Can you say pirates, maps, and troubled relationships, anymore accurately than The Girl From Everywhere does? I don’t think so. This book has it all for me: a fantastic heroine, a love story I could get behind, troubled family relationships, gorgeous maps, and tons of pirate-y heist sort of action.
Nix is a seasoned sailor, having spent her whole life on her father’s ship, sailing across the world and time. Her father possesses a special ability to travel to any time or place, if he has a map for it. They have been to mythical lands, past cities, and sunken islands. But it’s still not enough and he still hunts for the one elusive map – the map to 1868 Honolulu which could bring him back to Nix’s mother. Nix has known her whole life, that he has been searching for this map, but the days grow closer and closer as it may be in his grasp. And what then? Will this map erase her very existence? Once you start playing with the past, you can’t go back and Nix fears she’ll disappear forever.
That premise alone absolutely hooked me. The whole book centers firmly on Nix and her journey. As you can tell there’s some family trouble brewing: nostalgia, trying to go back to her mother, and, oh yeah, potentially erasing her existence. Nix has a strained relationship with her dad as well, because she serves constantly as a reminder of her mother, so she has these two parts of herself – one as a daughter, and another as his right hand crewmate, since she is an expert in maps.
‘There has to be a line…a person can’t do just anything for love’….’I would.’ ‘Yeah, well, you’re a thief. Your relative morality is already suspect.’…’I’ll leave the morality for those that like the taste of it. I always preferred bread’. (171)
Because of this relationship, and a few other arts of her life, Nix is terrified of love. She recognizes the fierce hold it has on its lovers, as well as the potential for it to cause both joy and terrible pain. That makes her own relationships fraught with fear as she realizes only too clearly the pain of loss. I loved everything about Nix, from her narrative style, to her friendship with the crew, to her own personal demons. Having the weight of the world on her shoulders: her father’s fate, her own life, and her difficult feelings regarding getting close to people, mostly her fantastic and diverse crew, I could really connect with Nix, which made the entire story even more captivating.
Heilig’s fantastic writing results in a lush and almost visceral description of the settings, that transports you there. The addition of the maps within the book is a lovely touch, that brings the entire world to life for you. Her writing enfolds you, circles you, until you’re immersed in a world you don’t want to leave (which is why I dove straight into the sequel and threw caution, and responsibilities, to the wind). The entire premise is just artfully produced on the pages, from the magical mystery of navigating, to the descriptions of Honolulu, and the tastes of food.
It doesn’t hurt that the plot line carries you along, at times dousing you in cold saltwater, but at other times allowing you to surf on the crest of the waves. There are moments of comic mistakes, truth, and everything in between. If you’ve ever wondered about magical islands, treasures of gold, or ship battles with mythical monsters – and anything pirate related – this plot will thrill you. But that doesn’t overshadow the main themes of the book: the past as well as the duality of love. When we can go anywhere we want, we must always leave things behind, even if it’s as simple as leaving a past version of ourselves in our wake. And we can never truly ever go back to that time – it is unattainable and elusive. Additionally, while love has the power to cause great pain, terrible loss, and a sort of withdrawal type feeling, there is such a magical power in love – the feelings of being loved, knowing you are loved, and relishing in each new moment.
I know that the sequel will deal with these themes even more so, and I do look forward to that, so I won’t dwell too much. Absolutely adoring the characters, I cannot wait to dive back for more. I loved Kashmir’s humor, Bee’s personality, and so much more. I’m casting off now, about to embark on another installment in this fantastic series full of dragons who eat pearls, ships who navigate time, and the search for the past.
What’s your favorite pirate in pop culture/history?
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