A Thousand Pieces Of You by Claudia Gray

A Thousand Pieces Of You Claudia Gray
A Thousand Pieces Of You Claudia Gray cover Firebird

Title: A Thousand Pieces Of You 
Author: Claudia Gray 
Series: Firebird #1 
Genre: Science Fiction, YA
Publication date: November 4, 2014 
Rating: ★½ 

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.

Never judge a book by its cover. Isn’t this one of the greatest wisdoms of our time? It’s mostly used as a metaphor to tell people they’re not supposed to let themselves care about the outer beauty of others. It seems I forgot the literal meaning of the phrase when I picked this book out. I almost bought it, just for the cover. Good thing I eventually decided there was better literature to spend my money on. But it was so damn pretty.

I didn’t like anything about this book. I should probably admit that I had my doubts even when I read the summary, but then again, this kind of plot could just as well work - if executed well. In this case, it was anything but. I feel like I have read a hundred of these novels and all of them a hundred times better. The main problem was that I didn’t believe any of it. Everything just felt really fake to me. Unrealistic, even in a made-up world. Things just happened way too conveniently. And the entire story was very, very predictable and everything went way too fast.

What bothered me even more were the characters. I saw right through them from the moment they appeared on the page. I’m not going to give away too much, but let’s say the end of the book didn’t bring any surprises. Marguerite was awful. I didn’t like her at all. She was a bad attempted Mary Sue. Immature, whiny and especially weak. Oh, she wasn’t supposed to be of course. I think she mentioned at least twenty times in the first fifty pages how she was going to KILL Paul. She repeatedly mentioned how badly she wanted revenge, but I didn’t believe it. Not any of it. There was no real anger and definitely no real grief. Her father died, for crying out loud! Sure, it was mentioned all the time that she felt terrible about it, but, no.. I didn’t feel it. Also, her choices were not reasonable. There was no real foundation as to why she did certain things, except that it served the story better. For example, when someone kills your dad, you’d want that guy to pay. You’d want that guy to be captured and to be judged for what he did. You don’t, however, suddenly - out of the blue - decide to chase him across the universe and kill him. Or maybe I’m just seeing that wrong.

And then there was also the fact that she fell for every boy who happened to be near her. Ugh. Oh, sure, she had high moral standards. She needed time to decide about her feelings. Three weeks and a dance max, though. Plus, she made no sense at all. These quote were on the same page:

I’ll never love anyone else like this. I never could.

I don’t know if he’ll remember this later, which would be- weird. I don’t know him well enough to predict how he’s going to react.

Yes, she is in fact talking about the same person. Also, CURSE THE PERSON WHO ONCE CAME UP WITH LOVE TRIANGLES. They can be done right. It is possible for a love triangle to be realistic and thrilling. But it’s pretty damn hard and this was another example of how not to do it. Everything about it was painfully obvious.

I’m probably the only person who didn’t like the Russian setting of the story either. All I could think when we met Marguerite’s parallel character was: oh, right, totally plausible. It’s as if Gray just wanted to write a piece of historical fiction and decided this was an opportunity she couldn’t miss. Technically it was of course possible for Marguerite to be in Russia in a different dimension, but it seemed a bit far-fetched.

Let’s finish with some very meaningful quotes:

It couldn’t be more obvious that my breasts are practically nonexistent, but I’m also showing off a whole lot of leg, and in the opinion of the guys in the club, that makes up for the lack of cleavage. They’re all over me, buying me drinks—more drinks I don’t need.
 They clasp their hands in something that’s more than a handshake – it looks like old paintings of Romans swearing allegiance to each other, swearing to die by each other’s side. Their bond is too powerful to be destroyed by their feelings for me, or their rivalry.
“Bath," I said, relishing the short A of my new accent. "Baaaath. Privacy. Aluminum. Laboratory. Tomato. Schhhhhedule." The giggles come over me, and I stop right there, hand against my chest, trying to catch my breath. I know I'm laughing mostly because I refuse to give in and start crying. The grief for my father has nowhere to go and is twisting every other mood I have into knots. And... tomahhhhto. That's hilarious.”

I don’t know. Maybe you will like this despite everything I hated. I’d say I’m getting too old for this, but considering how much I love other YA, I’d be lying. You can try of course, and for your sake I hope you will like it anyway. Lots of people do, in fact! Don’t say I didn’t warn you, though.

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