A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray is a YA sci-fi mystery in which teenager Marguerite Caine must use technology developed by her parents, the Firebird, to chase her father’s murderer across multiple dimensions. She finds out that things aren’t as they first seemed.
I picked this book up partly because of this concept and partly because I’ve enjoyed books (Star Wars) by Claudia Gray. Thanks to Amazon’s Whispersync for Voice I picked up both the Kindle book and the audiobook, narrated by Tavia Gilbert. Most of the time I listened to the audiobook which was amazing.
What I liked
The concept. I found this a really intriguing premise for a novel, moving into alternate dimensions to solve a murder mystery. Gray comes from a sci-fi background and clearly has a firm handle on it. It was a lot of fun when Marguerite jumped into a new dimension trying to work out what situation she was in! I’m not certain that I’d agree with the Orphan Black comparison; the main – only? – similarity is that characters frequently find themselves having to impersonate other people and to think on their feet to work out what’s going on.
The audio narration. Tavia Gilbert did an awesome job of narrating this book. Her accent work was impeccable. There’s a funny scene early on where Marguerite has fun with her current doppelganger’s accent. That came across really well in audio format. My one frustration with this is that often the accent “spoiled” in some way the leaps into new dimensions. From the voices it was often clear where Marguerite had landed long before it was revealed in the text.
The worldbuilding. The fun thing with this concept is that Gray gets to build several worlds; the multiple alternate dimensions into which Marguerite leaps. It would be too spoilery to name them all, but each of them is beautifully developed with supporting characters, rules and challenges for our protagonist. The fact that Gray’s travel system has limitations was particularly well done – as in fantasy, often it’s the limitations in the magic system/technology which can generate the most interesting conflicts for the characters. I loved that the dimensions had varying degrees of technological advancement which made things interesting.
The pacing. Gray keeps the plot moving along fast, with new information and revelations keeping our protagonists – and readers – engaged.
What I didn’t like
The characters. I found Marguerite somewhat bland. The way her loyalty seemed to be so easily won and lost did not sit easily with me, and the revelations of the villains was a little too obvious. The fact that Gray reverted to the trope of “the special”, our protagonist having unique traits which make her the only person capable of foiling the evil plot is rather disappointing.
Despite these flaws, I really loved 1000 Pieces of You and gave it four and a half stars out of five. I will certainly be picking up the sequel soon.