There aren’t many fantasy worlds i would want to live in. Of course I would live in the Harry Potter universe. And in Star Wars. But Middle Earth seems like the kind of world where you could die from lockjaw. The Four Corners of Civilization (Kingkiller Chronicles) appears similarly bleak. As for Westeros…absolutely the hell not. But while reading Heidi Heilig’s Girl from Everywhere duology, all I could think about was living in the strange, exciting world she created.
Our hero Nix grows up roaming the seas on her dad’s ship. But The Temptation isn’t your normal boat. The Temptation is special. It can travel to any place and time, as long as there’s a map. Her father, the captain is desperate to return to Hawaii, 1868. Nix is afraid to. That’s where her mother died, just a few months after giving birth to her. If he succeeds, she worries, what would she become? Things get somehow even more complicated when the crew get tangled in a scheme to steal the King’s treasure and the American colonialist ploy to conquer the Kingdom of Hawaii.
This series is YA so of course there’s a love triangle, but there’s a twist. Our hero isn’t really trying to choose between men, she’s trying to choose between possible lives. In Hawaii, she meets the dashing and rich Blake Hart. He represents normalcy, living in a house, exploring one island and passing the years in chronological order. On the other side we have the rakish Kashmir, who travels time and space with her on her father’s ship, always on the hunt for a new adventure.
Even though the men in the story are well-drawn (Blake less so, but still) this series totally belongs to Nix. In The Girl from Everywhere, she learns to accept that her past made her who she is. But in The Ship Beyond Time, she understands her future is up to her.
This duology is truly excellent, and I would even recommend it to people who tend to steer clear of the YA genre. The series is intricate, brimming with diversity, and chock full of treats for the sci-fi, fantasy, cartography, mythology, and history nerd in all of us. I can’t wait to see what Heidi Heilig does next.