A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird #1)
Author: Claudia Gray (website | twitter)
Source/Format: ARC provided by Harper Collins Canada in exchange for an honest review (thank you!)
Publication date: November 4th 2014 (today!)
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.
Holy cow, A Thousand Pieces of You was a serious ride.
First of all, the concept: The story centers around brilliant scientists Dr. Henry Caine and Dr. Sophie Kovalenka who manage to create a way to travel into parallel universes. Just as they are testing this theory, Dr. Caine gets killed in a tragic accident, and their research is trashed by grad student Paul Markov. Paul goes on the run, literally jumping into another universe, and Henry and Sophie’s daughter, Marguerite goes after him, along with another grad student, Theo Beck.
To travel into another universe, Marguerite and Theo need to inhabit the bodies of existing versions of themselves – so they take over being the Marguerite and Theo from that universe, which, of course, brings up all kinds of complications, especially as the universes they go into can be very similar or vastly different from their home universe (Imperialist Russia, anyone?).
What works so well in this book is that author Claudia Gray sets up the very complex world building, then spins philosophy, art, mystery and romance around it. There are so many threads here to think about, and the story deftly switches between them. Except for a bit of confusion and clunkiness I felt at the beginning with all the exposition (this book really does start in media res), the story flowed smoothly, with a ton of twists and turns. Every time I thought I knew what was happening, it turned out that Gray was already two steps ahead of me.
I also loved how much time we got to spend figuring out the different universes, how they were different and how they were similar to Marguerite’s own world. For instance, in one universe, John Lennon and Paul McCartney never met, so the Beatles didn’t exist; instead, Paul and George Harrison form a band called The Gears. Little details really made the different worlds believable.
If I had to nitpick a little, I would probably say that the character work could have been more developed in this book – the characters definitely suffered a bit in service to plot, theme, and world-building. I felt like I was told how amazing Marguerite was, but I didn’t really see it as much as I should have – I knew she was an artist, but it was hard for me to tell if she was funny or silly or serious. I also felt like the guys were archetypes: Paul was the silent, mysterious boy, while Theo was the bad boy with the good heart. I wish I’d known more about them than just that. I’m looking forward to finding out more in book 2, though, and honestly, this is one of those books where the plot necessarily carries you forward.
Here’s the thing: I fully admit that I did not expect this book to live up to its epically fantastic cover. I mean, look at that gorgeousness! But guys, let me tell you: it does. This book slayed me in twenty different ways, and I can’t wait to get my hands on book 2.
Addictive Writing: Writing-wise, I was really impressed by Gray’s vivid descriptions, and the way she could turn those at a moment’s notice into heart-pounding action. There was a great balance of beautiful writing and writing that kept me on the edge of my seat. The action scenes reminded me of how I felt when I read Divergent the first time – I was totally hooked.
Sexy Times: I can’t talk about this book without talking about the steamy romance going on. There are some seriously sexy times here – for younger readers and parents, just know that there are a few moments of R-rated-ness. Those moments are lush and added a lot to my emotional investment in the story.
Love Triangle That Works: The love interests in this book really worked for me – in part because they are so different, but equally good choices. This isn’t a case where you’re going to be Team Paul or Team Theo immediately (and heck, the triangle gets even more complicated because of the different versions of characters that are jumping into each others’ bodies). This genuinely feels like two guys who really like this girl and it really is her choice.
The Final Word:
A Thousand Pieces of You is so many kinds of awesome. There’s a bit of everything in this book: romance, adventure, suspense, mystery, time travel, historical, sci-fi…trust me when I say that you need this one on your TBR immediately. It’s definitely one of the most fun and addictive reads I’ve had in awhile, and I will definitely be re-reading certain bits over and over again.
Recommended for: fans of Every Day or Cloud Atlas (both very apt comparisons), people who like time travel or sci-fi reads, people who like genre-benders
A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU comes out today! Are you interested in reading it? Are you racing to the bookstore? Do you like sci-fi or time travel? Isn’t that cover amazing? Hit the comments and let me know your thoughts!
Hahaha sexy times! I haven't read any Claudia Gray books yet so I'm curious about this one 🙂
It's great. It's got something for everyone – it's really a catch-all kind of book and it's super exciting. Hope you get to read it!
Really excited for this one! Sexy times?!?!? Wasn't expecting that. Like at all. Now is this really graphic steamy times? Or just kind of intense? I'm just a little thrown because I've never thought of her as a steamy writer.
Wow, great review! This book sounds EPIC 😀 I love the concept and idea of multiverses. I love addictive writing too! Ooh and some steamy romance 😉 Count me in!
I just won this book a few weeks ago and I can't wait to start it! Everyone has been saying wonderful things about it.
Ive been dying to get my hands on this one. Great review! Really makes me want to break my book buying ban xD
[…] for A Thousand Pieces of You, the first book in the series. Don’t you dare read on if you haven’t read the first one […]
I’ve always wanted to read “A Thousand Pieces of You,” but wasn’t completely sure, but you convinced me!