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454 pages, Hardcover
First published February 16, 2016
“No matter how detailed a map, once we’d visited, we couldn’t go back.”
I don't want to bit around the bush, so I'll start from the exciting part at once.
KASHMIR. A thief. A tutor. A dancing instructor. The guy has many talents.
And Mister . . . ?”
“Firas,” Kashmir said, folding his handkerchief neatly and making a crisp bow.
Blake’s brow furrowed as he took in the fine clothes. “A sailor?”
“Her tutor,” Kashmir said smoothly.
Blake cocked his head. “You’re much younger than any of my tutors.”
“Baleh, I am wise beyond my years,” Kashmir said. “And of course I have a natural inclination to
it. My people did, after all, invent algebra. Including the zero.”
This is one of the best male characters I've encountered in a book. It wouldn't hurt to say that he was the most developed character in this book as well. The guy is smart, witty, charming - one word: adorable. Every scene he was in alighted with color and life. Plus almost every wise word in this book comes from the guy's mouth. He is a wisdom in the flesh... spiced with humor, of course.
“The laws of the jungle remind me of the laws of the street. When I came abroad, I had to learn a
different set of laws. Everywhere we go there is a different set of laws. Most of them unwritten.”
Who said it was thieves who know the price of everything and the value of nothing?”
“Oscar Wilde,” I said. “And it’s cynics, not thieves.”
“Ah! That explains it, then.”
“There has to be a line, Kashmir,” I said angrily. “A person can’t do just anything for love.”
He shrugged one shoulder. “I would.”
“Yeah, well, you’re a thief. Your relative morality is already suspect.”
“Ah,” he said then, standing. “Well. I’ll leave the morality for those that like the taste of it.
I always preferred bread.”
It was obvious from page one that he likes the heroine a lot. Duh, only a blind man could not see that and someone like the heroine, of course, because she treated the guy abominably. She used him, because he was near and he was a friend, but when she didn't need his help or his company, she just brushed him off. And the worst part is Kashmir never complained about it, never said a word to make her feel worse. It makes me hate the girl!
For a moment, we were both still. The silence was stifling. “Yes?”
“Can I . . . I wanted to talk to you. About last night.”If I hadn’t been nearly nose to nose with
Blake, I wouldn’t have seen it, the tightening around his eyes. “I . . .” I cleared my throat,
trying to keep my voice light. “There’s nothing to talk about, Kash.”
He was quiet so long I thought maybe he’d gone. “As you say,” he said, finally. I didn’t hear his
footsteps as he left, but I did hear his door open and close.
Right at that time she was with another man! THAT BITCH! What worsens the matter even more - love triangle. It's one of those that makes it absolutely - ridiculously so - obvious that love interest #2 was inserted into book just for the sake of the existence of love-triangles. You know, they are in fashion these days, so... But love interest #2 is so bleak, so average, I can't see one reason that would attract a woman to him after she has already met Kashmir. So as you can see, the love triangle is utterly unrealistic and one of the stupidest I've encountered in a book.
And that leads me to our MC - Nix. She is just another bland girl, whose voice wasn't distinctive among the rest like her. True, she didn't annoyed me a lot, but I can't find any good words to say about her either. Even her mixed heritage wasn't presented to us in full image. We know that she's half Chinese and has brown eyes and chestnut hair with red streaks (?). But what of her facial features? I was intrigued by what features she inherited from which parent, but she wasn't even described to us, and in my head there's just a picture of your average YA heroine with no distinctive features.
One more thing that bothered me - the magic system. We have a world where some people can travel through time and dimensions with the help of a map. A map of any land - imaginary or real, but a person can travel with the help of a map only one time. One time - one map. But rather than that we know nothing of how exactly the system works? How did it appear? Just anything that would help us understand the principle of navigation. The author gave us an explanation, but it's really hard to call it an explanation, in my opinion, because it basically explains nothing:
“What do you mean, you just let go?”
“Once you know where you’re going, and you’re sure it’s there, you have to let go of where you’re
from. You look straight forward, you keep the land ahead in sight, and you don’t look back.”
“Literally or metaphorically?”
“Both. Once you sight your shore, you keep an eye on it. But you’ll never see it if you’re still
“Running away and running to.”
“Sort of, yeah.”
Just "yeah" and that's it?!
The world-building, though, was more vivid than the magic system. It shows that the author lived in Hawaii and knows a lot about it culture. I really liked every description, every historical detail, myths, legends - it created an unforgettable image of the 19th century Hawaii. So partly this book can definitely be announced as a historical fiction.
I am going to read book #2 as this series is a duology, and I am really curious about Kashmir's fate. But I feel that the love-triangle won't go anywhere and maybe it'll become heavier and angsty, but I hope Kashmir will save the book for me like he did with The Girl from Everywhere. That is definitely something to look forward to!
Everything must come to an end. In every myth, paradise is meant to be lost.
Why did the stories I knew best never end well?
But why too did I feel at home among them?
I could never give up the myths, the maps, the ship that had shaped me. Blake’s home might be paradise, but my home was the Temptation.
"Who said it was thieves who know the price of everything and the value of nothing?”
"Oscar Wilde,” I said. “And it’s cynics, not thieves.”
"Ah! That explains it, then.”
I stuck out my tongue at him.
“And Mister . . . ?”
"Firas,” Kashmir said, folding his handkerchief neatly and making a crisp bow.
Blake’s brow furrowed as he took in the fine clothes. "A sailor?”
"Her tutor,” Kashmir said smoothly.
Blake cocked his head. “You’re much younger than any of my tutors.”
"Baleh, I am wise beyond my years,” Kashmir said. “And of course I have a natural inclination to it. My people did, after all, invent algebra. Including the zero.”
I bit my lip to keep it from trembling; he’d let me go a long time ago. After all, you can only hold one person tight if you’re holding on with both hands.
The beauty of the ephemeral was in its impermanence; I couldn’t have let myself feel for Blake had I not known there would be an end. And I could admit it now: I did feel for him. There was safety here, at the end of our short story, and it made me bold.
Had I been too selfish? I had never known my mother, but I knew my life as it had been without her: the ship, the sea, the myths, the maps . . . and, yes, Kashmir. The pain I felt at the thought of losing him—the same pain that kept me at arm’s length—gave me a hint of my father’s own struggle.