“I bit my lip to keep it from trembling; 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.”
The Girl from Everwhere was the last book I managed to finish for TBRTakedown 4.0, and after reading the synopsis I was hoping for great things. But while the story was a fun tale of time-travelling adventures, it didn’t quite live up to my expectations.
Nix is a sailor living on board The Temptation with her father, the Captain, and the rest of the crew. The Temptation is far from ordinary though; it’s a time-travelling ship. Nix’s father uses maps from different eras to navigate through time in his search for the one map he truly wants. The map of Hawaii, 1868, that will allow him to go back and save Nix’s mother before she dies.
The premise of the book had me really excited, but the individual elements weren’t executed as well as they could have been. The plot was dramatic at times, but confused at others and there were numerous instances when there was little logical sense for the events taking place; they just didn’t fit with the wider story arc. Now I’ve got a degree in Language and Literature and another in Linguistics, so I think I understand books pretty well. I’m no stranger to unraveling and analysing their complexities, but there were times when this book just left me baffled by the lack of plot motivation behind certain events. They jarred with other sub-plots that did make sense and could have been removed altogether.
Some characters, such as Nix and Kash, had detailed personalities and engaging interactions with one another, but others felt under-developed. We barely learned anything about Rotgut, and I would have liked to hear more of Bee’s backstory. I also couldn’t take the minor characters seriously because their names – ‘Mr D’ and ‘Mr T’ – were just silly.
The writing style alternated between buoyant and underwhelming. It took me a while to get into this book and I think it was because the narrative style in the first 50 pages just didn’t grip me. There was little that thrilled me until around page 70, and I think the style overall could have used more flare and unpredictability.
The book’s saving grace was its world-building. As adventurers through time, the main characters travel to a number of different countries and eras, and the way these places were built up was luxuriously detailed. It’s clear that Heilig did a lot of research for this book, and it shows in the narration of the Hawaiian landscapes and description of prominent places in Oahu.
I wanted to love this book, I really did, but there were too many issues with the writing and the plot for it to live up to my expectations. A good book, but not the brilliant one I was hoping for.