Author: Claudia Gray
Series: Firebird #2
Rating: 3 / 5 stars
Considering the fact that the plot of this novel revolves around finding the parts of Paul’s soul that have been scattered across the dimensions, I am inclined to say that the name of the first book in this series, A Thousand Pieces of You, is a much more suitable title for this novel. This title makes little sense, even if I did catch in the novel where the reference comes from.
But I realize that is neither here nor there. At least the cover is still beautiful, though we only spend about 50% of the time in Paris and San Francisco combined, if even. Meg, along with her trusty sidekick Theo (the real Theo this time, not the evil one working for The Man) trudge through the multiverse, trying to collect the pieces of Paul’s soul while sabotaging the Firebird work in the other universes. It is surprising, I will admit, but I actually enjoy this novel more than its predecessor. I was not even going to continue this series, but got it from the library on a whim and now here we are.
One of the things I really enjoy in this novel is the exploration of the assumption of destiny and true love from the first novel. In A Thousand Pieces of You, Meg and Paul come to the conclusion that they are destined to be together in every single version of the multiverse out there, that they are soulmates and that each and every version of themselves belongs together. Now I realize I’m not a hopeless romantic and that I’m scientifically inclined, so perhaps my opinion is not the popular one, but I think all of that is kind of BS. I don’t even believe in soul mates in one universe, let alone all of them. So I like how in this novel Meg has to face the possibility that perhaps they were wrong, and what that could mean for her.
I still think the romance is a little heavy in this series, and while I like Theo (the real Theo, not the evil one from the first novel) I am not a big fan of this love triangle going on. It’s just so messy and it doesn’t feel very organic since Gray pushes Meg and Paul from the beginning, only to sloppily toss Theo back in here and there.
Another thing I like in this novel is how Gray at least attempts to explain the fundamental issue I have with the first novel – why go through all the trouble to blackmail Meg to do his bidding when Mr. Evil can simply send as many other people into the multiverses with the Firebird as he wishes? Though I’m not sure I’m completely sold on the explanation, I do like that Gray at least revisits it. Of course, this brings us to the big twist towards the end, and I think that’s what bumped this novel down to a 3 / 5 for me instead of a 3.5. Again, I like how it plays into the theme in this novel that perhaps not every version of a person in the same in every universe, but the whole last 75 – 100 pages just feels like a completely different tangent than the theme of the series so far, and I’m not really invested in the reasoning behind all these extreme measures that Mr. Evil has been employing since Day One.
Considering that Ten Thousand Skies Above You is a step up from A Thousand Pieces of You, even if it still falters here and there, and coupled with the fact that it ends on a cliffhanger, even though it is a highly predictable one, I will probably pick up the next novel in the series. I have a haunting suspicion this series will be a trilogy, and I think I can stomach one more novel of the Meg/Paul junk to see how this power struggle across the multiverses plays out. Hopefully Gray won’t backslide.