In many books, especially fantasy novels, one of the best parts of the reading experience is the chance to pore over detailed maps of real or imagined places, from Middle-earth to Oz. In her debut novel, Heidi Heilig takes things a step further and places maps squarely at the center of her plot.
Nix’s father, Slate, is a Navigator, skilled at traveling through time and space—and even in between historical and mythological versions of the world—by steering his ship, the Temptation, between maps. Nix and her father have traveled from medieval Scandinavia to modern-day New York City, all as part of Slate’s quest to find the ultimate map: the one that will take him back to Hawaii in 1868, the last place and time he saw Nix’s mother alive.
Slate takes more and more risks as he comes closer to his goal, blinded by romanticism and opium until he’s unable to see the truth—that someone else who knows about Navigation may, in fact, be using Slate’s desires for their own ends.
The world Heilig has built is a creative blend of actual history and fantasy elements grounded in ancient and modern myths. Her novel is simultaneously an adventure story, a love triangle and a meditation on big topics like the idea of home and the tension between fate and free will. The good news is that The Girl from Everywhere is just the first part of a duology, so readers will be able to accompany Nix on another journey.