A Thousand Pieces of You


Book one of the Firebird series by Claudia Gray starts off a bit slowly.  I’d heard it was excellent, so was excited to pick it up, but was starting to get discouraged a few chapters in. It just wasn’t holding my interest. But that changed in a hurry!

Marguerite is on a cross-dimensional search for her father’s killer. There. Did that get your attention?

17 year old Marguerite is the daughter of well-known physicists. Their theories on parallel universes were panned for years, but after incredible breakthroughs, finally accepted.  And they have an unimaginable invention on their hands to prove their research – the Firebird, which allows the users to visit other universes. Sadly, it can also be used for nefarious purposes (of course it can!). Marguerite’s father is murdered and the killer jumps to another universe before the law can touch him. The perfect crime.

The trouble is the identity of the killer: Paul, one of her parents’ research assistants, and surrogate brother to Marguerite.  So using another Firebird, she and Theo (another student) follow Paul to bring him back. But the truth is never so simple anyway. Try adding another dimension into the mix.

Did you ever see the movie Sliding Doors? (Highly underrated, in my opinion). Gwyneth Paltrow plays a woman whose life splits into parallel universes when she is fired from her job and runs for the train. What happens when she makes it, what happens when she doesn’t.

A Thousand Pieces of You does the same thing, but on a macro scale:  not just what happens if you eat in this restaurant instead of that one, if you took Job A instead of Job B, if you went on the blind date instead of faking sick. But what happens when technology takes over, or if the computer is never invented, or climate change alters the coastlines of the continents.

The pop culture references and world-building were great. Gray gives a good feeling for the different dimensions and the changes, minor or major, between them. There is a dimension where The Beatles never existed?  That’s sacrilege, in my opinion.

The novel is definitely a romance.  With a love triangle, of sorts.  But it is clear fairly early on which one of the boys Marguerite was falling for, so maybe love triangle is a bit of a stretch. I liked the cross-dimensional twist to it – which version of the man is she really falling in love with?

Kudos to Gray for keeping the characters straight. At least, I think she did… There were so many dimensions and hijackers and piggybackers and holy crap did I ever have a headache!

The truth behind her father’s murder? Did NOT see that coming. Fantastic.

Don’t read this book when you’re tired.  You need a clear head and maybe a pad of paper to keep everyone and everything organized. It’ll make you wonder how many more of you are out there!

Definitely appropriate for teens, there is a bit of sex, but not graphic, and same with the violence.  It is book one of a series, but can stand alone. That said, I can’t wait for the second book!

A Thousand Pieces of You is published by Harper Teen.


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