Nix has spent her entire life aboard her father’s ship, sailing across the centuries, across the world, across myth and imagination.
As long as her father has a map for it, he can sail to any time, any place, real or imagined: nineteenth-century China, the land from One Thousand and One Nights, a mythic version of Africa. Along the way they have found crewmates and friends, and even a disarming thief who could come to mean much more to Nix.
But the end to it all looms closer every day.
Her father is obsessed with obtaining the one map, 1868 Honolulu, that could take him back to his lost love, Nix’s mother. Even though getting it—and going there—could erase Nix’s very existence.
For the first time, Nix is entering unknown waters.
She could find herself, find her family, find her own fantastical ability, her own epic love.
Or she could disappear.
Heidi Heilig’s debut manages to introduce an expansive cast of characters and uses several clever devices in this rollicking space and time adventure.
Wisely, the bulk of the action takes place in one time and place, namely Honolulu in the 19th century. The plot gets seriously complicated but one can keep up, mainly due to the strength of the main characters, in particular Nix, our protagonist. There are several layers of the story going on throughout but they all come together well by the end. Nix is the real anchor of the whole motley gang, whose outlandish traits are well explored here. Each member of the crew from a different place and time and yet brought together on bizarre quests, under the wayward but determined captaincy of Nix’s father.
Nix’s closest friend is the effortlessly charming Kashmir, plucked straight from an Arabian Nights story, quite literally. Along with Rotput and the rest, the crew is bizarre and bewitching, all with their own backstories before their time on the ship.
Then we have Slate, the captain himself, who is pretty much the tragic hero of this story. he has many, many flaws but a good heart and plenty of passion, which endear him to the reader by the end.
The attention to detail in each of the historical landscapes is astounding. Heidi Heilig uses language, clothing, shops and quirks specific to each era, without getting in the way of the plot. This comes across in Nix having to tailor her appearance and manner for whenever their time-travelling pirate ship ends up.
The concept itself is enough to sell The Girl from Everywhere and it was what drew me in. The addition of a twisty plot and engaging characters make this a quality read. It has a bit of everything really: time-hopping, pirates, thieves, lost kingdom(s), double-crosses, triple-crosses, opium dens, legends come to life, romance and fortune-telling.