Review: A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird #1) - Claudia Gray

Release Date: November 4th 2014
Published By: Harper Teen
Pages: 368
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Purchase: Click here to purchase

Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis: 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.

Review: Marguerite Caine’s parents are ground-breaking physicists who have intended a small device called the Firebird. Small it may be, but the Firebird is a huge deal - it allows travel between dimensions. But Marguerite’s father has been murdered and her parents researched destroyed, ruining everything that her parents have worked towards, and Marguerite’s life.

And the person who destroyed everything - Paul Markov, her parents’ assistant. After murdering Marguerite’s father, Paul stole the only functioning Firebird and transported himself into an alternate universe before he could face any punishment to his crimes.

Marguerite only has one hope of following Paul and bringing him to justice, her parents other assistant Theo. Together they start jumping through alternate universes to avenge her father’s death.

But Marguerite finds out that the truth may be more complicated than she believed.

In their effort to track down Paul, Marguerite and Theo travel through many different dimensions and we get to see many alternate universes via the Firebird. The Firebired allows travellers to move between alternate dimensions, but they can only enter a dimension in which they already exist. The reason for this is that the traveller will temporarily jump into the body of their alternate self, and when they leave, their self of that universe will return to that body. Although a little confused, there seems to be no ill side-effects to the person whose body was taken over. The way the Firebirds worked and the explanation of alternate universes was explained well, with just enough information to unsure you didn’t have too many questions but you also weren’t left feeling like you just read a scientific paper. It was a nice blend of information and mystery.

The thing I loved most about A Thousand Pieces of You was definitely the various settings. As Marguerite and Theo chase after Paul, they jump into multiple alternate universes - some close to the life that Marguerite and Theo know, and some very, very different. But all utterly realistic. Claudia has done a fantastic job creating these alternate universes, which include everything from historical Russia, an underwater environment, a familiar but more futuristic London. I loved all the settings, and the adventures, that we travelled through thanks to the Firebird.

Marguerite’s determination to track down her father’s killer was admirable, and along the way she also found and started to understand different aspects of herself, often in the most obscure places. She certainly is on an emotional journey and I respect her desire to be an individual, but yet not so headstrong that she cannot learn more about herself. And although she counstantly found herself pretending to be another version of herself, she remained true to herself. She didn’t get lost in an alternate Marguerite’s world, even when at times it could have been easy too, and she could have had everything she wanted by doing this. She remembered her true self, while remaining conscious of the other versions of herself - not wanting to violate her alternate dimension self more than she already had by taking over their body. She is a very complex character, and while I can’t say I could really connect to her, I found her extremely interesting.

But I did find Marguerite a little impulsive and also indecisive. I know that is in a contradiction, but depending on the circumstance, she jumped from one extreme to another. She is however resilient and tough, and her feelings toward her family cannot be denied (although it does get a little confusing when all she wants is to see her father again, but also wanting to return to mother - but grief is involved, so I can understand her conflicting feelings regarding this). I also found her feelings towards the two leading men, Theo and Paul, a little frustrating. So yes, there is somewhat of a love-triangle going on, but it wasn’t really that didn’t thrill me, it was the fact that her feelings for both boys kind of switched between the two quite easily, and even then, I wasn’t really feeling it. The girl jumped around like a yo-yo with her feelings for these boys. And let’s add in the confusing factor that at some point, we see an alternate version of one of these boys, and therefore there is another character in the mix, although not really. I know, that sounds confusing, I am sorry!. I can’t say I really have a favourite out of the boys, and there is a reason for this, but I cannot say why without giving away a rather important part of the storyline.

However, I actually liked the dimension between Theo and Paul, although tense at the beginning, as time goes by you get to see more of their relationship before the death of Marguerite’s father. I quite liked both of these boys for different reasons, and never fear, they aren’t in the story just to create a love-triangle, they both have very important roles to play in the story.

There are certainly aspects that I would like to see explored more in the sequel, but overall, I really enjoyed A Thousand Pieces of You. Alternate universes, a device to travel between them, and one determined girl, but as Marguerite searches for her father’s killer, will she ultimately discover something far more important?



“I meant it when I said I didn’t believe in love at first sight. It takes time to really, truly fall for someone. Yet I believe in a moment. A moment when you glimpse the truth within someone, and they glimpse the truth within you. In that moment, you don’t belong to yourself any longer, not completely. Part of you belongs to him; part of him belongs to you. After that, you can’t take it back, no matter how much you want to, no matter how hard you try.”

“I fell in love with his unchanging soul.”

“Now I know that grief is a whetstone that sharpens all your love, all your happiest memories, into blades that tear you apart from within.”

“Every form of art is another way of seeing the world. Another perspective, another window. And science - that’s the most spectacular window of all. You can see the entire universe from there.”

“This, I think, is the boundary line of adulthood. Not the crap they claim it is - graduating from high school or losing your virginity or getting your first apartment or whatever. You cross the boundary the first time you’re changed forever. You cross it the first time you know you can never go back.”


What do you think?

  • I’ve seen really mixed reviews for this one but now I’m leaning towards wanting to read it. I’ve seen it at my library so I’d definitely pick it up if I ever have time. Thank your for the lovely review Kristy!
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