Last October I read one of my favourite reads of 2015 and one of the best young adult novels ever, the stunning A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray; an incredibly rich and highly imaginative concept that single-handedly elevated the sci-fi genre within YA. I was absolutely mesmerised by this read and so impressed by the intricate details sprinkled throughout that made it so very excellent, and I was thrilled when exactly one year on from discovering this amazing novel I was given the privilege to read an advanced copy of the equally brilliant sequel, Ten Thousand Skies Above You.
The world-building within this series is incredibly exciting and innovative, however it's also complicated trying to summarise it within a few sentences for readers who don't have any prior knowledge. Therefore, I REALLY recommend reading the series in the correct order to fully understand the intricate details that makes this the most exciting YA sci-fi series I've read yet.
Marguerite's parents are scientists who have created Firebirds, with which they're able to travel to other dimensions. Sometimes these other worlds are just slightly different from the one they know and other times they are almost unrecognisable. The one constant being that travellers end up temporarily taking over the bodies of their other versions in the alternate universes and many of the people in their lives are the same ones in all 'verses. The immense opportunities within inter-dimensional travel were established in the first novel, and so were some of the risks – particularly for frequent travellers who aren't 'perfect' travellers like protagonist Marguerite, and everyone who gets in the way of the power-hungry head of Triad who is trying to control travel between all the universes: Wyatt Conley.
After discovering at the end of the first novel that Paul was in fact one of the good guys, it didn't take long for Marguerite to fall head over heels in love with her parents' assistant. But just when everything seems to become a happily ever after and their group of allies is ready to take on Triad, Ten Thousand Skies Above You rips Paul from them once more in the worst possible way. His soul is splintered across multiple universes and Marguerite is forced to do Conley and Triad's bidding: travelling to a host of new universes to sabotage the Firebird projects in each one of them so none can get ahead of the progress Conley has made in the Triadverse.
This book you guys, it was absolutely mind-blowing! In a time where popular reads such as Gone Girl have made the word 'twist' repetitive in reviews, I try to stray from this as much as possible but there really is no other way to describe the incredible revelations made within this novel which catapults it to something even more amazing than the first part in the series. Not only do we learn a heck of a lot more about the diverse universes out there (each leap to a new world is so exciting!), Wyatt Conley and Triad (some really surprising discoveries there), but there is also an ingenious subtle few comments about Marguerite's own universe that turns everything you thought you knew about it completely upside down. It is incredible and I am in awe with Claudia Gray's meticulously plotted story, which is not only highly inventive but so skillfully unraveled as well.
I am gutted that I will have to wait another year before I can completely loose myself in this imaginative world once more. I will undoubtedly reread A Thousand Pieces of You and Ten Thousand Skies Above You before then and pick up on some intriguing details I may have missed the first time around, but there is nothing quite like reading these books for the very first time, my jaw hitting the floor as I am trying to comprehend the astonishing way the story and the multiverse is expanding.
I don't think I'll read another young adult sci-fi series that will impress me quite as much as this one does. It is so original and carefully put together that at times the amazing revelations almost took my breath away. This is one of those rare occasions I feel the need to create the option of giving a book 6 out of 5 stars, because it doesn't deserve anything less. Thank you Claudia Gray for creating such an imaginative and highly detailed story and sharing it with us. Gems like these is what makes reading books and losing myself in imaginary worlds such an utter joy.
Many thanks to the publisher for an advance copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.
The novel is published on 3 December 2015 in the UK and you can pre-order the novel from Foyles or your own preferred retailer now.
About Claudia Gray