By: Celine | October 16, 2014 | (21) Comments

Review: A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia GrayA Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray
Series: Firebird, #1
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: November 4th, 2014
Genres: Science Fiction, YA
Source: Received in exchange for review
Goodreads | Purchase

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.

It’s really hard for me to review A Thousand Pieces of You because quite simply, I don’t really have anything to say about it. It was an okay read for me: nothing spectactular, but nothing awful either. A Thousand Pieces of You had an amazing premise and an amazing cover (serious cover love!), but I felt only part of that premise was delivered. Supposedly it is a story of a girl hunting her father’s killer through different dimensions, but that is only partly true. Elaborating on that would mean spoiling, however, so I’ll have to see how I’m going to say the things I want to say without spoilers!

You see, I love (serial) killer stories. I’m always intruiged by them. What are the character’s motivations? What made them do it, and how did it impact them? Generally, these type of stories allow for complex characterization, suspense and intruige, all three of which I love. You can see why I was so excited for A Thousand Pieces of You, right? However, though there was definitely intruige and suspense, the killer part of the story was what was lacking for me. The book does start off with our main character, Marguerite, hunting her father’s killer through different realms. But the book quickly starts following a different path after a twist I saw coming even before I opened the book. (Not an exaggeration, by the way.) And yes, the story that followed was nice and intruiging, but not what I expected when starting this book, so I have to admit I felt a bit cheated. The story was good, but be warned if you have the same idea I had going in.

However, my real problem lies with the characters. I am a character-oriented reader. I read for characters first, plot second. (Though ideally, there is plenty of both.) And while A Thousand Pieces of You genuinely has an interesting and engaging plot, the characters fell flat for me. Let’s start with our main character, Marguerite. Though there are certain aspects to her, I felt I never got to really understand her character. I didn’t feel a lot of depth, and I felt her character was not as well-rounded as I’d hoped. It’s hard to explain exactly what I mean, but while reading I felt she was just… flat. Like, she loves art and making it and is the silent, pondering type, but instead of those being aspects of a more complex character I felt those things were her character. Artsy, silent. That’s it. And that’s why, even though those two things actually apply to me as well, I couldn’t connect with her or even root for her that much.

Then there are the two guys. Yes, two. Yes, this book has a love triangle, but it’s a fairly onesided one. It’s really obvious who the heroine is going to choose, even though she’ll always love the other one and all that. So if you’re afraid of lots of angst; don’t be. The part were Marguerite still isn’t sure about which guy to choose the book is very light on romance and more focused on plot. She pretty quickly falls for one guy.

My problem with that guy is the same problem I had with Marguerite, though: what is his character!? Maybe it’s just me and not the book, but there wasn’t a single character in the book I felt was really developed, that I could get a feel for and appreciate. They all just felt so flat. One of the love interests/friends was the funny, sarcastic, slightly-full-of-himself guy, and though I liked his character most, he too felt like only those characteristics. And the other love interest… Though I get he was supposed to be a “still waters run deep” kind of guy, I just still do not know him after finishing. Most of the book he spends not talking but having a deep and meaningful look, from which Marguerite gleams a lot of information apparently. I wouldn’t mind this if they actually talked too, but this is pretty much all they go by. Now, the circumstances weren’t good and they weren’t allowed to talk, really, but still. It was never insta-love and the relationship developed realistically if a bit quickly, but I just could not root for this couple.

Though I have a lot of critique, there were also good parts of A Thousand Pieces of You. I really loved the author’s imagination when it comes to these parallel universes. There are rules and restrictions, small and big differences, and I loved reading about these different universes and how they all differed from each other. One I thought a bit unrealistic, but that’s kind of the point: anything could happen in  these parallel universes; Marguerite could be leading any kind of life. I also loved the different ways she interacts with her family in each universe. For example, she has a brother and a sister in a parallel universe, though she only has one sister in her “home universe”. I loved the way she interacted with her brother and the different members of her family. This book shows all kinds of parental and sisterly love and I adored that part.

The book also has a lot of twists and turns, especially by the end, but I have conflicting feelings about that. On one hand, I appreciated those twists as some of them were pretty smart and unexpected, but on the other hand I felt so disconnected from this book that I mostly just didn’t care about those twists. I think that’s also why this book didn’t have as much as an impact on me. If only I’d connected more to it, the twists would have hit me harder. But as it stands, I have a weird kind of appreciation for this book. I recognize that it was well crafted and that it had a good plot, but it didn’t have any impact on me due to my complete disconnect from it all. It did have me turning the pages despite my annoyances, though, so I’d have to say I can’t not recommend it to you. My advice would be to read this for yourself to see if it’s something for you or not.

(Also, heh, look at me. Started off by saying I didn’t have anything to say about this and suddenly I have written more than 1,000 words. And no, I will not make a joke about 1,000 words and A Thousand Pieces, I promise.)

~Thank you, HarperTeen, for the review copy!~

3.5 Stars
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Celine is 17 years old and from the Netherlands. Quite obviously, she loves books! She has been a reader for as long as she can remember, and she believes she will be a reader forever. Celine is also obsessed with food, and loves singing along to music as loud as possible, dancing and doodling on nearly everything.

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21 Responses to Review: A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

  1. Oh I was planning to pick it up but now I’m not so sure… Great review. Looking forward to more by you! 🙂
    My TTT
    Kiran J. @ Book Maniac Reviews recently posted…Review: The Halloween Attraction by Cristina ImreMy Profile

  2. CAN I HUG YOU, CELINE?! I REALLY AM GOING TO. You are literally the FIRST person who I’ve seen have the EXACT same thoughts as me. I feel horrendous because I don’t get it. Everyone is raving, raving, raving on about the book and I love reading the reviews because I see the other side but wow, it was definitely not my side.

    I couldn’t connect AT ALL with the characters (sorry the capitals because wow, I’m getting passionate here lol). Who was Paul? Why should be fear him? Motivations? Why? The “baddie”–why? And I got nothing. I felt no connection at all. They were great but they had little to no impact on me. But I must admit, the imagination was great. You know what, I should end this here before I reveal my whole review LOL
    Jess @My Reading Dress recently posted…The Young Elites #1: The Young Elites by Marie LuMy Profile

    • Celine says:

      HUGS ALL AROUND! I was starting to wonder if there’s something wrong with me because like you said, everyone seems to LOVE this.

      Yesyesyes basically what you are saying. I just didn’t understand these characters – why did they do what they did? Like you said, they just didn’t have any impact on me. And because of that, I couldn’t feel the romance either, and because of that, the plot felt way less convincing 😐

  3. Great review! Ahh, it’s a shame to hear this — but I think I’m most likely going to read it anyway. I never know what I might like. 🙂 I think honestly that it’s going to be hard for the book to live up to my expectations, because oh my gosh that cover is seriously amazing. And I love the premises of the story, as well. I think this is the sort of book people are going to either like, or not going it, from the reviews I’ve been reading of them.
    Kara @ Diary of a Teen Writer recently posted…Book Review: Fire by Kristin CashoreMy Profile

  4. How disappointing 🙁 Claudia Gray is going to have a book signing here in the Philippines and I was really hoping this would be her best work. The cover art is definitely a winner! I’ll give this a shot! Thanks for sharing Celine. 🙂
    Chyna @ Lite-Rate-Ture recently posted…Authors, don’t feel sorry for yourselves.My Profile

  5. Oh Celine, that’s a shame, I was looking forward to this book as I’ve heard great things, but I really loved your indepth review about it. Characters who are flat definitely sound like it was hard to connect to, which would affect your enjoyment and care factor for the rest of the story. I do like the sound of the world building and the twists and turns though, so at least there’s that to look forward to. Really lovely review!
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…New Adult Reviews #1: Four Seconds to Lose by K.A. Tucker & Ricochet by Krista & Becca RitchieMy Profile

    • Celine says:

      Yes, that did play a huge role in how I felt about the book. A big part of the plot connects to the characters, and because I didn’t feel for the characters, I didn’t really care about the plot 😐 Like, I recognized that it was well-done but I just didn’t FEEL it.

      Thank you <33

  6. Giselle says:

    I’m reading this one next so I only skimmed your review. It sounds like it could have been better but was at least entertaining. I’m the exact same with characters I NEED a character driven book and if the characters fall flat, most of the book does as well. There have been instances where I was more interested in the plot and not connected to the characters was not a HUGE deal but… it’s rare. Its sounds like the creativity is great though and parallel universe books have been god to me lately so I’m hoping that stays true. Great review, hun!
    Giselle recently posted…Review: Famous in Love by Rebecca SerleMy Profile

    • Celine says:

      Oh, I’m curious what you’ll think of it! I know loads of people have loved this so I hope you’re one of them 🙂 The characters did fall flat for me and because a part of the plot has to do with the characters, that also didn’t impress me very much. But I think it was really well-written and it was definitely creative!

      Thanks, Giselle <33

  7. Lily says:

    I absolutely adore the cover for this one so I’ve been dying to get my hands on it! That being said, this one sound pretty entertaining and intriguing but it also sounds like it just wasn’t emotionally fulfilling. I’m sorry you had such a hard time connecting with this one but at least you weren’t completely bored throughout your reading experience. Great review 🙂 Hopefully your next read is better!
    Lily recently posted…STALKING–Hot or Not in YA?My Profile

    • Celine says:

      Yep, that’s pretty much exactly what happened! It was a skilfully written book, but I just couldn’t connect to it emotionally. But it was pretty intriguing, so there’s that 😛

      Thank you, Lily! <33

  8. Amber Elise says:

    Haha, isn’t it funny when you don’t know how to start a review but end up writing a mini essay? I actually didn’t expect a love triangle in this one, but I can’t say I’m surprised.

    Thanks for your honesty, I feel prepared for when I read this!

    Amber Elise @Du Livre

  9. Valerie says:

    Hahah what a coincidence of having around 1000 words for this book! Anyways, I also care a lot about characters and their development, so I completely understand why you didn’t absolutely love it. But the cover is just SO GORGEOUS. I almost requested this, but in the end didn’t. I don’t regret it!
    Valerie recently posted…Review: The FalconerMy Profile

  10. Zoe N. says:

    Aww…shucks! 🙁 This was probably my most anticipated release of the month (time travel + a murder mystery = YES!), so it’s unfortunate you found it a bit mediocre. I can completely see where you’re coming from though – if you can’t connect to the characters, no matter how good the story itself or the writing are – you just can’t possibly be able to enjoy it’s full potential. It’s a shame that the characters here are so 2D because it sounds like they had quite a bit of potential for development. Nonetheless, I’m definitely still going to give this a try! Thanks for sharing and, as always, FABULOUS review! <3
    Zoe N. recently posted…The Infinite SeaMy Profile

  11. I’m pretty excited about this one though I’m not 100% sure it’ll be for me. I’m glad to see you rated it pretty well but I’m a tad scared that since you found it a bit bleh I will too. Great review!
    Kristen@My Friends Are Fiction recently posted…Discussion Post- What Was Your Gateway YA Book?My Profile

  12. I cannot wait to read this one! I have such high hopes for it and am hoping it’s not going to be disappointing for me, but a lot of the reviews I have seen are positive and I think I will love it. I’ve loved the other books I’ve read of Claudia’s so you think I would love this too. Great review, thanks for sharing 🙂
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  13. Michelle Lee says:

    Thank you for the review! Wow, I’m surprised of your response because I know many people have been talking about this book and saying it was great. I’ve been looking forward to reading this book, but i’ll definitely read with awareness! haha 🙂

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