Name: A Thousand Pieces of You
Author: Claudia Gray
Number of Pages: 360 (Paperback)
Published: October 7th 2014 by HarperCollins
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Time Travel
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. – from Goodreads
This book has one of the most beautiful covers I’ve seen in a while, it really is a work of art.
The story kicks off in the midst of the action, transporting us immediately to a futuristic version of London with Marguerite and her friend Theo. They are pursuing Paul, a former friend/potential love interest whom Marguerite believes murdered her father. But of course, things are not what they seem.
This section is really intriguing – who is Paul, why would he go to such extremes, murdering his former friend and colleague? The Firebird is a clever idea and is beautifully described. The book explains quickly and clearly the workings behind the travel, that it is about parallel dimensions but not time travel, and does it in a way that doesn’t lose the reader or bog them down with too much detail. The characters can potentially travel to any alternate reality where they could actually have existed. I know this sounds confusing, but that’s down to my inadequate explanation rather than any flaw in the narrative because it makes perfect sense when you’re reading.
The narrative jumps next to Russia and reads like a historical romance between the grand princess Marguerite and the soldier Paul Markov. I found it enjoyable and lush, and a complete departure form the more sci-fi theme of the futuristic places. I really enjoyed this section, and the development of the romance between Paul and Marguerite, although Paul’s change from potential murderer to potential suitor happens quite rapidly as Marguerite quickly starts to believe that Paul didn’t actually murder her father and something else is going on.
I thought the love story between the solider and the princess was convincing and well written and I liked it a lot, although something detracted a little from that initial build up in later sections – another potential suitor in the form of Theo. I didn’t mind this too much but I didn’t feel it particularly added tension or excitement because ultimately I thought Marguerite’s real love was Paul and he was the one I found most convincing, so the ‘triangle’ felt slightly irrelevant. As the story played out it became clear why it was necessary for there to be these two characters, but I think it could have worked equally as well with a friend dynamic.
Another dimension the story plays out in is an underwater oceanographic station. It is during this part of the story that things start to become clear and Marguerite pieces together what is really going on, and finds out the truth behind her father’s murder and what really happened. This part of the story offered up plenty of plot development and twists in the tale but while I liked the detail, the setting during this section was my least favourite. I loved the lush opulence of Russia so much that I guess whatever came next would have to be pretty amazing to top it for me.
A Thousand Pieces of You is definitely left open for another book and it will be interesting to see the new alternate realities our main characters venture to next time and the trials they will encounter there.