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A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray was one of those books where I closed the cover and thought This would be a perfect book for my best friend.
Before I get into why I would recommend the book to her (and you) even though it wasn’t the perfect book for me, let me tell you what it’s about:
Marguerite Caine’s parents are genius physicists. They’ve invented a device called the Firebird that can transport people to alternate dimensions. You can only visit other dimensions in which you exist, and you take over your alternate-self’s consciousness for however long you’re there. Marguerite never planned on taking a tour of the multi-verse–at least not until her father is murdered by his research assistant (and that assistant then dimension-hops to escape the consequences of his actions). Marguerite decides to go after him, and she visits everywhere from a futuristic London to Imperial Russia to an underwater city to try to track him down. But in each new place she goes, Marguerite discovers a new piece to a multi-dimensional conspiracy, making her question everything she knows about what happened to her father…and whether the boy she’s falling for is one soul sharing many bodies or just the one dimension’s version of him.
This book is the first in a series, but Gray succeeded in making it feel like a stand-alone while still left herself someplace to go in future books. The plot was tight, well-thought-through, and–despite its complexity with inter-dimensional travel–didn’t have gaping holes. There were twists I didn’t see coming (and a few I did). If what you like is a high concept story with fast-paced plot that’s well-executed, this book is for you.
If, however, you’re less like my best friend and more like me, here’s what might not work for you: There were so many setting changes to cool places, but I never really felt immersed in any of them. I don’t feel like I visited futuristic London or Imperial Russia. That I could forgive, because there were four huge setting changes in 350ish pages and giving someone the feel of a world is difficult. What I couldn’t overlook was that the characters fell a little flat. This, too, made sense. There was so much going on in the book that there wasn’t time to develop everyone. Unfortunately, characterization is the hinge on which a book hangs (at least for me).
What salvaged everything and left me with an overall positive feeling toward the book were all of the ethical questions Gray/Marguerite brought up. Should you dimension-hop when it means taking over another version of yourself’s consciousness? If you get stuck in another version of you for a while, what decisions can you make on your other self’s behalf? Are you essentially the same person? Or are you fundamentally different people? Do math and physics support the idea of fate? Or do our choices affect the outcome of everything?
So what do you think? Will you pick up a copy of A Thousand Pieces of You?
Thanks to HarperTeen providing a copy for us to review.
Jenny’s Current Obsessions: Brooklyn Nine-Nine, pictures of baby animals, the word emulsify, finding the perfect dress that makes her look skinnier than she is, cake, Sauvignon Blanc, sun-dried tomato pesto, and making a dent in her TBR list.
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