The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
Book One of The Girl From Everywhere series
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publication Date: February 16, 2016
Rating: 2 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss
Summary (from Goodreads):
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.
In The Girl from Everywhere, Heidi Heilig blends fantasy, history, and a modern sensibility with witty, fast-paced dialogue, breathless adventure, and enchanting romance.
What I Liked:
This book was such a colossal disappointment - FOR ME. I recognize that the issues that I had with this book aren't issues that everyone will have. There are a slew of super positive reviews on Goodreads that came way before my review. So there is a very good chance that most people will find this book magical and wonderful and whatnot. But me? No. I will write my harsh negative review in hopes of warning others who have preferences like mine about the things that didn't work for me.
Aboard the Temptation with her father as Navigator, Nix has been to many places and many time periods. She was born in 1868, but she's been to modern-day New York and deep into the past as well. Her father is searching for a 1868 Honolulu map to be reunited with Nix's mother. But going back to the past, to the mother that died in childbirth, might mean that Nix's existence will disappear. She doesn't know if this WILL happen, but Nix would rather not take the chance. Nix is determined to make it out alive - but there is more at stake than she knows.
From the synopsis, this book sounds pretty great. Time-traveling fantasy, lots at stake, LINEAR ROMANCE (or so it sounded) -- "If Nix helps her father reunite with the love of his life, it will cost her her own." That makes it sound like Nix has one love (Kash, who was mentioned in the line of the synopsis just before this one); WRONG. See next section.
The best part of this book was probably Kashmir (Kash) - I love him so much, and I ache for him, because he does not get what he deserves (a million pounds of gold, a hot bath, and a girl who loves him and only him). He's charming and intelligent and clever and observant and hilarious. And he deserves better.
I honestly thought I was enjoying this book for a bit, with all the interesting historical facts and settings, the weird tales and myths of Hawaii (once the crew reaches Hawaii). It's clear that Heilig really did her research for the story, and it's well-written in that sense. Take away the negatives that I'll list below, and you've got a story of great world-building. And probably a decent, interesting story. But I REALLY did not like certain things, and those things ruined the book for me.
What I Did Not Like:
I'll warn you now that there may be spoilers ahead. I am too f***ing pissed to even think about screening spoilers in this section. Read at your own risk - but if you hate love triangles, you might want to read further regardless.
LOVE TRIANGLE IN THIS BOOK. And it's not a shy one. The synopsis makes the book sound like there is a linear romance! Kash, Nix, riding off into the sunset (or whatever). I LOVE it when the heroine is in love with and/or slowly falls for her best friend! But that's not quite what happened here.
It's obvious that Kash loves Nix. Soooo obvious. He's a flirt and a tease and so charming and wonderful, but he's totally in love with her. Nix has him so friend-zoned though, although she starts to see otherwise as the book goes on. So that's part of the romance - she's seeing that she actually likes him beyond a friend.
But then the second part of the romance is introduced - Leg 2 of the triangle. Blake Hart is on Honolulu (year 1884 - daddy dearest overshot a little). AS SOON AS the author started going into a detailed physical description of a boy "close to Nix's age", I KNEW that he would show up again and he'd make up a love triangle. Why else do we care about his physical appearance? Right, because the heroine is going to fall for him too. YUP.
It would be one thing if Blake were one of those boys that falls for Nix, but Nix doesn't fall for him. You know, those "love triangles" in which one of the boys is an annoying pesky fly that won't go away, but you know he's the dead leg of the triangle because he's just annoying and the heroine doesn't care about him. But... she does. Don't get me wrong - Blake IS annoying.
The love triangle represents - wait for it - Nix's choice: Blake is a grounded boy, on the island, a constant guy. Kash is your wanderer, part of the crew on the ship. Choose Blake, you choose a settled life on Honolulu. Choose Kash, you choose the wanderer's life, ever the adventurer. SO F***ING CLICHE. And did I mention that Blake is annoying?
Spoiler -- she kisses them both. This bugs some people, and I know it's a deal-breaker for some. For ME, it just solidified the fact that there is a love triangle, and the type of love triangle that isn't about to go away.
And the ending - HA! The ending is a very clear indication that the love triangle isn't going to go away! We have ALL THREE OF THEM - Nix, Kash, and Blake - in the same space! Going to the same place! Are you f***ing kidding me?! That solidifies the love triangle EVEN MORE - Nix gets to bounce around between the two of them in book two. THIS IS WHAT BOTHERS ME THE MOST ABOUT THIS LOVE TRIANGLE.
All caps are totally necessary.
I thought the love triangle would turn out to be mild - at one point in the book, it looks like Nix is going to leave Hawaii (and Blake) forever - but that wasn't the case. So I'm ridiculously angry because the synopsis REALLY had me thinking that Nix's "love" would be Kashmir (and maybe it is, but then her "love" part 2 is Blake?). I love Kashmir. I think Blake is a waste of space. Pansy. Idiot. Weak. One-dimensional. A space-filler. The author REALLY wanted a love triangle in this book.
I want to say that Kashmir is the "real" choice, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. The heroine gives no indication of a preference, of which boy has more of her affection. Honestly the more I think about it, the more I despise Nix. She's not incredibly astute, intelligent, and decisive. Not that everyone has to be but... the fact that she isn't when she could/should be, bothers me. A lot.
Well this review is rapidly turning into a love triangle rant, so I'll switch gears for a second. This book is LONG - nearly 500 pages - and it really felt that way. Usually long books don't bother me! 300, 400, 500 pages never really deterred me from reading - or finishing - a book. But 10% into this book, and I was feeling the length. I dreaded continuing this book; maybe I wasn't in the mood, but this book took forever for me to get into it, and obviously I never really got invested. Or maybe I got too invested, which is why I reacted so badly to the love triangle.
But anyway, I struggled with this book, especially when I first started reading it. It didn't hook me. It never hooked me. It took me entirely too long to finish this book, longer than it usually takes me. Some parts of it were sooo boring, other parts more exciting.
This book threw me because I thought for a second that I was reading a carbon copy of Passenger by Alexandra Bracken. Both deal with ships whose captains/navigators can take you to different times and locations. Weird, no? I didn't like this one nearly as much as I liked Passenger.
So, to recap. Love triangle; dumba** heroine; a struggle to get into the story; eerily similar to Passenger by Alexandra Bracken. Mostly - LOVE TRIANGLE with no end in sight. Ew ew ew.
Unfortunately this is a prime example of peer pressure gone wrong - I never would have gotten this book from Edelweiss had a friend not reviewed the book before the book was available from the publisher. I kind of regret ever considering this book! I rarely pick up books based on peer pressure alone - this is exactly why. Go with your instinct/interests, people!
Would I Recommend It:
I so do not recommend this book under any circumstances, especially if you hate love triangle like me, or if ANYTHING I mentioned in the previous section bothered you. If you don't mind love triangles... this is probably going to seem like a jolly good story with lovely world-building and a uniqueness to the locations and whatnot. Otherwise? Steer clear of this one. Far faaaar away.
1.5 stars -> rounded up to 2 stars (this is my generosity at its finest, people). I'm rounding up because there is a SLIM chance that I might read the next book, if only to see what happens. If the love triangle disappears quickly into the sequel, then I'll bite. But at the moment, I refuse to think about continuing with the series. SOMEONE COMFORT ME PLEASE.
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