Love in the Multiverse || A Thousand Pieces of You Review

Initial Thoughts: 

Well this was cute.


A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU

by Claudia Gray
Harper Teen, November 2014
Science fiction, young adult, romance
Rated: 3 / 5 cookies

Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their groundbreaking achievements. Their most astonishing invention, called the Firebird, allows users to jump into multiple universes—and promises to revolutionize science forever. But then Marguerite’s father is murdered, and the killer—her parent’s handsome, enigmatic assistant Paul— escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite refuses to let the man who destroyed her family go free. So she races after Paul through different universes, always leaping into another version of herself. But she also meets alternate versions of the people she knows—including Paul, whose life entangles with hers in increasingly familiar ways. Before long she begins to question Paul’s guilt—as well as her own heart. And soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is far more sinister than she expected.

That cover though

Okay, so can we talk about the cover just a wee bit? Because how could anyone not talk about the gorgeousness of it? Seriously, I would have picked it up out of a bookstore just because of the colors alone. That said, yes, this is definitely me judging the book by its cover, and normally I let the premise and the title take me along the ride. But this? Claudia Gray was blessed with the cover gods.

Now that that’s over with…

Dammit, romance

Again, this is probably another case where I didn’t read the book jacket summary in its entirety, and most of what I’d known about this book was that it dealt with the multiverse. And, honestly, I already said “hell yes” to the fact that this book has a multiverse.

So…kind of like Dark Matter right? Except for young adults and a less complicated explanation of how the multiverse works?

Well…ah, who was I kidding. It’s a young adult book, so it reads like a young adult book, with young adult problems.

Let’s backtrack a bit before I start raving about things first. Marguerite Caine is the daughter of two famous and brilliant scientists. In her world, she is sort of the black sheep of the family–while her brain isn’t completely out of left field, Marguerite chose to follow the artistic route rather than her family’s scientific calling. Hard to imagine, considering her parents are the inventors of the Firebird, a multi-dimensional traveling device that becomes the focal point–and the plot-mover–of the book.

The book itself opens up rather well, to be honest. It starts out with enough action and contemplation to get me interested. Heck, when Marguerite spends most of the first chapter filled with hate and planning to kill some guy named Paul, I was like, “DO TELL, MARGUERITE. WHY YOU MURDEROUS?”

Honestly, Marguerite’s resolve to kill Paul made me wish she’d gone through it like Uma did. Just saying.

So Marguerite–with the help of Theo, her-other-love-interest-but-that-is-honestly-mostly-arbitrary-because-seriously-nothing-comes-out-of-it-at-all–travels several parallel dimensions in search of Paul in order to exact vengeance for a murder he supposedly committed. Let’s all just blatantly trust our narrator, because of course she’s got all the facts and information, the logically, scientifically-minded girl that she is. Oh, wait, she doesn’t have all the facts. But nevermind because this being a YA, the guy she’s chasing will probably managed to be the same guy she’s going to fall in love with. I mean, the title is A Thousand Pieces of You. If that’s not romantic, I don’t know what is.

Which brings me to the brass tacks. This book is predominantly a romance. Yes, it has a wonderful backdrop and several worlds that I could see expanded rather well in future installments. Yes, it has an awesome plot-driven premise that boils down into some crazy conspiracy that is much bigger than I’d imagined. But also yes, it’s a romance with a love triangle. A frelling. Love. Triangle. Not only is it a love triangle, but both guys were pretty much the same archetype of a typical romantic interest: geeky, hot, intense, and overprotective. The only difference between Theo and Paul are that one’s more sociable than the other and one’s just a wee bit smarter.

Sigh.

It didn’t help that Marguerite was probably the least interesting character to me. Sophia would have been a great POV. Katya would have been a great POV. Josie would have been a great POV. Instead, the perspective fell on a girl who just happened to become a special snowflake due to circumstance (BECAUSE SHE DOES BECOME A SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE). Instead, we get someone–whose sole reason for multi-dimensional travel is vengeance–who gets sidetracked because she fell in love with the guy she’s been chasing. I mean, Marguerite, seriously, remember the time when you adamantly believed Paul was a murderer? Yeah…

That being said, I will say I enjoyed the book. I had listened to the audiobook version of this book, which was fantastic because of the different accents performed by the narrator. I also particularly loved that the multiverses were varied and rather interesting in their changes. Claudia Gray gave not just one world, but several, and that in itself is worth a lot of kudos. My favorite dimension has got to be the Russian world, which took up a chunk of the book. A lot of the characters in this dimension got fleshed out, and I would definitely read a sequel that returns to this world later on. The love affair between Marguerite and Paul was certainly more palatable with Russian accents in tow, and I’m kind of glad for this (also, sue me, I have a weakness for my “the princess and the guardsman fall in love” trope).

All in all, A Thousand Pieces of You is not a book without its fair share of faults. The love story was predictable, and it gets cheesy from time to time. Marguerite as a character could have been better written. There were still a lot of questions I would have loved to have answers for, and the multidimensional travel explanations were definitely lackluster in comparison to another multiverse book I’d loved (Dark Matter).

But while the book had elements I didn’t like, I thought the story picked up quite a bit once the truth about the conspiracy was fully revealed. I ended up listening to the audiobook really quickly, I was never really bored, and I adored every single time Henry and Sophia were iterated in each dimension. I’d totally read the rest of the trilogy because I’d love to see more of these characters show up again.

3 out of 5 cookies! I’d recommend this book because cover, Russia, and multiverse. Yeah.


Have you read this book? What did you think?

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Mini Reviews: Interstellar Cinderella, She Captains

Because I’m all about women powah! From women mechanics in space to female crossdressing pirate captains, girls totally run the world. And thensome.

Have you read either of these books? What did you think?

Mini Reviews: Superman, Z

Back on my audiobook spree! Well, in this case, I’ve been listening to a lot of historical fiction, some of which were interesting, others were just meh. I should be getting back to more fantasy/scifi reviews at some point.

In any case, my small reviews are about this boy and this girl, and they’re both their own unique personalities.

Have you read either of these books? What did you think?

I Avoid Horror Stories…Except When I Don’t || Asylum Review

Initial Review: 

I feel like I’ve gotten more paranoid now after reading this book than before I went into it. A lot of this probably has to do with there being way too many characters that were too coincidentally linked with the asylum. And, like, seriously, who converts a dilapidated asylum into a dorm room. Just…I cannot. That said, at least the scare factor wasn’t as bad as I imagined. I’m not big on horror reads, but I’m also not big on horror, and yet I found myself getting desensitized after playing Until Dawn multiple times…So you crazy asylums can go suck it.

Still, you wouldn’t find me anywhere near one of those things.


ASYLUM

by Madeleine Roux
HarperTeen, August 2013
Horror, young adult
Rated: 3 / 5 cookies

For sixteen-year-old Dan Crawford, New Hampshire College Prep is more than a summer program—it’s a lifeline. An outcast at his high school, Dan is excited to finally make some friends in his last summer before college. But when he arrives at the program, Dan learns that his dorm for the summer used to be a sanatorium, more commonly known as an asylum. And not just any asylum—a last resort for the criminally insane.

As Dan and his new friends, Abby and Jordan, explore the hidden recesses of their creepy summer home, they soon discover it’s no coincidence that the three of them ended up here. Because the asylum holds the key to a terrifying past. And there are some secrets that refuse to stay buried.

The Short and Long of It

Normally I avoid horror stories. Sometimes it’s because I want to avoid the gorefest in some, but honestly it’s mostly because when I read horror, I tend to let my imagination get the better of me, and then I start worrying about the wee demon I am sure I have under my bed. And then that leads to thoughts about said demon being hungry and me running out of sacrifices to satiate it.

Whatever the case, horror isn’t my go-to for reading.

But I have tried to branch out. And while it’s not my typical faire, it randomly shows up on my reading list out of whim or initial curiosity. In this case, it was definitely the photographs and the book cover that brought me to reading Asylum.

The funny thing is Asylum puts two of the main reasons why I try to avoid these books: ghosts and asylums. All it really needed was a clown and I’d be scared out of my mind.

Unless the clown is this little fucker. In which case, I’d just think he’s an absolute troll.

The book has been compared to Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children so much that it is hard not to compare Asylum to the former, and honestly, I picked up the book because of Miss Peregrine, so…yeah. The pictures were just as intriguing, and I liked the idea of people telling a story with pictures included. Only, sometimes the pictures did throw me off, because Roux would be describing one thing, and then I look at the picture and oh, hey, I’m going: “But…the warden isn’t sitting down at the center, he’s standing! And the girl at the far right isn’t the one with the discombobulated head…I’m confused…” For the most part, though, the pictures added to the imagination, and it was a nice touch.

I liked the premise of the book. Dan Crawford goes to a summer program and his current home situation throws him into a dormitory that used to be a hospital for the insane. Not just any asylum, mind you, but one filled with terminally insane, homicidal folk with an equally terminally insane, homicidal warden at its head. Pulled by a need to investigate the mysterious pictures at the old warden’s restricted office, Dan becomes embroiled in some weird historical investigation where he finds out that the past can quite literally haunt you. Especially if your name’s Daniel Crawford.

Dan’s friends are also hoots and a half. Jordan was probably my favorite, but that’s mostly because if I was a character in the group, I’d be the scared math-geek with hermit-like coping mechanisms. But that’s assuming I’d make it that far into a program that has an insane asylum as its dormitory. I probably wouldn’t have even applied for the program to begin with. You wouldn’t see me anywhere near old hospitals–oh, wait, I sort of kind of work in one now. Oops?

What did annoy me was the weird progression that the story took. What became an interesting mystery and delving into people’s minds boiled down to a case of some not-so-mild possession. Not much was really explained by the end, and I’m still not sure how some people got possessed while others didn’t. And the random letters Dan kept getting in the story was never really fully explained. I mean, yeah, Dan made conjectures, but there wasn’t much basis in them, and I’m not sure that’s supposed to be left open because this is, after all, only the first of a trilogy.

There was also the fact that this is apparently meant to be a young adult book, though I didn’t really see much of that in the book. Yes, there’s a romance, and yes, the characters are your typical YA characters, but uh, there wasn’t much drama in that department. High school kids go to a college-like setting with college-like classes, and honestly, nobody romped behind closed doors in a dormitory? Ugh, what a bore.

All in all, though, it was a good story and a quick read. I wasn’t wowed by it, and I actually did prefer Miss Peregrine over this one, mostly because of the more fantastical, supernatural element, but I still liked the story and I’d probably pick up the next at some point.

3 out of 5 cookies!


Have you read this book? What did you think?