November 26, 2014

A Thousand Pieces of You - Claudia Gray

A Thousand Pieces of You Claudia Gray book cover
A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray
Series: Firebird #1
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: November 4, 2014
Source/Format: Publisher, via Edelweiss (Thanks!) || e-galley
[I received this book for review. This is no way affects my review.]

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.

If you’re interested in finding a read that will explain all the details of how inter-dimensional travel works, then this is not the book for you. A Thousand Pieces of You features the technology that allows characters to leap between two parallel universes, but doesn’t quite delve into the mechanics of it all. Hardcore sci-fi, it is not; but this does not lessen the fact that A Thousand Pieces of You is a marvelous read.

In the interest of honesty, I will say that it took some time for the novel to pick up. The first few chapters, with introductions to the characters and the history of things, are oddly paced. It is hard to become invested, particularly since you don’t really know what’s going on or why you should care. But, thankfully, there’s a point at which the tide turns, and the reader will find themselves steamrolled into wanting to know what will happen next.

The main characters of this story are Marguerite (also known as Meg), and the two interns who work with her parents, Paul and Theo. While there’s still much to be learned about these three, readers are given enough to go on. It’s enough to be invested in the plot that loops and twists and ties them together, though it’s not enough to completely fall in love with them or even feel like you know them.  There are also quite a few secondary characters too, and while they are interesting, they’re not particularly memorable either.

Still, even with this slight detachment from the characters, A Thousand Pieces of You was pretty darn compelling. There are multiple plot threads involved here: Meg’s efforts to track down her father’s murderer. Her shared memories with Paul. Her shared moments with Theo. The discovery of other key details regarding her father’s murder. Each one is carefully, cleverly woven in, though it might perhaps be easy for some readers to guess at things. By the end of the novel, readers will find themselves delighted with how crafty Claudia Gray is.

Personally, I feel like the novel could do well as a stand-alone. But I look forward to watching as Gray expands this story even more in the next installment. A Thousand Pieces of You is a real page-turner, nearly impossible to set down once the plot gets going. Though there are things that could use some improvement, it’s still a great story that combines sci-fi details, romance and friendships and family, and even a bit of mystery too.

What branch of science would you be most interested in studying?

The stars have always, always, always been a source of endless fascination for me. I've always wondered about the universe, about space, about planets and stars and asteroids and the like. While I don't think I'd ever be fit for space travel, I think I would love to study astronomy. It would be fascinating to ponder the mysteries of space and the universe, and learning about them and unraveling them would definitely be a fun way to spend my time.


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