Series: Firebird, #1
Release Date: November 4th, 2014
Genres: Science Fiction, YA
Source: Received in exchange for review
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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!~
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