(Author: Claudia Gray) + (Year: 2015) + (Goodreads)
*** 3.5 stars ***
I read the first book of this series last year: A Thousand Pieces of You. I admit, I was pleasantly surprised. Then coming to this second installment, I did not know how to feel. Yes, sure, the first book offered good grounds for a second one, but series often tend to disappoint. And proof to the fact is that I was disappointed by Ten Thousand Skies Above You.
The simplest explanation is that I just couldn’t get into it. Something felt off the entire time. Blah-blah-blah-splintered-souls-blah-blah-I’m-the-perfect-traveler-blah-blah-Paul-Paul-Paul-Theo? That is honestly the best summary I can give you. The thing is, and I wrote about this last time, too, no matter how they try to sell you the Firebird series, ultimately it is a romance. If you have come searching for sci-fi, you will not get it, most of all, because the main character and narrator, Marguerite, simply has no idea what is happening. She does not understand the scientific part of the Firebird project, she only knows that she is perfect and she will mention it in every chapter, lest you forget.
Also, there is romance and there is sappy-soulmates-forever-you-are-my-destiny romance. This is the latter. It was not as obvious in the first novel because they were still setting the grounds for this. But I cannot tell you how many times in Ten Thousand Skies Above You Marguerite managed to decide that destiny and fate exist, that there is such a thing as soulmates and that Paul is hers… but is he? Every couple of chapters she would have the same inner monologue and present it like it is the first time the reader has to read this boring mutterings of an annoying artsy-fartsy high-schooler who thinks she is the smartest person to ever live. She isn’t. I think that even the author got fed up with her by the end of the book:
“Then I realize how stupid we’ve been not to guess that another dimension was in on it…(I will skip some of the spoilers here). We should have known that from the beginning. Because Triad means three.”
And not long after:
“Romola gives me an odd look. “The name of the company has nothing to do with dimensions. How could it?”
Hahahahaah. Oh, Romola, give her a break, she thought she is brilliant.
Basically it was Marguerite that annoyed me the most in this book. She was very childish, indecisive and over-praised. Actual serious events were dismissed while tiny details were blown out of proportion for the sake of her tantrums. Nah.
What I did like about the book was the setting and Claudia Gray’s creativity when it comes to world building. I enjoyed exploring the dimensions, despite the fact that I had no warm feelings toward the narrator. I found the small differences, the big ones, the giant ones, very interesting to follow, even though they raised some questions for me.
For example, one can see how a world could be just slightly different, instead of tPhone there would be an iPhone and so on. But how do you logically assume that at the same time, let’s say 2016, there would be a dimension where people would still be living in conditions similar to the Roman empire. I am not challenging the book as much as asking a legitimate question. Which or how many events would have had to happen differently in order for the Roman empire to not only survive 100 or 200 years more, but two thousand years more?