A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird #1) by Claudia Gray
Harper Teen, 368 pages
Expected US Release Date: November 4, 2014
Format/Source: ARC via Around the World Tours - thank you!
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, I think, is the boundary line of adulthood. Not the crap they claim it is -- graduating from high school or losing your virginity or getting your first apartment or whatever. You cross the boundary the first time you're changed forever. You cross it the first time you know you can never go back.
I was a little nervous heading into A Thousand Pieces of You, since I’m a self-admitted time travel hater. I can’t stand time traveling in anything, and I figured this concept of layers of fate would translate the same to me. And it didn’t help when I disliked the beginning pages so much—the storytelling seemed off to me, and I was annoyed with how abstract it felt. I couldn’t grasp at much, and I wanted to give up on it.
I am so, so glad I never did. It quickly turned into this fascinating concept of traveling within your fates, and I was 100% onboard with the idea when it introduced the boundary of only being able to travel to a layer you would actually exist in. THAT was such a tiny but important element that it completely won me over, in every way. It was creative and logical and sensical and brilliant all in one.
Ignoring how I felt about the first few pages, A Thousand Pieces of You just flies by—the pace just keeps picking up and going on and on and you feel like you’re swept away on this amazing, terrifying adventure. The amount of creativity and how stunningly unique all the stories and time periods were just fascinating, and I felt like I fell in love so many times over. Not just with the characters, but with the words and story and the simple idea that all these common words together can still create a breathtaking novel.
I quite liked each character as well, though it took me awhile to come around to Marguerite. Theo I was quick to like and quick to fluctuate on; and Paul pulled me in every single direction. Meeting each of them in each layer was also an interesting facet—while sometimes I felt like they were a little too different to actually be the same character, they relatively retained the same characteristics and personalities throughout. What was solid and true remained, and while it took some digging, a reader can find it and fall in love with them.
I’ve been seeing some complaints about the sci-fi missing in a novel that’s advertised as sci-fi…and I could see that, actually. But for me it was one of the best parts! I’m not a sci-fi reader by any means—it’s not that I hate it, I’m just not particularly drawn to it. I’ve read some ok sci-fi, some good sci-fi, and some brilliant sci-fi, in all age ranges…but it still isn’t something I will seek out. So when A Thousand Pieces of You turned into a sci-fi-but-not-fully-sci-fi, it totally worked for me. There was a little bit of historical elements, a lot of futuristic things, and a whole lot of contemporary and romance and general storytelling. It was nice to not be completely stuck in one genre, and I thought it worked really well with the story itself.
Quite obviously, I was thrilled with the first book in the Firebird series. Great characters, a wonderful, fast-moving plot with one of the most original, fascinating concepts of “fate traveling” I’ve ever seen—I can’t wait to see what else we have in store for this organization and these characters.