Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Book Review: A Thousand Pieces Of You by Claudia Gray (Spoilers)

Okay. Hands up for who absolutely adores the cover! *Puts hand up.*

A Thousand Pieces of You is a beautiful novel that holds some unique gems, but also some shortfalls.
To rehash, the novel follows protagonist Marguerite Caine as she crosses multiple dimensions to avenge the death of her father. The main elements centre around love and trust, betrayal and a huge focus on science without any of the confusing language specific to the subject.
So, it's a story of vengeance. Right?
 Wrong. Mostly, at least. What commences as an action-filled beginning promising intrigue and jumping between dimensions quickly turns to a small, almost insignificant point raised in the blurb of the novel: 'Marguerite is swept into an epic love affair that feels both dangerous and inevitable…'
Such a tiny sentence in a scientifically swamped novel and yet it holds so much of the plot.
Now, don't get me wrong. I love a bit of romance, hence why it's my favourite genre to write alongside Y.A. and sci-fi but the simple fact of the matter is that it is frustrating how misleading the blurb is in terms of the level of romantic content. A bit more of a warning next time, please?
In all I really enjoyed the book. I love the idea of the steampunk-like (or at least that's how I imagine it to be) Firebird device and on the subject of romance, I absolutely swooned when she and Paul spoke about fate. I'm not as sure about how I feel about the whole sexual intercourse when in Russia, what with the ethical and moral issues, but hey, that's where Meg and I differ.
As for the plot twists, I'm not sure whether it's because I'm a writer myself or just in general but I personally found it quite easy to tell who the villains are. It's pretty clear almost from the very beginning that Paul isn't the culprit because that would just be too predictable in itself. Personally, I would have chosen either one of the parents. I would have given them a hidden agenda and disappeared for personal gain. Yet I love the parents the way they are. We don't really see much of Kovalenka but Caine is obviously an amazing father. Yet I still think he needs a few more flaws to make him more realistic.
On the upside, overall I feel satisfied at the conclusion of the novel and that I could be happy to put the book aside if I so felt that I just wanted a single read. It ties up with just enough loose ends to make it a good read either on its own or in a trilogy. 
The character development is spot on for Meg, complete with the good and bad. Personally I felt a little bit frustrated about how she acts when it comes to love interests. She seems to throw herself toward any guy that will have her pretty much. I really, truly dislike this element and is alongside the misleading blurb part of the things that I hated about this book.
I felt as though Meg can overcome this though and perhaps that is just a part of being a teenager. I remember being in her shoes, feeling that kind of desperation to be loved and have a stable relationship to rely on, that I kind of understand Meg's situation. I suppose that is why I hate it so much, that situation and her reactions to it because they were so similar to my own when I was younger. And now that I have a loving boyfriend of almost 3 years, I'm able to reflect and see how naive I was, and how that is reflected in Meg's character. I love that she is willing to sacrifice her return to her home dimension though for those she loves. That, she and I agree on.
Paul I imagine to be that tall, lanky guy with a ton of muscle that isn't too big to look bulky. I loved Paul as a character and don't get me wrong, he's completely swoon-worthy, but overall I felt as though he's based on the appearance of a Calvin Klein model. It's a difficult thing to think, to be against the stereotypical idea of what a female finds appealing in a character love interest. I love the stereotype but on the downside, it means that males are placed in that fictitious role, that need to look perfect. But enough about looks. I don't think I'm even describing my thoughts right.
On the emotional side, I love the mysteriousness of Paul. He's sweet and quiet. Maybe not everyone's cup of tea but I personally loved it. Especially his thoughts on fate. It's no surprise that I'm definitely on team Paul!
On the other hand, we have Theo. I enjoy Theo's antics and the fact that he isn't stereotypically tall, dark and handsome but rugged in a realistic way is something that I find appealing in Theo's character that appears to lack in Paul's. He's a typical high school flirt but with that sweet, caring side shining through in a way that takes away from the stereotypical glare. Yet the fact that he's involved with Triad in the way that he is by the conclusion of the novel makes me uneasy about his character. I saw it coming from a mile away and still hoped that it wasn't him. I was glad, though, that it wasn't Meg's Theo that did the betrayal.
Finally, to wrap this all up I give the novel a 4/5 stars in total. The cover was amazing, the characters mostly thought through and the world building was spectacular. I look forward to reading the next instalment and recommend this read to anyone that loves Y.A. sci-fi romance.

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