Book Review: A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

A Thousand Pieces of YouAuthor:  Claudia Gray

Genre: Young adult, sci-fi, romance

Publisher: Harper Teen

Publication Date: November 4, 2014

368 pages, hardcover

Check out the synopsis on Goodreads.

I finished this one more than two weeks ago, but I’ve been struggling to write the review, for several reasons. I think my expectations were a little too high (both because that cover is freaking gorgeous and the synopsis sounded awesome) and the book didn’t quite live up to those expectations. I absolutely love the concept behind the book, but I’m not sure about the execution of the ideas.

Let’s start at the beginning: Marguerite’s father is dead, murdered by a man he trusted, Paul – one of his assistants. Theo, his other assistant, and Meg follow Paul into the dimension in which he’s escaped, by using two Firebirds, which gives them the ability to jump between dimensions. This is how it starts – we are thrown into the story without giving us much time to adjust or connect with any of the characters. It feels like we are trying to catch up with the characters, relationships, and story. My emotional investment, therefore, suffered.

There were two main things I didn’t like:

  1. The romance – more than anything else, A Thousand Pieces of You is a romance. Marguerite was crushing on Paul before he murdered her father. Once she meets him in the other dimensions, she believes him almost immediately when he says he wasn’t the one who did it though there was a lot of evidence. But then there’s Theo, her parent’s other assistant. Love triangle. Joy. Actually, more of a love square, but you’ll have to read the book to find out what the heck that means. Thank goodness it wasn’t really instalove since the characters have known each other for a long time and had time to get to know one another. Sort of. Again, just read it. When Marguerite’s mission is halted for three weeks in Russia, it’s like she felt no sense of urgency to continue, but had plenty of time for love. And to make questionable decisions on behalf of her other self – more later.
  2. Marguerite – Jesus. I really can’t put into words how annoying she was to me. She was so wishy washy – one minute liking Paul, the next liking Theo. Either way, it was a lot of this.

i can't stop thinking about him gif

Something I really liked: In a lot of sci-fi, when you jump into a parallel universe, there are usually two of you. In A Thousand Pieces of You, you jump from your body into the “you” in that dimension. I thought this was a unique and really interesting way to do things, though it does create the problem of Marguerite’s horrible decision on behalf of her other self in the Russia-inspired dimension.

I also thought the world building was pretty great. The parallel universes were interesting and I liked that they could be almost exactly the same except for one small change. I thought Russia was well done – at least in showing how the aristocracy lived. I would love to see some other dimensions that were wildly different from our own, though I expect (or hope, at least) that this will happen in subsequent books. Yes, even though I had issues with this first one, I am interested enough to want to read more. Another thing I’d like to see more of in the next book is how the Firebird actually works. In A Thousand Pieces of You, little to no explanation is given. As Marguerite has never taken much interest in the technical side, she would start to delve into the mechanics and then brush it off by saying it’s a lot of technical mumbo-jumbo she didn’t understand. It was kind of like a cop out. I wanted to know how they were dimension-jumping!

There was some pretty writing though! You know I have to share a quote or two. 🙂

Now I know grief is a whetstone. It sharpens all your love, all your happiest memories, into blades that tear you apart from within. – Page 143

The bottom line: As much as I wanted to love this one, it had its problems for me. The focus on the wishy-washy nature of Marguerite’s love for Paul (…or was it Theo? Paul?) was irritating – though I will say the love in the end was pretty swoon-y. I liked the other dimensions but wished we’d learned more about the mechanics of how the Firebird worked. Will still read the next book.

Rating: 6 – good, but not great