Monday, December 1, 2014

A Thousand Pieces of You - Review

A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird, # 1)

By: Claudia Gray

Published: November 4th 2014 by Harper Teen

368 pages

Genre: YA, Science Fiction, Time Travel, Fantasy, Paranormal

Source: Publisher via Edelweiss (Thank you!!)

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Goodreads description--Every Day meets Cloud Atlas in this heart-racing, space- and time-bending, epic new trilogy from New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray.

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.

I should probably start by saying that I have found over my reading life that I don’t usually particularly like or connect with books about time travel or parallel universes. I don’t really enjoy science and so often times I find that books try to talk about the science behind such things and I don’t care about any of that. Plus it never makes sense to me. Then there’s how the character has to spend an unusual amount of time describing the new world or time they’ve traveled to, and that annoys me as well. I like minimal description when reading. So these types of books usually don’t work for me. However, A Thousand Pieces of You would be an exception.

While most every character within A Thousand Pieces of You enjoyed and studied science, the main character Marguerite didn’t. She was into art. And I think this distinction—the main character not being the science buff—really helped me not drown in science jargon that could have happened had she been the main character interested in how everything works.

Thankfully, Marguerite didn’t travel to too many different universes within the book. There were really only 4 worlds (including the one she originated from) within the book, and I think that helped me not be overwhelmed with the whole parallel universe travel thing. The more jumps the more time spent describing each world. Marguerite spends the most time in a world that is old world Russia where she’s actually a princess. I enjoyed each world, but this one was probably my favorite.

But here’s the crux. In the end I’m kind of torn. I definitely kept wanting to go back to A Thousand Pieces of You when I had to put it down. I wanted to keep reading. So that’s something. But I still had some frustrations with the book and the concept as a whole plus just some little irksome things as well. Here they are:

  1. The idea behind the multiple universes in this story is that every single time a decision is made there’s a different universe were each variation of any one decision plays out. This means there are an infinite number of universes. Yet each character is the same, and not. So is it possible for in some universe out there for each of the characters in our story to be evil if they are currently good, or good if they are currently evil? It seemed like this was kind of contradictory to me.
  2. Because each character is the same, yet different, this presented a unique and kind of weird situation for the romance involved in this book. There was a bit of a love triangle between Marguerite, Paul, and Theo. And while each character seemed to have some sort of connection no matter the world they traveled to, each version of these characters were slightly different as well. So I’m not really sure how to explain my exact issue with the romance without spoiling anything. But let’s just say that while Marguerite is in Russia things get weird for her as far as her connection to the same character from her original world.
  3. And then there were a few inconsistencies that just bothered me a little bit. Like how when the characters travel to a different world, their minds retain things like language but not things like places or people. Maybe there’s some true scientific reason about how we use different parts of our brains for language or something, but this just didn’t feel consistent to me. If Marguerite can travel to Russia and speak Russian with no problem, why can’t she remember her way around her home or her family members in that world? I don’t know. This wasn’t a huge deal, but it was one of those things that just made me go “does this make sense?” And it kind of pulled me out of the story to ponder to logistics.

I want to discuss each character a little bit, but I feel like I can’t really do that since each character is slightly different in each world. So it’s almost like there’s nothing concrete to discuss anyway.

All in all, I kept getting pulled into A Thousand Pieces of You, but I had some minor things that bothered me. Ultimately though, this might have been one of the best world traveling books I’ve read. A Thousand Pieces of You gets 4 Stars from me. Have you read A Thousand Pieces of You? What did you think? Let me know!

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