A Thousand Pieces of You – Firebird #1
Author: Claudia Gray
Publisher: Harper Teen
This is a book that had caught my attention a long time ago but, for some unknown reason, I lost interest in it. So Bele from Mammia Mia asked if I wanted to buddy read it with her – which was awesome to see just what I was missing.
The book tells the story of Marguerite, a 16-year-old girl who loves art. She and her older sister grew up in quite a different environment, since their parents had a more liberal and different view on education. They were allowed to try whatever they liked and even ended up painting the kitchen table with ink when kids. Both their father and mother were renowned scientists and always ended up bringing their pupils home, which made the whole situation even more eccentric.
The pupils this time, Theo and Paul, helped Meg’s parents create a revolutionary device that allowed people to travel between dimensions, the Firebird. They found out that there are thousands of dimensions with infinite possibilities and countless versions of ourselves according to the decisions we make or how society and technology develop.
There’s a dimension where the Nazis won World War II. A dimension where the Chinese colonized America long before Columbus ever sailed over. (…) Even a dimension just like my own, identical in every way, except on one day in fourth grade, that Marguerite chose to wear a blue shirt while I chose to wear a green one.
However, the narrative begins when Meg’s father gets killed. So, Theo offers Meg the chance to use one of the Firebirds left and travel with him to find the allegedly murderer: Paul. Thus, the two of them jump between dimensions after Paul and will find out that, each dimension away, things seem ever more confusing and complex than they would’ve ever thought first of all.
The dimensions that the autor creates are definitely my favourite part of the book. The first one is set in a more technological London, almost robotic, and very different from the current one. The second – definitely my favourite – is set in a Russia that still under the control of a Czar and Meg ends up finding out that she’s the daughter of the monarch. E, at last, Meg wakes up in a house under water, where she lives with the rest of her family, around Oceania.
They are all extremely different situations from one another and it surprised me the whole way that the author dealt with different dimensions and how there wasn’t a big gap between stories. Although practically opposing, they connect very nicely following the narrative.
Besides, it’s incredible to see how Meg behaves after being thrown in a place she has never seen before and can’t even begin to imagine their traditions. Some parts got a bit pushy and maybe not all that realistic, but during most of the scenes, I was enchanted and ended up asking myself how I would react after being thrown to a parallel dimension.
Though the story develops just fine, I would like to have seen a little bit more growth of the characters. I felt that, even though they went through a gigantic adventure, there wasn’t much development on Meg’s part. In fact, the girl presented on the first chapters of the book has a pretty much persistent image throughout the ending.
Every form of art is another way of seeing the world. Another perspective, another window. And science –that’s the most spectacular window of all.
On the other hand, the formatting of the book was so cute, using different open images for the chapters, just like the characters jumping between dimensions. I always appreciate when publishers put on an extra effort and create details on the chapters’ openings that match the story!
A young adult romance that combines a touch of science fiction with past history, the author managed to create an immersive world in which the readers travels both through space and time and falls in love with every new set presented. I admit that in the beginning of the book, I even thought it was going to be just another silly young adult with nothing new, but as Meg traveled through dimensions, I saw myself get caught in the stories and, when she reached the Russian set, the book won me over.
I recommend it for everyone who enjoys a touch of science fiction and time traveling in their romances. The second book in the series, Ten Thousand Skies Above You, has already been published here in Brazil and I’m dying to get it, I hope I have the opportunity to continue this whole crazy story soon.