*This novel was received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
The Girl From Everywhere seems to have been springing up all over the place as the release date draws nearer. There’s a lot of hype for Heidi Heilig’s debut novel and I can see why – the premise sounds magical and utterly intriguing. I dived right in and the story kicked off with a great deal of potential but unfortunately, much like the maps around which this book revolves, the whole thing proved somewhat difficult to navigate.
Nix made an okay protagonist. She was clever and strong and her fears over her fate should her father make it to his destination made perfect sense. Her friendship with Kashmir and the other members of the crew came across very well on the page too, especially when offset by her rocky relationship with her father. I very much wanted her to find happiness and a place to call home, at least in the beginning. And although it was tricky to make sense of, I enjoyed the unique time travel system in small doses. I thought the concept of traveling to not just different times but to different realms with fantasy and magic based strongly on belief was a bold move on the author’s part.
The opening chapters launched straight into things with plenty of action but little in the way of excitement. I was constantly waiting for the moment when I would find myself hooked by the storyline but it never came. Pages passed, then chapters, and I still wasn’t much interested. Not to mention I found the complexities of the world quite hard to follow in places, a fact not helped in the slightest by the mysteries surrounding just how, exactly, one manages to Navigate. There were moments of greatness, but these were slow to appear and too few and far between to hold my interest.
I’ve mentioned already that Nix herself was alright. The problem was that her narrative never pulled me in to the story: she was the heroine with torn loyalties. That was it, just like Kashmir was the comic relief and Blake was the love interest. All of these characters were well written but not beyond the role they were required to fill; they lacked depth. As a result I was never that invested in what was going to happen to Nix (or any of the other characters for that matter) so I often found myself putting the book down in favour of reading something else for a while. The romantic sub plot was sweet but nothing special. The love triangle played out fairly predictably yet, once again, I didn’t really care who ended up with who.
My biggest concern was with the novel’s pacing. My word, things certainly took a long time to get going. The first section dragged – we must have plodded our way through at least a third of the book before things started to pick up. Even then things happened at a glacial pace. I don’t know how many pages long the physical copies will be but it sure felt as though we could have significantly condensed down the beginning. Then, rather bizarrely, the ending of the novel materialised quite abruptly and I was left wondering how everything managed to simultaneously happen and get resolved all in the last fifty pages.
It might seem from my above criticism that I really didn’t like this book, but I do want to give it two point five stars. As debuts go, The Girl From Everywhere was a solid one. I thought it was good but it wasn’t for me, which was such a shame because I so desperately wanted to get into it, but I just wasn’t drawn in. I wouldn’t count myself out of reading Heilig’s future releases but they probably wouldn’t make it to the top of my to-read list.