A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi, Adventure
Published: 4 November 2014
I always find it hard to talk about books that I give 3 stars to. Anything below that and I’m happy to dive into a blow by blow account of why I disliked it so much, and anything above sends me into a never-ending fangirl babble. But the middle is just like meh.
It was ok. It wasn’t bad. But it wasn’t particularly great.
My annoyance with this book is that it had potential. The multiverse theme presented a colossal opportunity for a sci-fi novel. It could have been grand, it could have been deep, it could have made me ponder the meaning of life.
Could have, could have, could have.
I saw glimpses of that potential a few times in the book; when Marguerite describes her parent’s relationship with Paul and Theo, when she is in Russia, and at the very end, when the pieces of the puzzle fall together. They were, however, all just glimpses; crosses on a treasure map that mark the location of the treasure, but the author never goes out and digs the treasure out.
The writing really let this book down. It was plain, simple and unremarkable.
I felt absolutely nothing for the main character Marguerite; I didn’t feel her grief for her father dieing, I didn’t feel her inner conflict about whether she loved Paul or Theo, I didn’t feel her amazement or wonder at being able to travel through different dimensions. She had aspects of depth to her personality but it fell short of creating a truly believable character. The love triangle was also a huge let down, there was just zero chemistry between Marguerite and Theo, and Marguerite and Paul. And too many times the plot was just not believable. Marguerite makes a decision to jump to another dimension in all but 10 seconds. There was no explanation of how this would work, she didn’t question how her and Theo would find each other once they’re there, she didn’t consider telling her family or leaving a note, she didn’t care that it could go wrong and she could die. And all the explanations that came later were just too simple – and I don’t mean a good simple either – I mean a plain 5th grader simple explanation that just didn’t cut it.
“When people travel through dimensions.” he said, staring down at the prototypes, “they leave traces. Subatomic – okay, I’m gonna cut to the chase. The point is, I can go after Paul.”
Come on – that is just plain lazy writing! I’m not going to believe your world if you can’t be bothered explaining it!!!
I think it’s unfortunate that YA authors too often really take the whole YA target audience literally and write how a 17-year-old-reader would write. One of the things that made the Harry Potter books so successful is that J K Rowling wrote using language and concepts well advanced for her target audience of children. This book does not do that. It’s written from a first person POV (which is typical YA) where it literally feels like you’re reading, what the author deems, a typical 17-year-old girl’s diary. Not a fan. To be honest I found 14-year-old Anne Frank’s writing more compelling than this.
So in summary this book was ok. It had a good idea, an interesting concept and a few good twists and turns. But the writing was unremarkable, boring and the characters lacked depth. I have no intention of reading the second book in the series.