A Thousand Pieces of You, by Claudia Gray [Firebird #1]

✎Title: A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird #1)
Author: Claudia Gray
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication date: 4th November 2014
Rating: ★★★★★

17234658A Thousand Pieces of You, by Claudia Gray, is an ambitious new trilogy that seeks to tackle the notion of alternative realities, via the idea of travelling between these various possibilities. It’s a well-known theory that there are many, many different universes and realities just out of reach of our own. In one, I am sitting wearing not a green shirt, but a red one. In another, I’m wearing a green shirt, but I’m writing a different review. And in yet another, I don’t read at all, but instead I’m blogging about my screenplay or posting up my photographs. In the first book of the Firebird trilogy, Marguerite’s parents are very impressive scientists who are working on the concept of just how to travel between these realities, these different places.

Marguerite isn’t a scientist. Rather, she is an artist. She is alone in her love of art, with even her sister taking after their parents with her talent and aptitude for science. Generally Marguerite finds her on the sidelines, ever-watchful as her parents and their dedicated team work towards their goals. Leading scientists in their fields, it’s inevitable that they would find the way to manage to travel between these places.

They call it the Firebird.

And it is about to turn Marguerite’s life upside down. When tragedy strikes and the finger is pointed at someone she has trusted most of her life, someone she has harboured feelings for, Marguerite refuses to sit and do nothing. She ventures off on her home in search of the man responsible for the death of someone close to her heart—and she has revenge in mind. Willing to follow him through various alternative realities where she is sure he is hiding, Marguerite is tireless in her search. Only… the realities she discovers are both like and unlike her own and she can never estimate just which reality she will wind up in on her chase.

From London to historical Russia, to a facility at sea in an existence where the sea levels are rising quicker and her parents are specialists in that field instead of quantum physics, Marguerite will soon discover that it is impossible to navigate these worlds alone. Handy for her, then, that she isn’t alone. She finds herself aided by another of her parents’ assistants and puts her faith in him as she seeks out vengeance.

Yet as things progress and Marguerite discovers more than she expected throughout her journeys, she begins to realise that there is more to hand than she could ever have imagined. In fact, a vast and convoluted plot has been hatched and she has found herself at the centre of a tangled web stretching all the way to the very top of a powerful company. Nothing makes sense, especially when the people she meets inhabiting the bodies of their alternative selves do not seem to retain the memories the same way she does. Marguerite begins to realise she is different somehow—that the Firebird responds differently to her.

She also begins to discover that although she is herself in her own world, when she ventures elsewhere, she is merely seizing control of the body of her counterpart. When she falls in love and acts on those feelings, she is using the body of herself; taking those precious first experiences away from herself. And in addition, she will come to realise that, even though the soul of a person might travel between the realities and be housed within their counterpart for a while, and whilst there may be many instances of the same person throughout these alternative worlds, the people she meets are not the people she knows. Not exactly. They are themselves, as much as she is herself. The smallest of differences from one world to the next can change who a person is entirely—and just because you love one version of someone, that doesn’t mean those feelings transfer already nurtured and explored to their counterpart.

Traveling between these places is complicated and Marguerite is ultimately alone, unique in her ability to retain the memories of who she is and what the Firebird is and does. Though when Marguerite stumbles into a world with another passenger through time, she begins to hope against hope that the impossible might just be plausible, might just have happened. And if it has, she will find herself at the heart of an even deeper tangle and with little room to wriggle her way out. Ultimately, Marguerite will need to plan carefully in the midst of conspiracy and danger if she is to find a way for herself and those she loves to survive the machinations of the powerful and power-hungry. The Firebird is all she has. Now she must perfect how to use it.

A Thousand Pieces of You is a stunningly exciting story that whisks you from place to place, whilst immersing you fully in the feel of that particular nuance of the world. The Imperial Court in Russia is a focal point and it is a heartbreakingly bitter-sweet segment, where, with the date of the setting, you just know that disaster is looming, ready to strike at any point. And it does. Heart-breaking and beautifully-told, A Thousand Pieces of You will steal your heart and make you think about what precisely makes you, you. One small shift of circumstance could change nothing—or it could change everything.

In this book of infinite worlds to visit, you are invited to lose yourself along with Marguerite on her travels; to see what she sees and feel what she feels. Trust and dishonesty and following your heart—these feelings will tie you to Marguerite and keep you turning the page well into the night. Well-executed and exciting, A Thousand Pieces of You sets the stage for an exhilarating ride through a web of possible possibilities, whilst promising love and betrayal and a fight to prevent everything coming unravelled as more and deeper threads of time and space are tugged on and pulled.

The idea of war from within is one thing—but what about war threatened from without?

A Thousand Pieces of You will steal your heart, break it into a thousand pieces and force you to leave each fragment in a different existence, each different from the last. Read it and be amazed. Fall in love with each and every piece of A Thousand Pieces of You.

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