Monday, March 7, 2016

Review: A Thousand Pieces of You (Claudia Gray)

A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird, #1)
Title: A Thousand Pieces of You
Series: Firebird, Book 1
Author: Claudia Gray (site)
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: November 4, 2014
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Fantasy
Told: First Person (Marguerite), Present Tense
Content Rating: Older Teen (sensuality and vague sex, some violence and language)
Format Read: ARC (publisher win)
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Purchase OnAmazon | B&N | Book Depository

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.

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Review copy provided by publisher. Thank you, Harper!

In a Sentence: An engrossing read with fascinating parallel dimensions but an insubstantial plot.

This was a hard book for me to rate because I am of two minds about it. On one hand I was blown away by the creative alternate realities, but on the other I struggled with the simple yet illogical conspiracy plot. In these cases the main character becomes the tiebreaker, but while Marguerite's interaction with the parallel dimensions was completely engrossing, her interaction with the plot only entangled it further, and so I am left floundering.

Setting & Writing: The handful of parallel dimensions that Marguerite visited over the course of the book were diverse and highly imaginative, from a palace in Russia to an underwater oceanographic station and others between. Paired with creative writing and vivid description, each setting came to life with more color than the gorgeous cover and completely dazzled me. When the story was focused on the alternate lives that Marguerite borrowed I couldn't put the book down, devouring page after page come action or everyday life. But then came the plot.

Story: I always consider plot separate from story. Story encompasses everything the book is about, while plot is a thread that runs through it. With this book, the story is about a girl traversing the multiverse seeking revenge and answers while falling in love, and on the surface it was an interesting tale. The storytelling was such that the reader is kept disoriented and in the dark along with viewpoint character Marguerite, with no idea what to expect at every turn, and it was expertly executed and engaging.

But when the story focused in on the plot, it faltered. While a common and simplistic conspiracy scenario that I had no trouble understanding, it was vaguely illogical and made little sense with the rest of the narrative. Every time the story concentrated on it I lost interest due to disappointment and eventual frustration, and despite the dazzle of the alternate realities and engrossing writing this amazing story sadly dropped from 5 to 3.5 Scribbles by the end.

Main Character: Taking everything else into account, I was on the fence about Marguerite. Burdened with fresh grief and fueled by familial betrayal her reckless pursuit of vengeance was relatively understandable, but on the whole she was rather dense and when she focused on the insubstantial plot the whole conspiracy thread was that much more tiresome. However, she reacted brilliantly to the unbalancing alternate realities, and I enjoyed and appreciated her artistic view of the dimensions. Seeing the complicated science of cross-dimensional travel through her right-brained eyes made it much easier to understand, and the setting description that much more colorful.

Romantic Relationships: There are two boys for Marguerite in this book, which created a definite love triangle as she struggled with her feelings for both of them. I've never had a real problem with love triangles before, but after this one I understand why others complain about them as she flip-flopped between the boys for the entire book despite making significant progress with one over the other. The romance itself was modern and passionate, which is not my particular cup of tea, but there were some relatively interesting twists and angst. As for the boys themselves, from the start I didn't trust one and adored the other, so there were few surprises and lots of frustration but also plenty of feels.

Conclusion: While the simplistic and ill-fitting plot left much to be desired, the parallel dimensions and alternate lives exceeded my expectations and then some, and Marguerite was an interesting enough character to follow. Although the rest of the trilogy promises an expansion of the weak plot and love triangle, it also assures even more cross-dimensional travel and for that I will definitely be continuing the series.

Scribble Rating
3.5 of 5 Scribbles

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