestrating tense atmosphere during badass heists, but she did a wonderful job at drawing out the romance so that it felt like one could easily combust from the need of it.

Also when I mentioned The Girl From Everywhere was poetic, I truly meant it. Heidi Heilig has a knack for writing beautiful, flowery prose that brings settings and characters to life.

The masons and artists, the tile setters and painters, the sculptors and plaster workers and carpenters and gardeners who had used the best of their skills for the glory of their emperor had found their way here, to die before the bronze gates cutting them off forever from the country they had re-created in this necropolis.

The Girl From Everywhere is a wonderful story, ready to inspire and break the hearts of its readers. I highly recommend it to all fans of young adult fantasy, and also to those who aren’t fans. I am sure that Heidi Heilig’s debut novel has the power to change your mind.

Category: Book Reviews, Other Reviews

About the Author ()

21. A reader, a writer, a reviewer and a full-time sloth lover. I am addicted to coffee and my laptop, and love reading especially when it's rainy outside.

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