I have been trying to figure out a way to share all these books I read with you but still include other non-review posts on the blog. One method I have come up with was to share the reviews for an entire series (or pair) of books in one post. I will do my absolute best to keep spoilers out of these posts in case you plan to read the books, but there is a slight chance that even the synopsis of a book can give away the result of the previous book. So if you don't want to know anything at all about the later books in a series that might giveaway something in the first book STOP READING NOW!
I found out Heidi Heilig is going to be making an appearance at the Boston Teen Author Festival next month and this series seemed like a perfect fit for both my Duology challenge and Arrgust. I went into this series not knowing a thing about it other than they are time traveling pirates and the covers are really cool. So let's get into it . . .
Synopsis: "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."
My Review: I picked this book up for my duology challenge and my pirate month, I didn't know much about it going in and that may have been a bit of a mistake. This is much more than a pirate book, it is also a historical fiction and time travel story that has a lot of intricacies that may not have been thoroughly explained and often let me a little confused. I was also disconnected with the characters, I definitely did not like Slate and Nixie wasn't high on the list either. There was one non-human character that eats pearls that I loved but he was just a minor blimp. Some of the more minor characters were really likable, I would love to have a novella about Bee and her backstory as well as one for Kashmir. I did however really enjoy the way that myths and fantasy worlds are interwoven into the story, it added a really fun element. While the story is intriguing, it really just needed more explanation and world building (even though it is set in our world and history for the most part), there is just too much left for you to try to figure out, hopefully the next book will clear some of that up.
My Rating: There was definitely a lot of history involved in this book and you really needed to be familiar with parts of it. You also really needed to be familiar with ships and various sailing terms. I did find this a bit difficult and the magic wasn't very well explained. I give it a rating of Three Paws.
Some things should not be stolen.
After what seems like a lifetime of following her father across the globe and through the centuries, Nix has finally taken the helm of their time-traveling ship. Her future—and the horizon—is bright.
Until she learns she is destined to lose the one she loves. To end up like her father: alone, heartbroken.
Unable to face losing Kashmir—best friend, thief, charmer extraordinaire—Nix sails her crew to a mythical utopia to meet a man who promises he can teach her how to manipulate time, to change history. But no place is perfect, not even paradise. And everything is constantly changing on this utopian island, including reality itself.
If Nix can read the ever-shifting tides, perhaps she will finally harness her abilities. Perhaps she can control her destiny, too.
Or perhaps her time will finally run out."
My Review: I was a bit on the fence about starting this book after reading the first one, but I already owned it so figured I would take the plunge. I did enjoy this one a little more, I think because we got Kashmir's viewpoint in this and he seems to be a little more clearheaded about everything. Nixie still drove me crazy and I still really dislike Slate and their relationship is a toxic one that I really don't care to read. The time travel became a lot more relevant in this book, and was explained a tiny bit more but still not clear enough to really figure out. I don't know if the author herself wasn't able to figure out how to make things work so muddled it up so much no one would notice, or if it was intentionally left so vague that it became a chicken or the egg type situation. If you read it simply for the romance, then it will be a good book because the relationships that develop are pretty powerful (gosh I love Bee!) but if you are like me and read fantasy and enjoy a well developed world, this may not be the series for you.
My Rating: This book continued with the confusing magic system and the interwoven time jumps got a bit convoluted. Having Kashmir's perspective really saved this story, as did Bee. I give this one a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.
Full Series Review: I really struggled with this series, they are not small books and I tried both print and audiobooks with these. I think part of the issue was extremely unlikable main characters, I did not like Nix and I definitely did not like Slate. I think it is also partly a matter of trying to fit too much into 2 books. With all the time travel by multiple characters that are interwoven but not as clearly as I needed, I think Heilig knew in her mind but it wasn't clear enough on the page. I feel like I needed an actual time line drawn out to figure out all the various interactions throughout time. As with The Daughter of the Pirate King, I really wanted to think about why I wasn't a fan of these books or the characters and I think it boils down to difficult timelines, poor magic system development and most importantly drug abuse, Slate is addicted to opium and I really dislike when characters use drugs in books I read. All that said many other people have really enjoyed this series, but it just wasn't for me. I give it a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.