Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

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.
Like apparently the rest of the planet, this book has been on my radar since its initial cover release. I mean just look at it. I also happen to be a real sucker for alternate universe stories. After watching a Gwnyth Paltrow movie as a kid, called Sliding Doors, I could never really get enough of these kind of stories. Also, back in the day, I remember enjoying Gray’s vampire series too. Though, I don’t believe I ever finished it.
Any way, I had high hopes for this one. And for the most part, it delivered. Between the murder of the main character’s father, the traveling between universes, the love triangle to end all love triangles, the art, the science, the technology, and the action, there was never really a good point to put the book down.
The notion that there are worlds so similar to this one, but not quite the same because of something as simple as one differently made decision, was just mind-blowingly cool.  Also, was I the only one imagining the time piece from the third Harry Potter novel? The firebird was an almost steam punk/mechanical necklace the travelers would wear. And the functions of the necklace were a little scary. For instance, they were set to give the wearers “reminders” so they wouldn’t revert to the person they were taking the place of. And these reminders were painful electric shocks.
Also, I’m a girl, and I can’t not comment on the crazy romantic notion that some people are just meant to be together in all versions of the world, in all universes. This is such a crazy notion. And it makes the idea of the main character falling in love with one version of her soul mate, but not another version a little bit confusing. But, also so so cool. Also cool was getting to see different countries in different worlds. Some worlds were decades past ours in technology and advances, and one world seemed centuries behind. My favorite worlds were of course the romantic/backwards Russia and the crazy dystopia-esque water world. I kind of wish we got to see more worlds. But, a huge chunk of time was spent in futuristic London and backwards Russia.
The one thing that nagged at me about the romance was that I wish I got to see more of the build up. There were only a few brief flashbacks to the more normal life Marguerite used to lead before her father was killed. But, I wanted more. I wanted to see her relationship with the boys develop more. And then I might have believed where it went a little bit better. I get that one of her relationships built at a slow pace, but I don’t see when it really started…I wanted more.
And then came the loopholes. It can be really tricky writing these kinds of stories with so many rules about other worlds. But, there were a few things I really wished the editor had caught on to. Like, there’s this one time in Russia when Marguerite’s tsar of a father gets news of his other children way too quickly for sleigh ride mail…Or how likely is one character, who’s never done anything with firebirds and other world travel really, really going to be able to fix a traveling device?
Despite these loop holes, and lack of a history (shown) for the romance, I did love this book. I read it very quickly. I gushed over the soul mate concept taken to a new level. I got sucked into the action and drama. And I got lost in the world building of each of the alternate universes. I give this one a 9/10.

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