I received this book for free from HarperTeen in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray
Series: Firebird #1
Published by HarperTeen on November 4, 2014
Genres: Sci-Fi, YA
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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.
Don’t be fooled by my 3-star rating. Because despite all my problems with it, I actually… liked this book. O_O
First of all, you guys know me – anything with science and traveling through space/time, I’m 100% game for that. I like exploring all kinds of possibilities and going beyond what we deem as reality. There’s a kind of poetry in it, you know? The feeling that there are still so much out there that we need to understand and discover, that the universe is so much bigger and grander than we could possibly perceive, and that amazes me. It’s a romantic, philosophical, and awe-inspiring concept, so seeing it as the central concept in a book made me giddy with glee.
However, I didn’t expect that the book would largely be… romantic-driven. I expected a lot of science fiction action, a lot of dimension-leaping and uncovering of corporate conspiracies, but more than 50% of the book was simply about figuring who to trust and learning to love someone in a way that transcends both time and space.
Which isn’t a bad thing, because I found that both concepts worked hand in hand. Yes, you can have a sci-fi novel about leaping dimensions and have love behind it as the blinding force.
Because you know what the love portrayed in this book showed me? That love is universal. That love is eternal, omnipotent, and goes beyond time and space. It is not limited to the reality we know and that it is not bound and chained by anything.
Take for example the relationship between Margeurite and her father. The father who she has known, the father who raised her and cared for her and nurtured since she was born, was found dead in her home dimension. She finds him again – or at least a version of him – in another when she leaped into another dimension in search of answers. Despite not being the father who didn’t let her borrow her car, explored physics alongside her mom, or let her draw rainbows on their white boards, they still had feelings of familial love for one another – because even though they lived two different lives, they knew that they were connected by something that was beyond time and space. She still had her mother’s eyes, he still had his love for science; he recognized her as his daughter, and she recognized him as the dad who helped shape her be the person she was. They simply only had different circumstances, but that didn’t stop love from finding them both and bringing them together.
This was the kind of love that I saw here, and honestly, it made me cry a bit, because it only shows how much powerful love can be. This was amplified even more by the science fiction aspect that helped drive the story forward.
However, that doesn’t mean there were things I didn’t like…
The thing with this book is, when a person jumps into another dimension, they don’t bring their body with them – only their consciousness. Their consciousness then invades the body of their equivalent in the next dimension, meaning I would still be in my body, only that the body I invade would have lived a completely different life. So, yes, Margeurite was still in Marguerite’s body, only that it wasn’t her life she was living – it was another Marguerite’s which could well be someone else because she will have had different experiences, different feelings, different circumstances, that differ from the original Marguerite.
There was one scene here that really pissed me off – when our original Margeurite decided to have sex using another Marguerite’s body, pretty much stealing the experience from her and not even giving her the chance to decide if she even wanted to do it. And take note – the other Marguerite was supposed to be the virgin bride to the Prince of Whales, so not only did she steal the power to choose when to have sex from the other Marguerite, she pretty much fucked her over politics-wise. To add insult to injury, when all has been said and done, she left the body to jump to another dimension, leaving the poor other Marguerite to pick up the pieces by herself.
Sigh, that was a douchebag move…
Another thing that I didn’t like here was the many times the book copped out of explaining certain things about how the world or the tools worked. Examples:
The devices have to be made out of specific materials that move much more easily than other forms of matter; they have to anchor the consciousness of the traveler, which is apparently very difficult; and about a million other technical considerations I’d have to get umpteen physics degrees to even understand. Long story short: the devices are REALLY hard to make.
LOL, thanks Einsteen, I feel really enlightened now.
“When people travel through dimensions,” he said, staring down at the prototypes, “they leave traces. Subatomic — okay, I’m gonna cut to the chase. The point is, I can go go after Paul.”
WOW, REALLY? YOU DON’T SAY!
Every time this happened, it pissed me a lot. Thankfully, there weren’t often, and there were still a lot of science-y stuff that I appreciated.
Overall, I liked this book a lot. There were some things that really rubbed me the wrong way, so of course, that’s going to affect my reading experience. But the message of family and love mixed with sci-fi awesomeness was really fantastic – this book was one part thrilling and one part poetic. The perfect combination, if you ask me.
3.5 Hot Espressos