Author: Claudia Gray
Claudia Gray is a pseudonym. I would like to say that I chose another name so that no one would ever learn the links between my shadowy, dramatic past and the explosive secrets revealed through my characters. This would be a lie. In truth, I took a pseudonym simply because I thought it would be fun to choose my own name. (And it is.)
I write novels full-time, absolutely love it, and hope to be able to do this forever. My home is in New Orleans, is more than 100 years old, and is painted purple. In my free time I read, travel, hike, cook and listen to music. You can keep up with my latest releases, thoughts on writing and various pop-culture musings via Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, GoodReads, Instagram or (of course) my own home page.
Genre: Fantasy, Science-Fiction, Young Adult, Fiction
Read… over the long weekend while… listening to Marian Hill.
Title: A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird #1)
Purchase your copy here.
Review: 4 out of 5 Stars
Summary (from Goodreads): Cloud Atlas meets Orphan Black in this epic dimension-bending trilogy by New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray about a girl who must chase her father’s killer through multiple dimensions.
Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their groundbreaking achievements. Their most astonishing invention, called the Firebird, allows users to jump into multiple universes—and promises to revolutionize science forever. But then Marguerite’s father is murdered, and the killer—her parent’s handsome, enigmatic assistant Paul— escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.
Marguerite refuses to let the man who destroyed her family go free. So she races after Paul through different universes, always leaping into another version of herself. But she also meets alternate versions of the people she knows—including Paul, whose life entangles with hers in increasingly familiar ways. Before long she begins to question Paul’s guilt—as well as her own heart. And soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is far more sinister than she expected.
A Thousand Pieces of You explores an amazingly intricate multi-universe where fate is unavoidable, the truth elusive, and love the greatest mystery of all.
Review: This first novel of the Firebird series weaves an intriguing story involving the multiverse theory, elements of cross-dimensional travel, and a romantic triangle between our protagonist, Marguerite, and two of her parents’ graduate students. The multiverse premise and the traveling through alternative dimensions is the true strength of this novel, but I would be lying if I said the romance of this novel did not sweep me up as well.
A Thousand Pieces of You is told in first person narration by Marguerite, a strong and vibrant heroine. The novel opens with Marguerite believing Paul, one of her parents’ graduate students, is responsible for her father’s death and that she must kill him to exact revenge.
“This is the message I must pass one, the one goal I have to remember after everything else I am is gone.
KILL PAUL MARKOV.”
From page one we are thrown into the action. Claudia Gray has done a fantastic job of establishing her world, the technology, and ensuring that the reader is hooked from the very first page. My first exposure to Claudia Gray was through the Star Wars Canon, and I thought Bloodline and Lost Stars were both fantastic. A Thousand Pieces of You is even better!
This book made me think and it made me feel – good, bad, and everything in between. The book is written with an incredibly fast pace that allowed me to read most of this book in one sitting, which made it perfect for the long holiday weekend. But as much as I loved this book, I could not give it a full five stars because it did suffer from a few flaws and I do not think everyone will enjoy it as much as I did.
I credit Gray for handling the immense scientific multiverse theory well, considering it is such a complicated and daunting task. However, in order to handle the multiverse theory, Gray had to over simplify the theory and place her characters in convenient alternate dimensions, thereby losing out on a great deal of the cool science.
In essence, the multiverse theory states that there are infinite universes where every possible outcome has happened. And the theory means it when it says every possible outcome. There is a universe for every possible decision a single human could choose in every major and minute choice that happens in their life. Sound overwhelming? Imagine applying that to every human to ever exist, including the people that exist in other dimensions that are not in our own universe.
“Apparently, when people travel between dimensions, their physical forms are “no longer observable,” which is a quantum mechanics thing, and explaining it involves this whole story about a cat that’s in a box and is simultaneously alive and dead until you open the box, and it gets seriously complicated. Never ask a physicist about that cat.”
The multiverse theory is utterly mind-blowing, and I completely understand why Gray chose to scale down – way down – on giving recognition to the extent of the theory. However, I feel like Gray scaled down so much that the theory was unfairly simplified. I also felt that the three main characters ended up in some universes that were far too convenient; the characters always ended up in dimensions where things were not that much different than the home base dimension (Marguerite’s true reality as it is known to the reader). However, even though the different dimensions our characters visited were relatively easy alternate versions, they were well built and well researched. In A Thousand Pieces of You, we get to travel to a much more technologically advanced London, a Tsarists Russia that echoes of the early 1900s, and a post-climate change/raising water levels aquatic habitat.
I loved Gray’s idea that the consciences of our leading characters could inhabit the body of their alternate versions in other dimensions. Gray’s exploration of this facet of cross-dimensional travel, as well as the ethics of consciously inhabiting and controlling another person’s body and actions, was incredibly interesting.
As I learned from her Star Wars canon books, Gray is an adept character builder. I was invested in every character she introduced to me, even when their personalities changed across dimensions. Every character was distinct and I cared about what happened to each of them from the very beginning. I was immersed in A Thousand Pieces of You and I was sad when I finished the book and the time came for me to leave our characters behind, particularly Marguerite and Paul.
Clearly, I loved this book. But like I mentioned earlier, I do not think everyone will love this book as much as I do. Gray chose a less mainstream scientific theory to anchor this book, and the science and romantic elements are not equal in this book. Hardcore science buffs might find themselves frustrated at points, but many science fiction fans will be delighted with this book.