Friday, June 26, 2015

A Thousand Pieces of You // Claudia Gray

A few weeks ago I checked out 9 books from the library.
Book Haul from the Library
One of them I felt guilty about... Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis. Mainly because I had already listened to it on Audiobook. The story goes that I got a free trial from Audible and ended up getting Stitching Snow there. I really didn't know what I was going to get from Audible and I wasn't exactly sure how long it was going to take my library (in the middle of nowhere Podunk Tennessee) to get such a new, exciting, YA, fantasy read. They are a little under funded (ok a lot under funded) and a little (ok a lot) under educated on good YA reads, but mostly underfunded.

Stiching Snow Audiobook









So that one I returned almost immediately. The cover though! It is gorgeous. And Mia Barron did a wonderful job with the narration. For the short and sweet of it, since this post is not about Stitching Snow, it is about a girl who is living out her life fighting in MMA style fights  and repairing drones. One day a spaceship falls out of the sky and she rushes to help come to find out there is some crazy mess going on with her and this guy and her family. It's a twist on the classic Snow White story (in case you couldn't tell from the name and the cover) which is all the rage right now, and it is a wonderful read that keeps you up wondering what will happen next.
A Thousand Pieces of You Audiobook
 I think the point of the above tangent is to say that I haven't had much time to sit down and make it through those books. I spend about 45% of my day in my car though. I have about a 20 minute commute to my office and  45 minute commute to my territory and then back again. Audiobooks have become my best friend, and here is the thing. I used to hate audiobooks. I used to think that there was no way I wanted to listen to someone else read a book. I remember the first time I ever got a real audiobook, it was Foundation by Mercedes Lackey, one of my favorite authors of all time in case you didn't know, and that was the first one I ever listened to all the way though. I really enjoyed it. I guess I kind of had this crazy thought that audiobooks were for people who were too lazy or to old to read the real thing, and sometimes I still feel like I am cheating on the printed word! (I also said I would never own an E-reader but boy is that a story for another day) Long story short when you spend half of your day in the car, audiobooks are your savior. I know that they have been mine.
That brings us to A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray. There are two things that I want to preface before we jump in. The first is that I have seen this book popping up all over Instagram and I have a major problem, I often assume that if it is something that everyone likes, I am not going to like it and therefore must boycott it. Which usually causes more problems in the long run.



For instance, I worked with this girl who I kind of thought was crazy and not nice. She was talking to me one night (I worked at Wal Mart and she was sharing the register next to me). She came up, pretty much out of the blue and says 'Hey, I think you will like this book.' And I was skeptical, even though I thought the cover was kind of cool so I say, 'Really? What's it about?' and she says, 'vampires, it's a love story.' I tune out immediately.
Against my parents expressed wishes, I had gone behind their backs and gotten involved in D&D. (Dungeons and Dragons) My parents who went through the 80's when people were actually killing each other over  that mess thought that I was going to commune with Satan if I played. (Facepalm) Let's see, I could hang out with my friends (who didn't drink, smoke, do drugs, or own guns) and write up some stuff about an elf and a talking tree or I could go to parties and get drunk like the rest of the people my age....... so I went. Turns out, it wasn't really for me. I'm too controlling, I want the story to go the way that I want it to go. Anyways, to get back to the point, I knew about Vampires, I also knew that my friends played another version of D&D that involved only Vampires. Outside of that my run ins with Vamps were limited to some Anime show I watched one time (an 80's or 90's one that I can't remember the name of Vampire Hunter D maybe? Or maybe a different one) and Bunnicula from when I was in the third grade. I wanted nothing to do with a stupid Vampire love story! No, I was much to sophisticated for that, I studied Shakespeare and had just finished reading Northwest Passage and Space Odyssey: 2001. I Little did I know how wrong I was. Fast forward a year or so and I saw the cover of Breaking Dawn in Books a Million, uggh vampires again? No thank you. Fast forward some more... Twilight is coming out in theaters and this girl who I really want to think that I'm cool is obsessed with Twilight... except she only read the first book.  So I'm like, ok I'll read it, because I can't see the movie without reading the book, right? Oh my lord what in the freaking crap has been wrong with me all this time. I read all four books in 3 days. I stayed home "sick" from class to read the book (please do not do this, I was incredibly stupid). So I learned a valuable lesson that I still have a hard time with, I am not better than anyone else, just because a lot of people like something doesn't mean that I won't. I think it is because my parents never got me a Tamagotchi as a kid, but again that is another story.
My other thing about A Thousand Pieces of You is that I really didn't think that I would like it. I'm not super into Contemporary YA Fiction so I really wasn't sure.
That's probably overthinking the situation though because what really happened was this. I was standing in my living room about to leave and make the 45 minute drive to my territory, I had nothing to listen to because it wasn't a Gilmore Guys podcast day and I didn't have any audiobooks. I was thinking about buying something via Whispersync with Kindle. (Which is the most amazing thing ever invented) but I decided to check my favorite app.
I know I mentioned this in an old post, but if you are knew here is the run down, in the U.S. ( I have no idea if this app is available in any other countries), if you have a library card (if you don't stop reading this and go get one immediately) you can go to your app store (again I know it's available for iOS) and download OverDrive. Then you sign up for an account using your library card number and you have access to your  library's (or your state's) entire collection of Ebooks and Audiobooks. It is amazing and awesome and it ranks up there with Whispersync. I went into the app, logged in, and selected YA, Audiobooks, and currently available. Three books caught my eye.
The first was Snow Like Ashes by Sarah Raasch, the second was Interworld by Neil Gaiman and Micheal Reaves, and the third was A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray. None of which were in my TBR pile, but they all seemed remotely interesting. I started with Snow Like Ashes... loved it. I wasn't as sure about InterWorld so I read it next... loved it. And then I went to A Thousand Pieces of You and was thrilled with my selections. My favorite of the three was Snow Like Ashes, but the most crazy thing was that InterWorld and A Thousand Pieces of You are both about multidimensional universes and travel between them. Both books and authors approach the subject from different angles but there are some similarities.  InterWorld is more about people who can walk between worlds and about a balance between magical and scientific worlds. One major difference is that InterWorld is governed by a consciousness and ATPOY is not. In InterWorld, a decision to wear a red sweater and not a green one is not going to create an alternate dimension, unless the decision to wear a red sweater maybe gets you killed by a raging bull or something. Also, the only cross dimensional travelers that can 'walk'  (or travel between dimensions without magic or scientific advances) are all versions of the same person. In A Thousand Pieces of You, they are able to travel because Margaret's mother and father are brilliant scientist who invented a way to travel between dimensions called the FireBird.
I loved this book. There was enough blend of Contemporary, YA, Sci-Fi, Mystery, and Romance to have me turning it on in the middle of the night when I couldn't sleep. The story is about this girl, Margaret, and her family who are genius scientist and their two research assistants. Just as Margaret's (pronounced Mar-ga-reet like Margarita)  parents have perfected the tech, the Firebirds, one of the research assistants Paul ruins the data and escapes with the device, killing Margaret's father in the process. Theo has saved two of the devices and Margaret and Theo use them to follow Paul and hunt him down.
Claudia Gray is brilliant. I cannot say that enough. She has enough science jargon that you really believe in the cross dimensional travel. She makes it seem logical and probable, and maybe it is (heck Google has self-driving cars now...when can I get one of those?). She takes us into worlds that are more advanced than ours and worlds that are on the brink of industrial revolution. She keeps the reader guessing about the details of what is really going on and throws some fun and surprising twist into the mix. I think that this book is perfect for almost anyone, whether you want the romance or the mystery, if you can expand your mind and keep up with the science I say that this book is for you.
It also touches on some important issues of climate change, social behavior, and ethical behavior that I think are important to take a book from good to great. A book that does not challenge us and make us think, are fun to read and certainly anything we read expands our minds, but reading something that brings these issues to the forefront and makes us think separates what is exceptional writing and what is good writing. There are also some wonderful ideas about love, loss, and family and about whether fate is a concept that truly exist or if it is all just coincidence. Are the same people drawn to each other again and again and are we the same people or is it our circumstances that make us into who we are?
I give this book a 9 out of 10. The more I think about it the more I am amazed by all the ideas that she managed to put into this book without me even realizing it. I look forward to reading more by Claudia Gray in the future.

If you would like to purchase this book you can visit Claudia Gray's website: http://www.claudiagray.com/books/firebird-series/ and click any of the links at the bottom of the page.

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Want to preorder the sequel Ten Thousand Skies Above You? Check it our on Amazon:

See Ya Space Cowboy, Sometime Somewhere