by Claudia Gray
Published on November 4, 2014
by Harper Teen
Source: ARC sent for review
Synopsis from Goodreads: 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.
My take: This was the first book I've read by YA author Claudia Gray, and I was impressed. A Thousand Pieces of You is sci-fi romantic suspense -- a parallel universe book with a mind-bending concept that was still easy to grasp, an appealing heroine, and a fantastic travelogue. I didn't completely connect with the romance -- and not for the reasons that I see some readers are citing -- but overall I enjoyed this story.
Marguerite is the daughter of two brilliant physicists who have invented the Firebird, a device that allows a user to move between parallel universes. After her father's murder, Marguerite uses the Firebird to pursue the man she holds responsible for her father's death, a journey that will take her across continents, into the past, and into the arms of a man she may not be able to trust? (Does that sound like a movie voiceover, or what?)
I liked Marguerite a lot. She was a great blend of smart and vulnerable. The travelogue aspect -- both in terms of geographical travel and time travel -- of this book was a lot of fun. Marguerite first ends up in modern day London. Then, in the longest section of the book, she ends up in an alt-history Tsarist Russia. This part of the book was great and had a fantastic Dr. Zhivago feel. Finally, we're in the South Pacific.
As I said earlier, the romance presented just a little bit of a sticking point for me. I've seen other readers say it feels like a triangle, but I don't completely agree. The problem I had -- and I'll be general to avoid spoilers -- is that the main love interest had slightly different personalities in each universe, making it hard for me to get a handle on who he was. I mean, imagine falling in love with one version of a person, then discovering he's a totally different person in a new universe. This problem was mostly resolved by the end of the book, but that was a little too late to make me to jump aboard the ship that the book seemed to be promoting. I felt that another recent YA book, Trial by Fire, did a better job of handling the whole multiple universe/romance issue and using the multiverse as a romantic complication without making me feel like the love interest had multiple personality disorder.
That aside, I did enjoy A Thousand Pieces of You. I found it easy to read and thought it had a lot of nice plot twists. I will definitely check out the next installment!