Source: publisher via Netgalley. Thank you Hot Key Books for providing me with an e-copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Genre: YA time travel fantasy.
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. Nix must work out what she wants, who she is, and where she really belongs before time runs out on her forever.
The Girl From Everywhere was a very interesting novel. I saw some good reviews of the US edition, so when the UK/EU edition became available on Netgalley, I jumped at the chance to read it. I’m partial to stories with ships (though I dislike ships myself, I get seasick + they look dangerous) and if there is piracy involved, I’m definitely in.
I really, really liked Nix. She’s such a well-developed character! Her motivations, worries, and decisions make her a very interesting person to read about. Her relationship with her father is so complex, I disliked him for most of the time, he is really unfeeling toward her and while I tried to understand his reasons for such behavior, I couldn’t really sympathize. But Nix is a good person despite this lack of love, this sense of never being good enough.
Then there’s Kashmir, the ship’s boy and thief, from a far-away Persian fairy land. He’s a great love interest, I really enjoyed the friends-to-something-more-and-undefined-and-unexplored story arc. I wished to find out more about him, so I’m hoping he stays a prominent character in the sequel.
There’s a bit of a love triangle, though it’s not the usual obnoxious kind where the girl wobbles from one hot guy to the other. Nix is rather exploring her life for the first time, and goes for the “tomorrow, everything will be different” approach, so I couldn’t really fault her for being interested in both boys. I think it’s also the case of her never getting any real attention and/or compliments, so she’s discovering herself as a young woman for the first time, which was interesting.
I read that some people had trouble following the changing timeline. Personally, I love stories with switching timelines if they’re done well and I didn’t think this one was too confusing. I did get a bit lost when it came to the explanations of Navigating and time travel (it’s always interesting to see how the author handles the cause and effect problem of time travel, the consequences of one’s actions throughout history, etc). But it wasn’t really a deterrent for me, I still enjoyed the story very much.
I was a bit wary about the setting – one of them, anyway. Most of the story takes place in 19th century Hawaii, and while there was mention of political unrest and outside forces having a bad influence, I thought the world was perhaps too romanticized. It’s kind of like with Orientalism and romanticizing the past – we got a glimpse of this perfect tropical paradise into which the “civilized” world was intruding with its corrupt influence. It wasn’t a huge problem but it is the main reason I knocked off a star/heart in my rating – though maybe the author portrayed Hawaii in such a way intentionally, to show Nix’s view of the place? The paradise does contrast nicely with her fears of the place and the unhappy thoughts she has about it.
All in all, this was a very good beginning of a series – and a debut, if I’m not mistaken! So I’m looking forward to the sequel, which is scheduled to be published in 2017.
Have you read The Girl From Everywhere? What did you think?
Do you have any good time travel recommendations?
I’d love to hear from you! :)