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Review: A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

Thursday, December 18, 2014


A Thousand Pieces
Of You

Claudia Gray

Series: Firebird #1
Genre: Science Fiction, Romance
Hardback: 368 Pages
Publication: November 4, 2014
by Harper Teen



Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite’s father is murdered, the killer—her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul’s guilt—and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.

A Thousand Pieces of You explores a reality where we witness the countless other lives we might lead in an amazingly intricate multiverse, and ask whether, amid infinite possibilities, one love can endure.


Review

A Thousand Pieces of You is by far one of the best books I've read in 2014. In fact, I knew that there was a good chance I was going to love this book from the first lines of the novel.

My hand shakes as I brace myself against the brick wall. Rain falls cold and sharp against my skin, from a sky I've never seen before.

How beautiful is that?

To my delight, the novel continued to live up to the high expectations those first lines set. The worlds that Marguerite crosses are beautifully imperfect in their own ways and gives a glimpse of how her life can change so much based on even the smallest change in history. To my surprise, I found myself getting swept into Marguerite's life as she chases Paul across the different dimensions. While I expected a somewhat emotional book, given their complex relationship (I mean, we're told from the beginning that he murdered her father. . . or did he?), I hadn't expected the depth to this book. The idea of two peoples' fates being tied together and seeing how parts of their relationship don't seem to change no matter what happens to them in the present or in their alternate egos. . . while I do believe that there is a danger to thinking there is only one person out there for us, as it can cause us to stay too long in a relationship that really isn't working (I had to say it), it's breathtaking.

Marguerite's story starts in the right place and time for me. Starting in medias res is a perfect introduction to so many components of the book: the multiverse, Marguerite's chase, and the mess of emotions this novel will work in your heart. It proceeds not to get bogged down in backstory or even to narrate the story from the beginning like a lot of books I've read. Instead, it gives us information as needed, giving time to build up the tension before revealing everything to us. My only problem is that the villain close to home was pretty easy to guess. (Spoiler alert: highlight to read.) There's a problem with the two-guy trend in YA lit. If one isn't good for you, the other has to be bad for you. At least, that's how it seems to run right now. Nevertheless, there are some twists to the plot, and the multiverse itself is interesting enough to keep me hooked.

Frankly, there are some glitches in believability. The science of the Firebird doesn't seem plausible to me. I don't claim to be an expert on the subject, but the whole idea was seriously questionable to me. Even then, there was just enough given that I was left with more questions than if Marguerite had no knowledge whatsoever about its workings. (In that case, I could have accepted it and moved on.) Nevertheless, while I have questions here, it certainly didn't take away from my enjoyment of the novel. The different worlds that Marguerite visits are beautifully sketched with such careful detail and compelling characters that they really come to life and made me feel for each one. It made me feel like this was what I've been waiting to see in a good sci-fi romance book.

(Warning: some potential spoilers)

At the same time, when you travel to another universe here, you adopt the body of the you in that reality. (Hence, you can't travel to a world where you're already dead or never existed in the first place.) I know that it's her body, so Marguerite naturally assumes that the her from that dimension would agree with her decisions, but each action she makes influences that her in that dimension. Sometimes, she does some questionable things that I strongly feel violate the rights of her alter ego. Like putting her alter ego's life in danger and having sex with someone. So it was really cool when Marguerite later realizes the ethical problems of multiverse traveling and raises the question herself. Even if her alter ego also likes the guy she had sex with, she took a precious moment away from her alter ego, who may not have even wanted it, not to mention that it complicates her feelings for that person in her own world.

That said, I did have a serious problem with the sex scene. On top of Marguerite violating her alter ego's rights, putting her in a compromising position, and endangering her (there's no condoms or birth control), she didn't know the guy very well. Sure, she knew the version from her world, but their relationship moved very quickly. This wasn't even the first time it happened. Near the beginning of the book, she would have had sex with another guy if he hadn't decided they should wait. Everything just seems to move so fast for Marguerite in relationships. It made me very uncomfortable. Other than this, however, I loved the book for the most part.

(End potential spoilers)

Set in a richly imaginative multiverse with, A Thousand Pieces of You is filled with compelling characters, plotline, and narration, that come together to explore some deep questions about fate and the ethics of traveling into parallel universes. I recommend this to readers that enjoy an emotional, deeply provocative novel that will sweep you into its world.

An ARC was provided by Harper Collins for review

Rating: 4.5 star

Series
  • A Thousand Pieces of You
  • Firebird #2
  • Firebird #3

Content
  • Alcohol, Drugs, Clubs
  • Kissing, making out, sex
  • Some violence

6 comments on "Review: A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray"
  1. Nice review! I've been reading great feedback for this book. Will definitely check this out. :)

    Julie @ Books and Insomnia

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Julie. I hope you enjoy A Thousand Pieces of You!

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  2. I didn't read the potential spoiler part :) but I am so EXCITED to read this book
    everyone has been talking about it and it sounds SO GOOD!
    GREAT review deary
    Your reader,
    Soma R.
    http://insomnia-of-books.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a fantastic book overall. I hope you enjoy this one, Soma! :)

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  3. I skipped your spoilers, but you convinced me to add it to my wishlist. I may listen to the audio if the narrator sounds good :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's fantastic! If you end up listening to the audio, let me know what you think about it. I think this one would make for a great listening experience! :)

      Delete

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