Wednesday, November 6, 2019

A Thousand Pieces of You - Claudia Gray (narrated by Tavia Gilbert)

Summary:  My hand shakes as I brace myself against the brick wall.  It's hard to catch my breath, to get any sense of where I am.  All I know is that the Firebird worked.  There's no time.  I don't know whether I have minutes, or seconds, or even less.  There's a small bag dangling from my shoulder.  When I fish inside, I can't find a pen, but there's a lipstick.  Fingers trembling, I unscrew it and scrawl on a tattered poster on the wall of the alley.  This is the message I must pass on, the one goal I have to remember after everything else I am is gone.  KILL PAUL MARKOV.

Marguerite Caine grew up surrounded by cutting-edge scientific theories, thanks to her brilliant physicist parents.  Yet nothing is more astounding than her mother's latest invention -- a device called the Firebird, which allows people to leap into alternate dimensions.

When Marguerite's father is murdered, all the evidence points to one person -- Paul,her parents' enigmatic star student. Before the law can touch him, Paul escapes into another dimension, having committed what seems like the perfect crime. But he didn't count on Marguerite. She doesn't know if she can kill a man, but she's going to find out.

With the help of another physics sutdent, Theo, Marguerite chases Paul through various dimensions. In each new world Marguerite leaps to, she meets another version of Paul that has her doubting his guilt and questioning her heart. Is she doomed to repeat that same betrayal?

As Marguerite races through these wildly different lives -- a grand duchess in a Tsarist Russia, a club-hopping orphan in a futuristic London, a refugee from worldwide flooding on a station in the heart of the ocean-- she is swept into an epic love affair as dangerous as it is irresistible. (Summary from book - Image from

My Review:  I don't normally read more than one book at a time -- it's just not how I roll -- but lately I haven't been able to help it.  I guess that's what happens when you cancel your Netflix and Hulu subscriptions, eh? I am in the middle of a great book series (Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard), am reading an insightful non-fiction book with a friend (The Anatomy of Peace by Arbinger Institute), and until I finished it today I was listening to the audio book version of A Thousand Pieces of You while I slogged (see: slow jogged) my way around our local high school track.  I needed something that would both keep my attention and help distract me from the hellish misery that is running.  At first, I only listened to it while I was at the track as both motivation and a reward for my efforts.  Then it just sorta started to bleed into my drive home and before long I had my headphones glued on while I was cooking and doing the dishes.  I made it about 3/4 of the way through the audio book before I got my hands on a hard copy and then straight up planted my butt on the couch until I finished it.  Good times.

A Thousand Pieces of You has a fantastic premise.  Marguerite is a young girl jumping through multiple dimensions, living in multiple versions of herself, trying to kill the man she thinks is responsible for her father's death.  I loved watching Marguerite jump to new dimensions and get to know different incarnations of herself and other characters.  I also enjoyed the romantic aspects of the story.  You know those heart-pounding moments where the character finally realizes their true feelings for someone?  Or those little zings of romantic tension between the characters as they get acquainted?  In this book, you get to experience those romantic vibes repeatedly in different settings.  You remember that need I had to be distracted while running?  Well, it totally worked.  I only hope the next book (which I already have on audio book) keeps up the pace.

This is most definitely an easy YA read. You don't have to deep dive unless you want to, but this book does offer some opportunities to mull over the universe if the reader is so inclined.  The author explored the concept of fate and also touched on the (admittedly hypothetical) ethics of inter-dimensional travel -- whether it is right for travelers to, in essence, steal people from themselves, experiencing memories or moments that belong to another person in another dimension.  It was also interesting to see how a choice here or an altered historical outcome there could potentially tweak (or dramatically alter) the character's lives, or even snuff them out entirely.  It was a light read that provided some fun food for thought.

Now, was the story line predictable?  Mmmmm....yes and no.  I never knew where Marguerite was going to jump next nor did I know every turn the story would make.  However, there were some things that felt really obvious from the get-go (Hmmm...look at all these feeling she has for the alleged bad guy.  Gee, I wonder if something else could be going on?)  Was the 'bad' guy really bad?  Are they ever in this kind of book?  I'll let you figure it out.  I also thought I knew how the book might end, and I wasn't wrong, but it all came at me sort of sideways in a way that I wasn't expecting (which I love).  Ultimately, I was pretty happy with how things unfolded and I'm excited to see what happens next in the story.  Thankfully, Ten Thousand Skies Above You is already waiting for me at the library. *squeee*

A NOTE on the AUDIO BOOK:  First, I don't always love audio books, but I really enjoyed listening to this one.  The characters jump into different versions of themselves (from different locales), which meant that the narrator, Tavia Gilbert, had to switch back and forth between a variety of accents (specifically British, American, French, and Russian).  I'm not an expert linguist, but I thought she did rather well and it helped me differentiate between when the main character was thinking (which she read in an American accent) and talking aloud (in another accent).  The only drawback to the audio book was that I discovered it is infinitely more awkward to listen to a sex scene than read one, however brief.  In written form, the word "oh" can be fairly innocuous.  In an audio book...well, let's just say the narrator strove for authenticity.

My Rating: 4.25 Stars

For the sensitive reader: I would have rated this book higher except for the one sex scene in the book.  It's brief and rather vague, but you know what's going on and where.

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