by Heidi Heilig
…he’d let me go a long time ago. After all, you can only hold one person tight if you’re holding on with both hands.
Time Travel Take 2!
Nix travels the seas with her father and their ragtag crew. Their crew is a motley assortment of people from different places, and times. Because Nix’s father has the power to travel through time, as long as he has the right map provided by Nix. Except throughout the 16 years of Nix’s life, her father has only been trying to get to one place: back to her mother. The fact that he can’t reuse a map has made it hard. Nix is used to her father’s obsessions, and addictions, even as they display a blatant disregard for her feelings. Still, she’s left trying to help her father get to a past that she’s certain will alter her present.
While Passenger took some time for the pace to pick up, The Girl from Everywhere jumps right out of the gate. The action can slow a little bit in the middle, but Heilig largely keeps it moving throughout. I wouldn’t call either novel more successful than the other for their pacing, just that they set different tones.
Another Passenger difference because they’re the timetravel novels I’ve read recently (and enjoyed both!) is that Passenger centralized a romance basically right away. The coming romance is evident in the Girl From Everywhere but it’ a slow build and usually in the background. I actually found myself yearning for romantic developments in a way that I’m used them being granted already. But it’s going to be satisfying friends. Also, Heilig doesn’t sacrifice her character for romance. Nix has grown up watching an obsessive love steal her stability and her father’s affection. Of course she’s not going to just jump right in to a romance.
I really enjoyed Nix. I enjoyed that she was strong and vulnerable. It could be heartbreaking watching her not try get her hopes up in terms of her father picking her. Instead, she soldiers on, trying to figure out the best path forward. I wish we had gotten to know Kashmir even more. We have plenty of time with him, but he’s still keeping himself emotionally distant as a character. But he’s also brilliant because he lets Nix be Nix. There is no pressure. No angst. Just a friendship with the opportunity for more. The rest of the crew is intriguing, but they’re kind of doing their thing in the background. We don’t get too much time with them, and while I remember most of their circumstances, they aren’t particularly memorable on their own.
I haven’t read many novels that take place largely in Hawaii and I dug it. I would have liked to see even more of the world of Hawaii, though I was happy to get the small politic glimpses we did. I did miss some of the grit that exists in my favorite historical fiction. We get perks of it with the knowledge of the existence of opium dens, and the shady parlor politics that are happening. But it come down to wanting to see more of the world.
Also let’s talk time travel for a hot second. This book had some really satisfying logic to the rules of time travel ,while still remaining fantastical, where Passenger relied a little more on faith, trust, and pixie dust. Here you’re still born with the power. But you have to have a map. And you can only use the same map one time. There are limitations and rules. Passenger still has limitations, don’t get me wrong, but they’re more timeline bound. Read both these novels so we can compare the minutia of the time travel together. And then read Into the Dim because I’ve got that in my queue as well. Although I’m getting more Diana Gabaldon, Karen Marie Moning, Lynn Kurland vibes from that one as of now.
Thank you to NetGalley and Greenwillow Books for a digital ARC of this title. You can snap your copy up on February 16th! And you should.