Title: A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird #1)
Author: Claudia Gray
Publication Date: November 4, 2014
Summary: 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.
This book was one of my most anticipated of last year. I mean, check out that cover, it’s beyond gorgeous. And travelling through parallel universes? Uhm, yes please. I don’t think I’ve ever read any of Claudia Gray’s other stuff, but I was beyond excited to read this one and experience the intense ride the summary promised.
Unfortunately, a lot of this book was very disappointing to me. Maybe my expectations were too high and I knew exactly what I wanted to get from this book, so when it didn’t deliver, I had a hard time getting into it, but no matter what the reason, I didn’t like this book nearly as much as I thought I would.
To start off with, I didn’t particularly like Marguerite as our main character and narrator. I never really got much of a connection with her and found her to be a bit bland, to be honest. I felt like the author was trying a little too hard to make her seem cool, but to be honest, she just kind of felt like a hipster. I can’t believe that I’m using that word to describe anyone, but that’s what she reminded me of with her artsy skills, constant pondering, appreciation for homeschooling, and closet full of fun clothing. I just got the feeling that she thought she was cooler than everyone else because she was different. So of course, I wasn’t surprised when she ended being special because she was importantly different from everyone else. I’m not going to spoil anything, but it frustrated me that instead of being a normal girl who just so happens to have super smart parents, she also ends up having something super special about her.
As far as the romance went, there was a love triangle and I didn’t really particularly care for either boy. Paul, the boy she is chasing down, who killed her father, was hard to like because I felt like we didn’t really get to know him that well. Which was frustrating because he was the most interesting character in this book. I just felt like all of the characters in this book were very one dimensional and if that had a little depth, it would have really made the book a lot more. Both boys that Marguerite liked, she had known for a really long time, but you didn’t really get the feeling that they actually knew each other, so it ended feeling like rushed, insta-love.
I also found it a little strange that right away, Marguerite and Theo decide to chase after Paul, to kill him. Kill him. Not to bring him to justice or turn him in or anything that normal people would do, they are totally planning on just straight up killing someone who is basically like a brother to them. Someone who they don’t even know for sure killed her father, he just so happens to be the prime suspect. I found that highly unbelievable.
The part I was most excited about was seeing all of the different parallel world that they get to travel to. Which ultimately ended up being one of the biggest disappointments. Now I know that these are parallel universes, not entirely different universes altogether, so I guess they couldn’t really be too different from our own. But I was still very disappointed at how little variety we got. Half of the places she goes are almost identical to our own, with just slight similarities that really do nothing to make it interesting. The universe that we spent the most time in is one where she is Russian royalty, a literally like no plot even happens, it’s all just gushy romance. I wanted more adventure, more excitement, more mystery solving and chasing, jumping from universe to universe.
When it came to the mystery, every single thing was handed to Marguerite. Literally, she just followed one boy after another from universe to universe, stumbling around, going “Huh? What?” a whole bunch until she finally wore them down enough that they would give her the answer. She did not mystery solving herself, just waited around for someone to tell her what was going on. I despised it. And the villain was predictable, not that we even get much plot around them.
One of the things that I did like was that the idea behind the Firebird was really interesting because the author does a good job of explaining the risks and problems involved with travelling through dimensions. When you go into another universe, you don’t just pop in, you pop into the other you’s body and after a while, it’s hard to remember who you were. You can get sucked into becoming that person without even realizing it. I really liked that, although it doesn’t really play a bit part because of course, it magically doesn’t affect Marguerite. Also, I liked the Russian world the most, and would have liked to see a lot more happening in it, instead of Marguerite just pretending to be the other her and it focusing all on romance. It would have been a great world to actually see her chasing Paul through, or anything other than being pampered in a castle and drooling over a guy.
A Thousand Pieces of You was ultimately just such a disappointment. I wanted an exciting chase through different universes, surrounded by mystery solving and ultimately hunting down whoever killed her father. But instead, I got tons of one dimensional romance, a heroine who really does nothing, and lots of dramatic whining and crying over just about everything. Such as waste of a beautiful cover.