Wednesday, February 25, 2015

look at her go: reviewin' reviewin': a thousand pieces of you

Name: A Thousand Pieces of You 
Author: Claudia Gray
☆☆☆☆☆ (and more if i could)
find it on goodreads
barnes & noble 

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.

 Full, non-spoilery (except a few clearly marked exceptions) review under the cut! 

I know that two reviews in one day from me is different than how we normally do things, but I just finished this book and I loved it so much that I had to immediately post a review. Even as I was on page 200, right in the middle, I knew that I would be posting a full review for this book. It was so wonderfully paced, with just the right amount of suspense, and that twist at the end! Brilliant. Also, the cover is amazing, am I right? 

Basically, this is a sci-fi parallel universe thriller with compelling characters and a truly believable romance. Marguerite is our protagonist, and her parents are brilliant physicists who have invented a device that allows you to jump into other dimensions. The story relies heavily on the multiverse theory, and you personally can only jump into dimensions where your parents have met and you're actually born. Other than that, the possibilities are endless. However, just after this triumphant technology is completed, Marguerite's parents' brilliant assistant, Paul erases all of their data, steals the device, and is suspected of killing Marguerite's father. Burned by the betrayal, Marguerite jumps at the chance to follow him, along with another assistant and friend named Theo. What ensues is a race into several different lives, and the situation becomes more and more complex as Marguerite realizes that perhaps nothing is as she thinks. 

There was so much done right in this book. I don't even know where to begin. Maybe I'll start with the characters. I felt, with every page, how real they were. From Marguerite to Paul to Theo, our three main characters, to Marguerite's parents and her various siblings. I loved every single one of them. Marguerite is at first desperate and her sadness is compelling, but she handles everything that is thrown at her with the grace of a true artist. Theo is the bad boy that you want to love, but who makes it difficult, especially when there is a huge plot twist regarding his character at the end. I loved how much Marguerite loved her parents. I feel that there is so much parental issues in YA, the fact that she so fiercely loved hers was refreshing. Marguerite's mother basically runs the world, and I appreciated that her brilliance was emphasized so much. I fell in love with Josie and Vladimir and Katya and Peter, and their respective familial relationships with Marguerite. I felt Marguerite's visceral longing for her father. And especially, I loved Paul's quiet brilliance, his love for Marguerite in every dimension (I don't think this is a spoiler, its pretty much implied by the synopsis), and his commitment to doing the right thing, even when it made him look guilty. 

The overarching theme of fate played a big role in this book, from Paul mentioning early on in the novel how he believed it was mathematically possible to prove when two people are meant to cross paths, in any dimension. I liked the parallel of this between Marguerite's parents, who met again and again in America, England, Russia and more; and also between Marguerite and Paul, who also end up geographically close in the different dimensions that they visit. I'd like to think that there's truth to what Paul said, and that there are some people that are meant to be in our lives, and no matter what we do, that doesn't change. 

My favorite part of the book was when Marguerite wound up in Russia, as a Romanov princess. In the dimension she lands in, the Romanov dynasty never fell, technology developed much slower, and her mother married the Tsar. However, her father is her tutor, and seems to have had an affair with her father, resulting in Marguerite's existence. This is where Marguerite and Paul truly fall in love, although he has no memory of their past in their own dimension, thinking he is simply the princess' guard, although quietly in love with her. Marguerite falls for the soldier, though she is confused for the rest of the story where that soldier ends and where her Paul begins. In Russia as well, Marguerite gets to have three siblings, and they are all precocious and loving in their own ways. When Marguerite has to leave Russia, I mourned as much as she did the loss of the happiness she felt while inhabiting that Marguerite's life. 

(slightly spoilery romance section in this paragraph! skip if haven't read and you do not want to know the cute things that happen) mostly during the last half of this book I was squealing over the romance. I like how it was kind of a slow burn, and that Gray took her time in introducing us to the spark of romance that existed between Paul and Marguerite before Paul ran away. I liked how they ended up together in every situation. Obviously I loved Pavel Markov, the soldier who is utterly devoted to her Imperial Highness, Princess Marguerite, but then it was so satisfying to see that his feelings were the same in every dimension. (when he kept saying every Marguerite I swooned). I like that Marguerite can't help but trust him, and though it was difficult for her, how she kept on giving him chances, because they are so obviously meant to be together. The tension between them was palpable, to which I say bravo to Claudia Gray, because very rarely do I feel tension between two characters coming off the page. Paul's love for Marguerite was so adorable. I love Paul. I LOVE PAUL. 

(ok spoilery section over!!) The true antagonist in this story is a CEO of a huge company that had been funding Marguerite's parents' research. Wyatt Conley is sneaky and conniving, and I believe will have a big part to play in the sequel. It is his actions that shift the Firebird from being a really cool device that would let you experience a thousand different lives to a weapon. And that is when shit starts to hit the fan. There are two HUGE plot twists towards the very end of this book, one happy and one not so happy, but I think Claudia Gray did a phenomenal job with this story, especially how she inserted just enough backstory to give the reader a really good sense of the characters and plot connections, but not too much that one would be overwhelmed. I cannot wait the 8 months until the sequel comes out!

Favorite Quotations (there may be mild spoilers in these quotations): 
1. "Every Marguerite" (said multiple times by Paul)  
2. "Paul Markov is dangerous. He killed your father. You know this. If you can't hate him for that, what kind of weakling are you? Don't waste another chance. The next time you see him, you don't hesitate. You don't think about cooking lasagna together, or listening to Rachmaninoff. You act." p. 93
3. "My mother is a scientist. She's a genius. She's strong and she's fierce and, okay, she can be a little obtuse about ordinary life, plus she doesn't understand art at all, but still, she's Mom. She has more to give the world than almost anyone else I can imagine." p. 129
4."'Insufficient data.' Paul said, but I could tell, in that moment, how much he wanted to believe in destiny. It was the first time I thought of him as someone who, all appearances to the contrary, might have some poetry in his soul. Maybe it was the only time I ever understood him at all." p. 133
5. "If I don't get stuck here, then I never have to ask myself what emotion made this Marguerite draw Paul over and over again. What she saw in him that allowed her to capture his soul more completely than I ever have. Or how it is that both Paul's souls seem to be the same." p. 165
6. "Paul nods, oddly earnest. 'Surely, my lady, the Prince of Wale will prove a devoted husband. I cannot imagine that any man would not – would not count himself fortunate to have such a wife. That he could fail to love you at first sight." p. 175
7. "Mathematics or fate: Whatever that force is that keeps bringing us together in world after world, it's powerful. Undeniable. But I still don't know whether that force means my salvation or my destruction." p. 259
8. "I fell in love with one Paul. I fell in love with his unchanging soul. Does that mean I fell in love with every Paul, everywhere? Paul rushes to fill the silence, words tumbling over one another, as if he'd held hem back for so long that he can't last one second more. 'I know I'm not – I've never been–" He stares down at his own broad hands on his duffel bag. 'I'm not good with words. I never know the right thing to say, because with you – every time we talk I seem to get it wrong.'" p.290
9. "'I remember being a part of him.' His voice is low, and soft. I lift my eyes to his. It feels both like it's hard to meet his faze and like I could never look away. 'I know we both liked the way you look for beauty in every person. Every moment. He wished he could be funny like you, sure of your words, and I do too. We both daydreamed about kissing you against a wall. Neither of us thought we ever had a chance with anyone as amazing as you. We would both do anything, give up anything, to keep you safe.'" p. 291




    I mean, I would buy it only for the cover but the plot sounds amazing and your review had me even more excited than before! *-*

    Ps. If you'd like, come visit my blog and say hi <3

    Frannie @ In Clouds of Pages

    1. Oh my god yes I highly highly recommend buying and reading it as soon as possible!! it is so worth it. I'll be sure to check out your blog!!

  2. Hey, I just nominate you to the Versatile Blogger Award! Click here to read more :)


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