Review | A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird #1) by Claudia Gray

atpTitle: A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird #1)

Author: Claudia Gray

Genre: Young Adult | Sci-Fi

Synopsis: 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.

Would I recommend? If you’re into easy-going sci-fi.

Final Rating: ★★★☆☆

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Aimal’s Review:

A Thousand Pieces of You is one of those books that everybody has, by now, heard of. You may know one of two things about this book: 1. The cover is fabulous, and 2) it is a science fiction, young adult novel that revolves around parallel worlds. That is all I knew about this book before going in. Because I make terrible decisions regarding books sometimes, I did not read the synopsis, nor did I read thorough reviews. And yes, even though the cover is fabulous, and even though this book is a YA, sci-fi novel revolving around parallel worlds, it lacked severely in multiple aspects.

The science/physics in this novel is pretty straight forward. You’re aware of where you stand and how everything works from the very beginning, and then the science takes the backseat. The story was fast-paced enough, but I felt like a little too much was happening. I didn’t like the characters, and the writing was lackluster, at best.

Plot:

Meet Marguerite, a young girl whose parents are the scientists that made the breakthrough in the field of parallel dimensions. Everything in her life is going great, until one night, her father is killed in an accident. Somebody tampered with the brakes in his car. Who? One of her parents’ graduate assistants, Paul, who later flees to a different dimension. Betrayed and angry, Marguerite follows Paul with her parents’ second assistant, Theo, in order to get the revenge. But when she encounters Paul in a different dimension, she’s not so sure things are so black-and-white.

The most interesting aspect of this book was the travel between dimensions. I love this topic. I will read any book about parallel worlds there is. Because it’s such a scientifically plausible concept, I’ve always been fascinated with how it can feature into a normal, albeit fictional, person’s life. Gray walks us through a couple of dimensions, and from the cover, you may have guessed that two of these dimensions involve London and Moscow. We travel to London first, and during this, there was no conviction in Gray’s writing. The plot was bland. I wasn’t invested in the characters. Everything felt rushed. As we move into Moscow, Gray managed to grab my attention a little more since the characters were put into a situation where rushing was not an option. Because of the scenes in Moscow, I moved my rating up from a 1.5 star to a 3.

The story is fast-paced, for the most part, but the pacing could have been more even throughout. The beginning was very rushed, slower in the middle, rushed again, and then painfully slow at the end. I like books that have a consistent pacing- slower throughout, but with sharp bursts of fast-paced action in between. Of course, that’s entirely my opinion, but there it is.

The science, like I mentioned before, was uncomplicated- so uncomplicated that it almost felt like a cop out. What bothered me was that, for most of the book, the science took the backseat, and when our protagonist was forced to deal with the science aspects, she would brush it off by saying something like, ‘I don’t know. Physics is weird.’ No. Are you kidding? TELL ME WHAT’S GOING ON. If anything, YOU should KNOW. DON’T JUST SAY PHYSICS IS WEIRD AND MOVE ON GOSHHHHH. Sorry.

Characters:

I don’t have much to say about the characters. I didn’t like any of them, except perhaps Paul, but even he was meh. The main character was agonizingly slow. It would take her forever to see something right in front of her, and that’s something that always frustrates me in books. Her outlook in life was annoyingly simplistic. She would believe anything anybody would ever tell her. She was selfish and even though she SAID she felt remorse for some of the things she ‘did,’ I never felt it. Her distress over her father’s death could really have pushed this book forward, but Claudia Gray starts this book AFTER the father has died, and without any flashbacks to the day of the accident, I wasn’t invested emotionally whatsoever.

As for Paul, I liked his character when we were taken to Moscow. After that, I wasn’t too sure about how I felt about him. I still know nothing about his background, about his life outside of Marguerite’s house. I did, however, like how Gray dealt with the romance between Paul and Marguerite. It built slowly and nicely, and it didn’t feel forced at all.

Writing Style:

I would have liked more description. I like simplistic writing, but not when it comes to science fiction and fantasy. I want description. I want details, vivid imagery. Just give me more. This book lacked when it comes to fluid dialogue, world-building, empathy and cohesiveness. The plot was interesting, but it fell flat because of how it was put together. I’m not sure if I’ll be picking up the next book or not, but I probably won’t be.

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