Book Review: Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Gray

 

This is the second book in Gray’s Firebird series. It picks up close to where A Thousand Pieces of You ended, with a small but meaningful gap which gets filled in via flashbacks at an appropriate pace. Now, Wyatt Conley holds power over both Paul and Theo’s lives as well as the comfort of Marguerite’s family. Marguerite’s journey is, not surprisingly, initiated by blackmail and devotion. She must fulfill a series of objectionable tasks for Conley in order to save those she loves. Along the way, she contemplates and discovers philosophical theories about life in the multiverse and the implications actions in one reality have on others. As she meets varying versions of herself and those around her, Marguerite must come to terms with the revelation of some darker possibilities and uncovers an inter-dimensional conspiracy even more twisted than what she already has discovered regarding the world-domination-bound company Triad.

Ten Thousand Skies Above You is a book like no other. The premise continues to intrigue, and Gray does a good job of probing the theoretical questions which arise from such a situation. However, the plot and science fiction elements tend to become lost in the overly sappy romantic side of the story. True, Marguerite’s relationship with Paul and everyone else in her life has a major impact on each of her choices and practically guides her each step of the way. However, it becomes overbearing at times. There is an overwhelming layer of emotional baggage and interpersonal tension present in many of the key scenes, drawing away from an even more thorough consideration of the world. Gray does a beyond adequate job of explaining some philosophical and metaphysical elements of multiverse theory, but she also lays on thick the romantic elements, and this to an extravagant extent. Marguerite continues to make decisions counter to everything I would personally decide in the given situation, but she is not so illogical as to be obnoxious; this is an improvement from how I saw her character in the first Firebird book.

I enjoyed Ten Thousand Skies Above You and will continue to read the series (it is worth mentioning here that Gray is a master of cliffhanger endings, and has set up the next book very well in the final chapter). However, this is not a series I would recommend to a lot of people. There is a very particular audience who I feel would enjoy the Firebird series; it is thoroughly science fiction but also definitely young adult romance taken to a pretty cheesy extreme. If those are both genres that you enjoy, then by all means check it out. If either of those has you wary, though, this would probably not be a great book for you.

Happy {Summer} Reading!

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