Claudia Gray Firebird, #1 Harper Collins Published 7th November 2014 Thank you to the publisher for providing this book in exchange for an honest review. This did not alter my review in any way.
A Thousand Pieces of You took me longer to read than expected, but it’s not the book’s fault – in a mad dash for a train the book and I were separated and it landed ungracefully in the carpark. Luckily my boyfriend, who had dropped me off, was able to go back and rescue it, but as a result the book and I were separated for a few days. Though I was a bit iffy about it I was glad to be reunited.
A Thousand Pieces of You was an addictive read. Had we not been separated, it wouldn’t have taken me nearly as long to get through it. Right from the very start we are thrown into a high paced read. 17-year-old Marguerite’s scientist father has just been murdered, his grad student Paul has destroyed his files and taken off, making him look pretty guilty, and – oh yeah – did I mention he took off into the next dimension? Marguerite’s brilliant parents have discovered the existence of multiple dimensions and better yet, how to travel between them. But they have since been betrayed by Paul, who has killed Marguerite’s dad, deleted the data and taken the Firebird (the device that allows the travel) and Marguerite and her parents’ other grad student Theo decide its up to them to chase him through, using their own prototype Firebirds. This begins a chase through parallel dimensions, some vastly different to our own and some very similar.
Sounds pretty good right? I thought so. As a science student, albeit not physics but still science, I was intrigued and excited to start this, especially as I had seen some very favourable ratings (I didn’t want to read the reviews before I started). Unfortunately, I found myself annoyed by the fact that Marguerite had no interest and knew hardly anything about the amazing scientific discoveries her parents had made, unless it was relevant to the plot and she had to remember something she once I heard. I was kinda disappointed, mainly because I realised there were very few young women in YA, paranormal or contemporary, who had any interest in science – most prefer writing or art, which is fine, but I would love to read about someone who loves science, not someone who stumbles upon science and falls into it with no real understanding. That’s just me, though.
The romance was … strange. And confusing. A love triangle is hinted, which is enough to annoy me, but it’s not exactly what you think it’s going to be – especially when it turns into a love square. I also thought it caused Marguerite to forget her goal and let herself be easily lead astray, which lead to an extremely stagnant three week stint in Russia that felt unnecessary as that whole fast pace that I was enjoying completely halted. I’ve seen this happen before and it’s so disappointing, because we’re all caught up in an exciting chase, in this case across dimensions, which all of a sudden slides into a sudden halt, does a 180 and focuses on the romance. A super confusing one at that. I have so many questions about the ethics of Marguerite inhabiting a body that made be her in another dimension but is not exactly hers and hence doing what she wants with it. Regardless of whether she thinks her host would want it or not, I feel like there was a line crossed there. As well as how, when she was in Russia, she could speak in three languages easily but didn’t know her way around the big house. She knew how her host body felt about some things but had no idea about other things. The knowledge she would get when she changed dimensions did not seem to be consistent unless, again, it was relevant to the plot.
I know I have a few complaints but it was a fairly quick and easy read, it flowed fairly well and was fast paced and exciting (if you forget the Russia bit that is) but I still have a lot of questions about the logistics of the multiverse and there were inconsistencies. It is a complicated web that Gray has woven and I admit, I am intrigued to see where it goes next, even though I didn’t really want to get into another series (there’s just so many!). A three and a half star read, with potential.