A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray
Book One of the Firebird series
Publication Date: November 4, 2014
Rating: 3 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss
Summary (from Goodreads):
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.
What I Liked:
I liked this book. It was okay, an enjoyable read. I didn't love it, and I didn't hate it, and that's why it gets three stars. There weren't things that were absolutely awful or super fantastic, so the middle-of-the-road rating seems to do this book justice, in terms of how I feel about it. I wanted to love it - especially since I love science fiction, but eh.
Marguerite's parents are geniuses - they have created a device called "Firebird" that allows a person to move between alternate dimensions of the universe. The person will temporarily take over their own self in the world, so when they leave that world, their self in that world will "return" to their body with some confusion and memory loss. Marguerite's father is dead - it appears that Paul (a student assistant) killed him and stole the Firebird prototype. But Theo (another student assistant) has other Firebird prototypes, and he and Marguerite will use them to track down Paul, and find the truth.
This story goes through many different settings, as Marguerite and Theo travel through many different dimensions to find Paul. Please be aware - this isn't a TIME TRAVEL book, because no one is hopping through different TIMES. They are traveling through different DIMENSIONS, alternate universes. So, if they travel to another alternate dimension, it's the same time that it was in the "real" world. Think Dissonance by Erica O'Rourke. In fact, that would be a "negative" I have - this book is very similar to O'Rourke's novel.
The very first scene is in a different dimension. Marguerite's father has been dead not long, and Marguerite has already coerced Theo into letting her hunt down Paul with him. This dimension is similar to the one she knows, but different in subtle ways. Another dimension to which they travel is a Russia in which tsars and duchesses and whatnot still exist - Marguerite is a duchess, daughter of the tsar. In another dimension, Marguerite's family lives underwater (her father is an oceanographer).
The settings are really cool. I really liked the medieval-esque Russia one, though I thought Marguerite assimilated entirely too quickly. But the settings were very important in this book, and Gray did an excellent job of making them authentic yet really out there. She definitely crafted the worlds and settings of this book well.
I'm kin of indifferent towards most of the characters - if anything, I dislike them more than like them. Marguerite is kind of bleh, Theo is an interesting one (I probably like him the most), Paul is all over the place, and everyone else... meh. I thought I'd at least mention the characters in this section though.
I thought this book was really cool, overall, but I felt like I had already read this, with Dissonance. It's interesting to see other authors' perspectives on the same topic, but I much preferred Dissonance.
What I Did Not Like:
I didn't really like any of the characters in this book, and that's usually a problem. I didn't particularly like Marguerite - she didn't really strike me as three-dimensional. I probably wouldn't like her in real life, if she were three-dimensional. She is wishy-washy, indecisive, hesitant. However, Gray tries to make her resilient and tough and intelligent, but to me, it just makes it seem like Gray was trying to pull her character in two different directions. In general, Marguerite was a turn-off character for me.
I liked Theo, but Gray ruined him for me. I can't be more specific than that, but ugh. I didn't care for Paul - though I liked medieval-Russia Paul.
If you couldn't tell - yes, there does seem to be a love triangle in this book. I won't say anything about who ends up with who, because trust me, Gray will have to twisting in one direction, and then the other, and then back, and then forth, and it's exhausting. I think that is one of the main reasons why I didn't really care for anyone - the author really pushed this love triangle on readers, and in the end, I basically disliked everyone? Especially Marguerite.
The science fiction was okay... I didn't really love it though. Alternate dimensions of the universe is a really great subject, but I didn't necessarily care for Gray's spin on things. If anything, I wanted to know more, but like, in an annoyed way. I'm confused about the "big reveal", and why it all comes down to Marguerite. Seemed like a superfluous reason to me. That setup of the plot didn't really grab me, and I was disappointed and irritated by that.
Like I mentioned before, I found this book much like Dissonance by Erica O'Rourke - which I loved. I didn't love this book. I didn't hate it either, but I didn't love it. It's not necessarily the author's fault that her book is so similar to a book that as published earlier in the year, but it's too bad that I happened to read both, and I liked the one previously read more than the one read second. If that makes sense?
Would I Recommend It:
Meh. Naahhh. I've had poor luck with Gray's books - I didn't like her Evernight series, but I did love Fateful. This one falls in the middle of those two - didn't love, but didn't hate. Personally, I didn't think this book was anything special, but I could see how others might. I read a lot of science fiction, so I wasn't entirely impressed. But not just in terms of the science fiction - I wasn't impressed in general.
3 stars. I *might* read the sequel? To see how things are going? Maybe? Depends on my reading schedule next year. We shall see!
Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!