A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray Review: Alternate Realities Explored

November 12, 2014 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 5 stars, Books, Reviews

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray Review: Alternate Realities ExploredA Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray
Series: Firebird #1
Published by HarperCollins Australia on November 4, 2014
Source: Publisher
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
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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.

Just imagine, every choice or decision you make leading to a different dimension or alternate reality. This concept of multi-verses or alternate realities is not new, but the way A Thousand Pieces of You explored it was a breath of fresh air.

A Thousand Pieces of You caters to the intellectual reader with the rich science background of the main character and her family exploring different alternate realities. As the daughter of two science genius, Marguerite uses a Firebird to travel through different dimensions, while temporarily overtaking her self from that dimension. Accompanied by her parents’ two apprentices, the shy and brooding Paul and the confident and flirty Theo, the three will meet at each point under very different circumstances.

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. You can see the entire universe from there.

I won’t spoil the different dimensions for you, but I was really pleased to find that they varied in their representation of the world and of the main characters. The world building of each reality is both intricate and convincing, with much thought and care put into bringing them to life. Not only are the circumstances between Marguerite, Theo and Paul different, the author goes one step further in outlining the current reality’s culture, art, science, familial ties, technology and even politics. The plot was constantly evolving based on the current circumstances Marguerite would find herself in, whether it’s war, politics, technology, lost memories, a conglomerate genius or life-threatening mission in the way.

Marguerite herself was an intelligent and determined character that I much rooted for. While her internal dialogue involved focusing on the mission at hand – to find Paul, she’s also constantly swaying between who she likes more – Theo or Paul. The love triangle never bothered me though, it was just enough to add depth to the characters and there was a very clear winner on top. The romance is kind of confusing though, as is some of the character development – do I love that version of him, or the version from Marguerite’s timeline, and are they the same person or different? It surely presented some interesting angles based on the multiverse storyline.

“Lieutenant Markov and I are not the same man,” he says, “Nobody knows that better than I do. But we’re not completely different, either. The one way we were most alike was – was how we felt about you.” 

Family is the most important factor in A Thousand Pieces of You, from Marguerite and Theo’s mission to avenge her father’s death, to how she found herself appreciating the different version of her parents, to how she will meet some siblings she’s never had. There were so many complex issues explored in the story and it never did anything halfway.


A Thousand Pieces of You stood out with the main character setting out to tell a story. As confusing as the science could be, I never felt lost because of the way the author directed the storyline. She interchanges past and present memories with current events while explaining the new universes. From the different realities, to the intricate world building, to main characters and how they differ, A Thousand Pieces of You is a complex and interesting exploration into multi-verses.

A Thousand Pieces of You is the alternate realities book that I’ve been waiting for, and it really satisfied my craving for an intelligent read.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Thank you to HarperCollins Australia for sending me a review copy in exchange for an honest review. 

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Jeann is an Aussie YA blogger and mum who loves to read and recommend books! You can usually find me fangirling about books on my various social media channels including Twitter @happyindulgence, Instagram and Youtube.

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44 responses to “A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray Review: Alternate Realities Explored

  1. Gahhhh hahah I don't know what to say. I've seen so many things about this book, but the whole alternate realities really intrigues me. And that cover. I think I'm going to have to pick it up. I was concerned about the science explained parts, but it looks like you're satisfied with the explanations.

    • Yay, I'm glad you're still keen on giving it a shot despite the mixed reviews! I really did love the alternate dimensions and how they focused on science and family. It was different to the usual, you know?

  2. YES! This was one of my most anticipated releases of the month, so I am SO excited to hear you enjoyed it so much Jeann! 😀 I completely agree that anything science-y has the potential to be confusing, but it sounds like the author really simplified it and made it not only realistic but easy to understand as well, which is awesome! 😀 And yeah for a strong protagonist! We can never have enough of those! Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! <3

    P.S. Love the new commenting system! 😀
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    • YAY, I'm so glad you are liking the new commenting system! Took a while to set up and hopefully this will work better for everyone. I really did love how the science was done well but they didn't skimp on it you know? Hope you do enjoy this read Zoe! Can't wait to see what you think.

  3. Aww we seem to be on opposite ends of the spectrum here Jeann, oh well! 😛 I love sci-fi novels and ever since I read Atopia by Matthew Mather, I've been picking apart YA sci-fi and just can't seem to overlook its flaws. 🙁 I can honestly say Marguerite and I did not mesh well together, I found her need to avenge her father very half-hearted (she was easily swayed on who was responsible) and the majority of the book felt like a romance rather than a mission. I loved the Russian setting though, and the morality of the character was interesting to watch unfold. So nice to read a different opinion on the book, wonderful review Jeann!

    • Awww I know Joy, such a shame! I guess I can see why you would pick apart all sci-fi novels if you are a buff hehe. She was easily swayed throughout and I can see why the romance would kind of put you off. Thank you Joy, I really enjoyed your opinion on it as well!

    • LOL yeah I need multi dimension books to be simple, as much as I enjoy the concept. This one was easy to follow though 🙂

  4. I totally agree with you Jeann. I usually get lost or have some issues with time travel books, but here everything was so organized and nicely revealed. I loved it. Also this is one of rare books where love triangles didn't bother me either. I really cannot wait to read more of Gray's books now. Great review, Jeann 🙂

    • Thanks Tanja, I really liked the way it was organised and thought it was done really well. Glad to hear you enjoyed it as much as me!

  5. AW I'M GLAD THIS ONE WAS A HIT FOR YOU! I loved that the plot centered around whatever universe she was in–that was refreshing for the reader! And the science was truly well-done, wasn't it? Although I'm not one to speak since I'm pretty much redundant when it comes to anything science related hahaha Fantastic review, Jeann! x

  6. Every time to I see a review of this book I am tempted to buy a copy just because of the beautifull cover. It's so pretty! Just like Carmel I tend to stay away from time travel and alternative dimensions books, they just aren't for me as I can't wrap my head around the concepts. It does sound like thw world building was done really well and that's something I love in books. Those different versions of people, especially when it concerns the romance sounds a bit weird. I am still on the fence about this book, not sure whether I want to read it or not.

  7. I'm glad you enjoyed this one, Jeann. I really struggled with this one, especially because of the genre. It's not one that I normally go for. I also had some strong feelings against the romance. Surprisingly it wasn't the love triangle that bothered me, but it was the sex scene. There were just too many ethical issues with it that weren't explored. It felt very icky to me and it did wind up ruining the book for me. I'm glad that you were able to enjoy it so much though. I know a lot of people did! 🙂
    Lovely review!

  8. I tend to stay away from time travel type books because I have a hard time keeping track of the alternate realities, but it sounds like Gray took that concept to a whole new level in A Thousand Pieces of You. Talk about consequences for your actions!! I'm happy that the author didn't throw the parental figures under the bus because that's a personal pet peeve of mine in YA. And, that cover, SO PRETTY!!

  9. Fantastic review, Jeann – so glad you enjoyed this one! I loved the multi-dimension aspect of this novel, but was hoping for a little more. Though I have no idea what. I think this is a really solid start to the trilogy, and I can't wait to see where the story goes in book two. Thanks for sharing! 😀
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  10. This one sounds so intricately delicious, I can't wait to crack it open. It's one of the few books that I've seen where readers aren't actually critical of the love triangle. You know I love a strong female heroine and those scifi storylines. I can't wait to meet Marguerite I hope I enjoy this as much as you have.

    Brilliant review Jeann <3 only took ten million years to comment and tell you that 😀
    Kelly recently posted…The Bookish Best Of… Pretty Covers of 2014My Profile

    • Yeah, there is a hint of a love triangle but I don't really count it as one if there's a clear front runner you know? At least it didn't grate on my nerves with going back and forth and indecisiveness. I can't wait for you to read it Kelly. Don't worry, I'll fix my comment system soon!

    • I did really enjoy it because it was exactly up my alley with the science and alternate realities. Thanks Rochelle, for your lovely comment!

  11. AHHHH <3

    Such love for this book in this review!

    I've been skeptical about this one since people have either loved all the romance in this one or completely hated it. I'm not the biggest fan of love triangles but if I understand where the heroines feelings are coming from I can deal with it. You know? That being said, you're making me want to pick this one up immediately! Also, an intelligent heroine? SIGN ME UP!
    Lily recently posted…Stone Cold Touch (The Dark Elements #2):ReviewMy Profile

    • I know, I'm actually quite surprised about all the reviews about the romance because usually that gets on my nerves but this one didn't annoy me at all. I just loved the setting so much! And yes, the heroine was awesome 😀 Glad to hear this has swayed you Lily!

  12. The part I'm looking forward to is meeting the intelligent main character. In YA these days, we have lots of innocent heroines, and lots of badass heroines, but not enough intelligent ones. I'm a bit scared of the love triangle–I would hate to pick the underdog again. xD So glad you ended up loving this one, Jeann! Lovely review!
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    • The main character was wonderful, I was so glad to have someone who could think for herself and make her own decisions you know? I think it's hard to pick the underdog here, but we'll see what you think. Thank you Aimee!

  13. Hmmm…I just read a review of this book that have given it a relatively good rating. And the love triangle didn't bother them as well. I said, thanks, but no thanks. But now, I might just give this one a chance. I'm just worried it's going to induce raaaaaage of epic proportion. I really do despise love triangles. :/
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  14. Well Jeann, I'm so happy to hear you loved this one! I've seen some mixed reviews from some of my most trusted bloggers but it seems that so far the very positive ones are winning, so I think I'll be moving it soon from the wish list to the TBR pile!

    I love the idea of parallel worlds and having parents and family play a big part on the story is something not usual, so I love that!

    Great review!
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    • I have seen mixed reviews as well but I can say with surety that I did really love this one! It was so refreshing to read, especially after a bunch of disappointing reads. Glad to hear you'll be moving it into your TBR sometime. The parallel worlds was fantastic!

  15. SO GLAD TO FINALLY SEE SUCH A POSITIVE REVIEW FOR THIS ONE. I've seen that quite a few bloggers have been disappointed from this one because of its focus on the romance side of things — but I'm still really looking forward to it. Also from what you've said of it, it sounds pretty bearable. 🙂 (And it also helps that this book has SUCH an amazing cover.)
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    • I know, I'm so glad to have thoroughly enjoyed the book cos I was getting worried about the negative reviews as well! The romance wasn't too bad, after all I've read worse and the love triangle had a clear front runner. It was amazing Kara, I hope you do enjoy it!

  16. OH MY GOSH THIS MAKES ME FLAIL!! 5 stars?! Whhhhere is this book, I need it in my life. I've seen a lot of reviews for it…most more "meh" style. But I have to admit, I'm 1000% intrigued. Dimensions have to be done SO well. And there's a love-triangle but it's well written? Oh huzzah for this fabulous book. I need it. *trots off to goodreads*
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    • YAY I am so glad you are flailing Cait! it was fantastic. SO good with the alternate realities and the different dimensions, and I did like the characters as well. So glad you're gonna check it out!