BOOK SERIES REVIEW: The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

Series Rating: Five star rating represented by five bumblebees (5 out of 5)

Cover of The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig, depicting a ship with red sails riding a wave on a black background

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.

I loved this book so, so much. The premise is promising and the author delivers a riveting adventure. I loved the unique take on time travel, a ship not only sailing through space but also through time. The pacing was exactly right for me, diving straight into the action. The plot moves along quickly, but leaves room for world-building and introspection.

The Temptation is crewed by a diverse cast of characters that I immediately fell in love with. The crew consists of half-Chinese Nix, her father Slate, Kashmir, a boy rescued from a mythical place, ex-buddhist monk Rotgut, Bee, a black African gay woman, and arguably her ghost wife Ayen. They are such a wonderful found family and I was so invested in every single one of them.

But the character I loved most of all was, of course, the main character Nix. Her narrative voice is clear and strong, even when she goes through patches of doubt or existential angst. She has encyclopedic knowledge of history and mythology, and is mostly in charge of picking where they will Navigate to next. Her dream is to learn to Navigate through space and time herself and to set out on her own, but she is struggling with making a decision that would mean leaving behind her father and her home, the Temptation. Nix is a conflicted character, but she has a good heart and wants to do what’s right, even if it means self-sacrifice.

Nix’s conflict also extends into her love life. Kashmir has been her best friend and travelling companion for years, but she toys with the possibility of a relationship with a new arrival in her life. Although I’m not usually a fan of love triangles, this one was actually not that bad, and blessedly mostly void of jealousy. I could even see Nix, Kashmir, and Blake in a poly relationship, but alas, I didn’t get an OT3 ending.

In The Girl From Everywhere, Nix learns to navigate her relationship with her father, blossoming love, and eventually time and space. While this first book in the series is packed with action, it also largely acts as a set-up for the sequel. The ending is very open, so I was glad I was able to delve right into The Ship Beyond Time.

Cover of The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig, depicting a ship with red sails on a cresting wave on a white background

After what seems like a lifetime of following her father across the globe and through the centuries, Nix has finally taken the helm of their time-traveling ship. Her future—and the horizon—is bright.

Until she learns she is destined to lose the one she loves. To end up like her father: alone, heartbroken.

Unable to face losing Kashmir—best friend, thief, charmer extraordinaire—Nix sails her crew to a mythical utopia to meet a man who promises he can teach her how to manipulate time, to change history. But no place is perfect, not even paradise. And everything is constantly changing on this utopian island, including reality itself.

If Nix can read the ever-shifting tides, perhaps she will finally harness her abilities. Perhaps she can control her destiny, too.

Or perhaps her time will finally run out.

Again, I was engrossed in this book from start to finish. Heidi Heilig is an amazing writer, and in The Ship Beyond Time she masterfully interweaves history and myth in a fascinating story.

Pulling on the Breton myth of Ker-Ys, Heilig creates a fantastical setting for the crew of the Temptation. I wasn’t previously aware of this somewhat obscure myth, and finding out more about it was really interesting. I love both history and mythology, and this book asked a lot of questions about what makes something history or myth, and what that means for the characters’ identities.

In her quest to figure out changing history, Nix again grapples with herself and with what’s right. Even though she is originally driven to Ker-Ys by selfish motives, her drive to do the right thing and to help others always wins in the end. I really like characters discovering power and its ensuing possibilities, and grappling not only with whether or not they can, but also with whether or not they should.

In this book, we also got some insight into Kashmir’s thoughts via a few chapters from his POV scattered throughout the book. At first, I wasn’t too thrilled about this because I thought the POV shifts would be regular and I wanted to stay with Nix, but the author managed to intersperse Nix’s narrative with the perfect amount of Kashmir chapters, and I ended up loving them, too.

I only wish that there had been better queer rep because the only queer character having lost their spouse, though remaining married to their ghost, tastes a bit sour with the lack of overall wlw representation. Bee’s and Ayen’s relationship is incredibly sweet, but it would be improved by both of them being alive. It’s also a shame that there wasn’t any disability rep, unless you count Slate’s addiction.

Ultimately, though, this series so well-written and filled with things I love (history! mythology! heists! found family!) and the POC representation was so good that I really can’t envision giving The Girl from Everywhere anything but the full five stars.

Have you read The Girl From Everywhere? Did you like it? Let me know what you think in the comments below!

5 thoughts on “BOOK SERIES REVIEW: The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig”

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