A Thousand Pieces of You has everything going for it. The cover is one of the most gorgeous pieces of art that I’ve ever seen – I wanted to read the book long before I knew what it was about. What’s inside the book matches the beauty of its cover – A Thousand Pieces is a modern masterpiece of plot and character, a novel that sets its sights on a lofty goal and absolutely nails every aspect it possibly could.
The concept is simple, but in practice, could have been difficult to realize. The youngest daughter of two brilliant physicists must travel to a parallel universe to avenge her father’s death – the summary alone should give you an idea of what Claudia Gray wanted to achieve. Even in the realms of science-fiction, it’s understood that alternate dimensions is one of the hardest plots to write – but in all the areas where A Thousand Pieces could have stumbled, it performed perfectly.
At the heart of it, A Thousand Pieces is about love in all its forms. The love between two teenagers; the love between parent and child; the love between two friends that is as strong as any blood bond. And A Thousand Pieces is also about fate: the concept that, no matter what, no matter how many permutations of the world may exist, some people will always be brought together, and some things can never be changed.
Claudia Gray doesn’t hold back – she immediately drops our main character into the thick of the action, with bold descriptions and a clear narrative. In the initial chapters, some cleverly-placed flashbacks reveal more about our characters and their pasts, starting with the most basic facts and slowly layering the nuances of their individual relationships. The main character – Marguerite – is believable and real, and I never once questioned her emotions or her judgements.
The reader is taken through multiple parallel universes — futuristic London, 19th century Russia, a slightly different ‘home’ world, a completely submerged world from Climate Change; and finally the ‘regular’ home world where Marguerite belongs to. These are all described perfectly, and the reader never feels lost or confused – but the worlds also feel incredibly real. There are similarities and differences, and the characters are very similar to their counterparts, but still maintain a subtle uniqueness to them.
A Thousand Pieces was once described to me as a ‘SF Romance’ – but that isn’t everything. There is a greater complexity here. Where other authors might have been content with a simple romance, Gray decided to tackle a corporate conspiracy and an overarching plot of inter-dimensional spies. Then there’s the layered plot of deception and betrayal, letting the reader think they know everything, and then ripping the rug from beneath their feet. And this is all handled with a grace and ease that I’ve never seen before.
There is a single, powerful take-away from A Thousand Pieces – love can conquer all boundaries, even dimensional ones. If you haven’t read A Thousand Pieces yet, you should make reading this your utmost priority; and if you’ve already experienced this crazy emotional roller-coaster, then you’ll know that all of my praise is well-deserved.
Believable characters and relationships, well-thought-out laws of dimensional travel, and a gripping corporate conspiracy.
I can’t fault this book.
A masterpiece of plot, character, and narrative. Proof that love can conquer all challenges – even across parallel universes.