Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Review: The Girl from Everywhere

The Girl from Everywhere (Girl from Everywhere, book one)
By Heidi Heilig
Published February 16, 2016 by Greenwillow Books
Reviewed from e-ARC

Nix has been navigating her father's ship for some time - crossing oceans and time periods and the lines of reality with the ease of any ship on calm waters. But her father's obsession with finding a map to bring him back to her dead mother could be Nix's undoing.

You know, I don't hate time travel books - certainly not in the way I shy away from anything set in space. However, I'm not terribly fond of time travel either; if I think too hard about it and the logistics of making it work, it makes my head hurt (and I'm generally not a fan of things I can't wrap my brain around). Maybe it's good for me to exercise my brain this way - I mean, I must be learning something about physics and the time-space continuum, right? But I feel like I read a lot of things that stretch my brain in other, more comfortable ways.

So, why did I read this one? Well, much like animal fantasy or things set in space/with aliens, I can't seem to leave well enough alone. I very much enjoy the IDEA of time travel - what an unbelievable thing that would be. And I have enjoyed a few things involving time travel (the movie About Time is what springs most clearly to mind). As a result, I keep going back for more, hoping to find the book that will really unlock time travel for me.

This book is not it. It's not a terrible book - I particularly liked the notion of being able to travel to any place you had a map for, as long as you believed in it (making mythological worlds accessible - AWESOME). And I found Kashmir quite charming, though his relationship with Nix was frustrating. But, for a book about time travel, there really isn't...that...much...time...travel. I get that we are joining Nix and her father as they finally have a strong lead on the map he's quested for Nix's entire life, but that means that they really only make one journey in this book. It makes it kind of...boring? It certainly leaves me questioning why this book needed to be almost 500 pages long (and first in a series, to boot).

I also found the book's stance on addiction problematic. Nix's father is an opium addict and I would go so far as to say that his quest for the map leading him to Nix's mother is another addiction. Knowing what I know about addiction and addicts, it seems unlikely to me that Slate's addiction would work out the way it does here. Addiction is a disease; it doesn't just go away if you love someone enough. That's a false narrative that we like to tell in our society and it creates dangerous expectations both for addicts and the people who love them. So, I had a big problem with how Slate's addiction plays out through the end of this book.

I also didn't care for the love triangle and how silly and forced the ending made the continuation of said triangle for future installments. Just no.

Ultimately, not my cup of tea, but your mileage may vary. Thanks to the publisher for a digital advance reader's copy, provided via Edelweiss.

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