Review: Ten Thousand Skies Above You -Claudia Gray

17234659Title: Ten Thousand Skies Above You (Firebird #2)

Author: Claudia Gray (Twitter) (site)

Publisher//Date: HarperTeen//November 3, 2015

Genre: YA, Science Fiction

Source: Purchased

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 Synopsis: Ten thousand worlds. Ten thousand enemies. One love.

Marguerite Caine has done the impossible, traveling to alternate dimensions with the Firebird—the brilliant invention of her parents, her boyfriend, Paul, and their friend Theo. But she has also caught the attention of enemies willing to kidnap, blackmail, and even kill to use the Firebird for themselves.

When Paul’s soul is splintered into four pieces—pieces that are trapped within Pauls in other dimensions—Marguerite will do anything, and travel anywhere, to save him. But the price of his safe return is steep. If she doesn’t sabotage her parents in multiple universes, Paul will be lost forever.

Unwilling to sacrifice her family, Marguerite enlists the brilliant Theo to help. The two forge a plan to save Paul and the Firebird, but succeeding means outsmarting a genius and risking not only their lives but also the lives of their counterparts in every other dimension.

Their mission takes them to the most dangerous universes yet: a war-torn San Francisco, the criminal underworld of New York City, and a glittering Paris where another Marguerite hides a shocking secret. Each leap brings Marguerite closer to saving Paul—but her journey reveals dark truths that lead her to doubt the one constant she’s found between worlds: their love for each other.

 Rating: 4/5

I read the first book in the series earlier this year  – you can find the review here – and I went out and got the sequel before I had even finished the first one. I was kind of worried that we’d go into “middle book” here, but was far as middle books go, this is one of the good ones.

Let’s Break It Down:

What I Liked:

  • The Raised Stakes. Everything is so much bigger and more dangerous than in the first book, if that’s even possible. The how’s and why’s of the Multiverse are discussed. The fates of characters – and entire worlds – are on the line. Conley’s true intentions are finally brought to light, The dimensions are more dangerous,  and a real sense of what is going to happen in A Million Worlds With You (the last book in the trilogy, released on Tuesday). Also, we get a first-hand look at what happens to your other selves when you’re in control of their actions – and the consequences they deal with when you leave.
  • The New Dimensions. Like I said, they’re more dangerous, but they’re also a hell of a lot more interesting.  They also give a chance to delve a little bit deeper into the characters – if you buy into the theory that all versions of a particular person are part of one giant whole – and it gives exciting twists to the characters, particularly Paul and Conley. I think my favorite was the Warverse – it’s got a very 1940s/WWII vibe I really enjoyed – but they’re all fascinating, and one world in particular went to a location that made me scream with nerdy joy. Completely unrelated, but Warverse, in my head is all in black and white and cemented my need for this to be a TV Show.
  • The Sex Positivity of the Book (and series as a whole). This was something I noticed in the first book and had it as a footnote and didn’t put into my review but I couldn’t skip it here. I loved the way that Marguerite’s parents reacted to the reality that their daughter is going to (eventually) have sex with her boyfriend and openly discuss birth control around her. I guess I’m used to opposite in YA (the “we must hide our sexy-times from all adults” or they just have sex and it is never discussed…but maybe it’s a little old-school now?) that it surprised me. There’s also a quote about having a child with someone and what changes that really hit me, because I can think of plenty of people who could have used that exact same advice in their lives.

What I Didn’t Like:

  • The Extension of the Love Triangle. The potential for a love-triangle was firmly squashed at the end of book one, right? Ehhhhhhh maybe. Some of that is thrown into doubt when the dimension-hopping starts and I found it needless. I understand why it was done, and I whole-heartedly approve of the result, but to have it right off the bat is ever so slightly disconcerting when you go into the book feeling like it’s been resolved. Because I adore the collective relationship between Marguerite, Paul and Theo and I feel like it hurts that when the triangle is shoved into the middle. This is my main reason for dropping it down a star.
  • The Ending. This is another one of those personal opinion things that I always have. I don’t know how I feel about the ending. It’s definitely a cliffhanger and it’s the kind of cliffhanger that, if it was done on, say, a TV show, would fill me with a great deal of anxiety and worry and a general sense of dread because I don’t know if I like it or like what’s going to happen because of it. But with books, I skip all the anxiety and just go to the “mehhhhhhhh” of it all. I think it’s my dislike of sudden change and all ideas of what you thought were going to happen are thrown out the window.

All in all, Ten Thousand Skies Above You is a great follow-up and “middle book” of a trilogy – if we could have just left out the damn love triangle.

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