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The Ship Beyond Time (The Girl from Everywhere #2) by Heidi Heilig

“…whenever you try to change something, you sacrifice something else.”

Nix has spent her whole life journeying to places both real and imagined aboard her time-traveling father’s ship. And now it’s finally time for her to take the helm. Her father has given up his obsession to save her mother—and possibly erase Nix’s existence—and Nix’s future lies bright before her. Until she learns that she is destined to lose the one she loves. But her relationship with Kash—best friend, thief, charmer extraordinaire—is only just beginning. How can she bear to lose him? How can she bear to become as adrift and alone as her father?

Desperate to change her fate, Nix takes her crew to a mythical utopia to meet another Navigator who promises to teach her how to manipulate time. But everything in this utopia is constantly changing, and nothing is what it seems—not even her relationship with Kash. Nix must grapple with whether anyone can escape her destiny, her history, her choices. Heidi Heilig weaves fantasy, history, and romance together to tackle questions of free will, fate, and what it means to love another person. But at the center of this adventure are the extraordinary, multifaceted, and multicultural characters that leap off the page, and an intricate, recognizable world that has no bounds. The sequel—and conclusion—to the indie darling The Girl from Everywhere will be devoured by fans of Rachel Hartman and Maggie Stiefvater. Includes black-and-white maps.

Book Links: Amazon | B&N | BD | Goodreads | Publisher

Personal Thoughts:

Heidi Heilig sailed once again in this sequel of her time travel series, The Girl from Everywhere. Amira/Nix and her crew are back in The Ship Beyond Time for more journey, searching for the biggest question of time travel about changing history and fate – Do we decide our own fate or is it simply a predetermined path?

Can Amira change her destiny to save someone she love?

I come aboard reading this sequel with less expectations especially with all the issues I have from the first book. If not for Kashmir and the hope to get answers or explanations to at least few of my questions from the The Girl from Everywhere I’m not sure I’ll be coming back for more. But my curiosity win as usual.

The best part of this book (aside from Kashmir and his point of view) is how all the events are interconnected. Sometimes I view those events as circle or loop which are all linked to each other in some way. And analyzing them just form lots of questions (more on that later) than answers. The events are all interconnected, every decisions counts, and they are all part of a grander plot. Which makes me appreciate the intricacy of all these connections. Heidi Heilig must have done lots of research and outlining, not only weaving the imaginary world to the real ones but also interlacing each events.

Remember the main conflict from the first book? About the possibility or erasing Amira’s very own existence if his dad tried and save her mom. Well, that conflict doesn’t really work for me because of Kashmir – an imaginary character from mythical land who exist as real and living boy in the story. (Check my explanations from my review of the first book here for more details.) I did wait for some explanations for that in this second installment, and Kash actually have some thoughts about it but there was never a clear answer. Just one of the many unanswered questions I have from this series.

“If you can create a myth, why not a man? Am I merely a figment of some cartographer’s imagination? Or did you make me up when you arrived?”

Then there’s also the time traveling part. I won’t go into details about the rules of time traveling. I cover more than enough of those from my review of the first book, The Girl from Everywhere. Instead, let’s discuss the classic question I mentioned above, about fate and destiny. Are we the masters of our own fate? Amira travel the length of mythical land looking for answers about changing her destiny with the belief of saving Kashmir. She cannot accept a future where she will lose Kash, to the point of losing the time she was supposed to enjoy with him.

“That’s why you want to know you can change things before you commit.”
“You watched your father chase your mother for years, and you wished he didn’t love her. What will you do to my memory when I’m gone? Will you chase it like a dragon? Or will you banish it like smoke?”

Amira dreaded the future that she forgot to enjoy the present. Unlike Kash who even doubting his very own existence manage to appreciate what he has.

“I won’t let fear of tomorrow steal joy form today.”

Heidi Heilig challenged her characters about the cause and effect of our choices, the ramification of our actions, and how destiny play a huge role in all of these. Amira went to this mythical utopia to find answers in saving Kash, but in doing so she actually triggered the events that led to her loss. Which is just one part of the connections I mentioned above. If only I can enumerate all them here without spoiling. But trust me, those parts are the best, especially in the end where everything is laid out.

“Every choice has a cost, Miss Song. The real question is whether or not one is willing to pay it.”
“No, Blake. The real question is whether it’s worth the price.”

So, Amira doesn’t actually changed her destiny. In the end she still lose someone she love. Which means destiny cannot be altered. If that’s the case, then it brings conflict to Kashmir and Blake’s dream. During their stay in the mythical utopia, there are events that explain Kashmir and Blake’s dream which are actually altered reality – something that happened but was altered somehow. And only navigators remembers what really happened in those events. Those parts are contradicting. They bring more conflicts than answers. Which means we are back to square one. Is fate can really be altered or are we just treading the same line where our destiny ends? Unfortunately, The Ship Beyond Time cannot answer that question. I guess, it’s really up to the  readers what they want to believe.

Back to Amira and Kash. These two went through a lot. Their internal struggles, relationship issues, and overall character development is really the heart of The Ship Beyond Time. Though I missed the other characters who all take a few steps backward in this last adventure, I still enjoyed Kash and Amira’s story. Surprisingly, there’s no love-triangle involved. Blake is not much of a competition as I expected him to be, especially with how the first book ended. So we only have Amira and Kash trying to navigate their own sea of issues both as a couple and individual. Kashmir is questioning his own purpose and existence. While Amira is struggling not only with her destiny of losing someone she love, but also becoming like her father. She is afraid of losing control, of giving in to love and end up like her father – whom we see from the first book as someone obsess in getting her wife back.

Overall, The Ship Beyond Time is imaginative, exciting and entertaining read. Not everything is explained, but that matters very little especially when you are lost enjoying sailing with characters like Amira and her diverse crew aboard the time-traveling ship, Temptation.

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The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

The Girl From Everywhere

“Sometimes a person has to let go of something to take hold of something else. You always have to choose what’s more important.”

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.

Personal Thoughts:

The Girl from Everywhere is a richly imaginative tale that not only offers thrilling adventure of time travelling but also likeable characters to sail along with the readers.

The story introduced us to Nix as she sails to different time and place with her navigator father, Slate and the whole crew of the ship, The Temptation. They can travel to any place and time, both real and imagine as long as they have a map for it. They’ve visited a lot of maps except for 1868 Honolulu, the one map that Slate is obsessing. It’s the place and time where Nix’s mother exist before she give birth to Nix and then died. Slate will do anything to get his hand on this particular map that will bring him back to the woman he love dearly and save her from death. But Nix is worried that if Slate try to save her mother before Nix was born, it may change the past. And changing the past may have effect to Nix existence.

Heidi Heilig used a lots of ideas and concepts in this book. Not only she combine time-travel with fantasy and history, she also throw a diverse cast of characters, pirating, and creatures from myth and legends. It’s a very promising mixed which if done well could have been an epic read.

The main character Nix is easy to sympathize. Right from the start I feel sorry for her. She has a father but it feels like she doesn’t have one. Slate is more of a ship Captain and navigator than a father to Nix. And with Slate obsession to save his wife without considering what will happen to Nix, Nix is not sure if her father love her or even care for her. The other member of the crew is more concern to her than her own father.

Just like Kashmir, the Persian guy who clearly care for Nix. Readers will be glad this thief is on board. Not only he took care of Nix but mostly because he provide the most needed entertainment to the story. Kashmir is easily charming who will surely make readers notice him. He is witty, smart, cunning and smooth talking. And did I mentioned that he is a thief? Oh yes, I did. He is a thief which is a weakness of mine, especially those smart-mouted and wise one like Eugenides of The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen-Turner. Here are some memorable lines from Kashmir.

“I never knew you had such a fine eye for fabrics,” I said as we continued up the street. “You should have been a tailor instead of a thief.”
“I have a fine eye for all things, amira, which is why I’m a thief and not a tailor.”

“The last thing we need is for you to go to jail.”
“For treason?” he said, running a comb through his touseled hair. “We wouldn’t go to jail.”
“Really?”
“We’d be shot.”

“When I was young, I learned to expect loss. Every time you slept, something disappeared. Whenever you woke up, someone else was gone. But . . . I also learned that every day, you created everything anew. And whatever you had, you enjoyed as long as it lasted.
Spend money when it’s in your pocket.” …“Eat fruit while it’s ripe…“Paradise is a promise no god bothers to keep. There’s only now, and tomorrow nothing will be the same, whether we like it or not.

This book is not without flaws – there are some plot holes or intricate concepts that I think didn’t really work smoothly, particularly the time traveling part. I’m not sure if I’m just over analysing things or what, but I don’t think it was explained better or justified how really Slate and his crew can travel in different times and places, both real and imagine. Basically it said that they only need a map that is completed on the date they want to travel, and for some vague reason only Slate can navigate those maps. When it was revealed in the end how can he do it, I’m so disappointed. I wish Heidi explained that one better or put more thoughts about it.

Also, there are dates of Slate’s travels that didn’t fit (or I just misunderstand them). When Slate is teaching Nix how to navigate, it was revealed that he was in New York public library and the year is 1981 when he first time travel, but there’s also a reference that say 2016 is Slate’s “native time and place”, which can be translated to Slate’s origin right? But then it was also mentioned that Slate in 2016 is fifty one years old which means he was actually born in the year 1965, and if we compute from there, it means his first time-travel was when he sixteen years old. I’m not exactly sure how time flows when he was time traveling, but lets assume that time flows the same fluid motion as our regular time, so my question is, is Slate and his crew time travel to the future when they landed to May 2016? If that’s the case, where Slate did get a map of the future, if the map isn’t even made by then? I’m not sure if I’m making sense here, but it just really confusing to me.

And for the imagined places like legends and myths, the only restrictions that I remember is as long as the maker of the map believe in the places he/she drawn in the map then Slate and his crew can time travel there. So let say, I draw a map today which I set in the past and Slate will use that map, what date will they actually land? The date I made the map or the date I set in the map of the imaginary land, which I also believe is real? Also, in the book it said that maps can be only use once, thus it means that Slate has tons of maps at his disposal? Where and how did he acquire all those maps? And assuming that he can acquire those maps easily how come 1868 Honolulu map is so hard to find, while legends and mythical land seems easy to obtain and travel?

Also, the main conflict of the plot doesn’t work for me. Nix doesn’t want for Slate to travel back in 1868 Honolulu, the year before her mother died because of the possibility that it may erase Nix very own existence. But if that’s the case, why they can’t recreate Nix? Kashmir is from an imaginary world but manage to exist like a real person, so why Nix who is real cannot exist like Kashmir? I’m sure, if Slate can bring an imaginary character like Kashmir he can also pull his own daughter from some of his time travel right? Is it too much for him to create a map where he believes that her daughter, Nix exist and alive?

Despite the few drawbacks with regard to the time travelling part, The Girl from Everywhere is an imaginative, utterly gorgeous, and mesmerizing tale. There so much promise that we can only hope to be develop more or explain better in the next instalment. I hope Nix next time-travel sailing will be more smoother than this one.

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