Wow. I am currently in a state of awe. I finished reading The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig yesterday, and I'm still reeling over just how good it was. This book is incredible!
In The Girl From Everywhere, Slate wants to get back to 1868 Honolulu, Hawaii, so he can save his wife, Lin, before she dies, but they never make it. In The Ship Beyond Time, Heigil takes what is just an idea in the first - wanting to try to change history - and runs with it. Another navigator, Donald Crowhurst has sent a message to Nix - he needs her help, and in exchange, he will teach her how to change history, as he has done in the mythical utopia Ker Ys, stopping the flood that destroys the city from happening. Nix has just found out from her father that she is destined to lose the one she loves to see sea. Fearing losing Kash and becoming like her father, to spend her life desperately trying to find a way to bring Kash back after he dies, Nix takes Crowhurst up on his offer. But there's more going on at Ker Ys than meets the eye, and Crowhurst doesn't seem to be telling her everything.
There are so many aspects of this book that I love. I adored all the questions surround time, fate, and the past. It really appealed to the part of me that loves Doctor Who and all that "wibbly wobbly, timey wimey stuff". It gets you thinking about cause and affect; if you change the something in the past, even something small, what will that mean for the future? And when your future is someone else's past, it's going to happen, right? But what if you try to prevent your future from happening, what will that mean for the past that has already been? And if you're a time traveller, and something is going to happen in your future, in your timeline, but it happens while you've travelled into the past, and therefore happens at some point in history - and in a sense, has already happened - does that mean destiny and fate exist? And if so, can you outrun fate? Does the simple fact of knowing your fate set things on a course that makes it come about? Oh my gosh, it's all so clever! A clever, intricate, and skillfully woven story that isn't as complicated or as confusing as I make it sound. But I live for this stuff, so every twist and turn, I lapped it up, creating theory upon theory of where things will go, what certain things mean, and just revelling in this incredibly imaginative story!
And Heilig is so clever! I've only covered the time elements, but this story evolves around a mythological city - a city that never existed - and trying to change what happens there. It's a myth! It's a story, it's been written and told, and it's known, but it's fictional. If the story is changed, what would that mean for the real world? For those who retold and wrote the story down? Well, in a sense, this is covered, in regards to history books. But it's just all so big! Trying to imagine it all and I am just full of questions, and it's incredible! But not only does this story focus on a myth and trying to change the myth, one of the important characters in this books actually existed. Donald Crowhurst was a real man, who disappeared at sea during a round-the-world sailing race. A real person changes a myth. This just makes me unbelievably happy, and it makes me laugh. It's just wonderful!
As exciting and adventurous as this story is, it's also incredibly emotional. This is Nix's life; her future, the future of Kash, the one she loves. There are also parts of this book that are just absolutely beautiful and makes your heart fit to burst, but then incredibly heartbreaking. It's too much, it's just too much, but in the best possible way.
Heilig is an expert storyteller, effortlessly weaving romance, time-travel, adventure, myth, fantasy and history together to make an incredibly exciting, suspenseful, emotional, beautiful story. She captured my imagination yet again and took me on one hell of a ride. I just can't express how incredible this book - this duology - is. It's epic - epic - and I am so, so sad that that's the last of Nix, Kash and the others that we'll see. The Ship Beyond Time is simply perfect.
Thank you to Hot Key Books via NetGalley for the eProof.