Genre: Fantasy, Time-travel, YA
I think what disappointed me most about this book was that the premise is so compelling, yet it was so poorly executed. The idea of time travel using maps is one of the most fascinating world building ideas I’ve encountered recently. Yet, with all that potential, it fell sadly flat. It seems like Heilig took strands of development for both her world and her characters, and never saw them through to the end.
Nix is your cookie cutter YA protagonist with a blank personality and absolutely no grit, generally allowing Kashmir to save her in harrowing situations. With such an awesome background, I expected her to be far more kick ass, not to mention nuanced with everything she’s seen and experienced in her life. Not to mention her arc devolved rather quickly into an excessively boring and extremely obvious love triangle. Kashmir was probably the one redeeming factor of the book, and I enjoyed his snarky charm and humor.
The plot jack-knifed all over the place. As for the world building, it could have been so much stronger. There was no answer to where Navigation had come from. It was literally explained as “it happened by accident.” How did the other crew come to know about Navigation and to be on Slate’s ship? There was so much potential for an epic world and history to be created around Navigation, but that wasn’t explored at all. On top of that, there were countless characters and plot threads that were started and then kind of disappeared. Like Nix’s dragon. He was introduced, then he wasn’t mentioned again until the very end where he suddenly became an important plot point.
So, overall, very disappointed because this book somehow managed to make time-traveling pirates boring.