” our lives are before us, not behind.”
” that depends on where you’re standing on the timeline.”
– from The Ship Beyond Time
The Girl from Everywhere
What a clever construct! I have seen similar concepts before – traveling between worlds has become a fairly commonplace one, and the use of maps to do so is not all that terribly surprising a way to do so. James A. Owen’s extraordinary Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica is one of the most obvious comparators – and a personal favorite – so I was a bit uncertain about this one. Before I started reading. After, well, I knew that the concept was in yet another set of exceptional hands.
Heilig has crafted a wholly unique world, populated by myth and legend and all too human personalities that are as robust and complex as any I’ve seen. There is time travel, geography, mythology and literature. There are prophecies, secrets, quests, and loves (and lives) lost and found. The book is a glorious journey through worlds and life – Nix’s personal journey is as nuanced and difficult to travel as her geographical one, and the meld of the two makes this a really marvelous addition to the universe of “worlds within worlds” books.
The Ship Beyond Time
Don’t you just love it when the sequel is as good as the original??
“All myths have versions,” I said with a shrug…”That’s one of the things that makes it a myth. It’s only once everyone agrees on one version of the past that it becomes history.”
I applied to NetGalley for an ARC of this one – I LOVED the first in the series, and couldn’t wait to get my hands on this one. Both because I was dying to see where Nix, Slate, Kash and the others wound up, but also because I didn’t want to lose the details of it before delving back into Heilig’s exceptional world(s), since it’s much easier for me to read one new book than to have to reread an old before turning to the new… I was denied – not sure why – and crushed because I’d have to wait. But merciful heavens, was it worth the wait!
The journey once again takes us into a delicious blend of mythical and mundane waters – although, really, is there anything mundane about reality when it’s managed so deftly? Heilig does a fantastic job at making even the ordinary (New York City, current date) seem exceptional. She is a dab hand at world-building, painting descriptions that are detailed enough to bring you right into the locale of the moment (much like the Captain’s vaunted maps) without wasting a single paragraph with extraneous information. And if she’s that good at geography, imagine how good she is at drama…
Nix is once again trapped between the possible and the necessary. She tap dances among land mines in this world and others, trying to find her way to a life well lived, and well deserved. Along the way she finds (and loses) love, finds (and loses) faith and friendship, finds (and loses) maps, and finds (and loses) her way. But somehow she always manages to find her way back – to love, geography, and her own place in the world(s). “Personal growth” sounds like such a cliche, but there really is a seismic shift in her perspective throughout the two books – a shift that ties together handily, if not altogether tidily, by the end of this book.
The Ship Beyond Time is billed as a sequel, which you don’t usually see if a book is intended as the middle of a series. But there’s clearly an opening for more adventures. How could there not be – there will, after all, always be more maps… The story started in The Girl From Everywhere has come full circle in many ways, as has the character of Nix herself. If the series ended here, it would end satisfactorily. But I really hope it doesn’t!