YA Book Reviews

Ten Thousand Skies Above You (Firebird #2) by Claudia Gray

Hey all, man, has this been a rough month for me. I’m kind of laughing about it now, but I was so bummed last week when I was all geared up to write like 10 reviews, and then I broke my glasses. I have astigmatism, so not having my special glasses to read and write with has sucked so much. Luckily I’ve got contacts that more or less work for me – as long as I’m not spending too much time staring at a screen or words on paper. They still give me a headache because the prescription my contacts have is not quite right. I’ve spent too much time putting this off, though, so…time to blog! 🙂

Note: This review contains spoilers for A Thousand Pieces of You and Ten Thousand Skies Above You. 

Ever since she used the Firebird, her parents’ invention, to cross into alternate dimensions, Marguerite has caught the attention of enemies who will do anything to force her into helping them dominate the multiverse—even hurting the people she loves. She resists until her boyfriend, Paul, is attacked and his consciousness scattered across multiple dimensions.

Marguerite has no choice but to search for each splinter of Paul’s soul. The hunt sends her racing through a war-torn San Francisco, the criminal underworld of New York City, and a glittering Paris where another Marguerite hides a shocking secret. Each world brings Marguerite one step closer to rescuing Paul. But with each trial she faces, she begins to question the destiny she thought they shared.

The second book in the Firebird trilogy, Ten Thousand Skies Above You features Claudia Gray’s lush, romantic language and smart, exciting action, and will have readers clamoring for the next book.

As you all saw from my review of A Thousand Pieces of You, the Firebird trilogy started off strong: independent and clever female MC, no love triangle, creative and unexplored aspect of time travel using surprisingly easy to understand scientific concepts, a refreshing fixture on family over romance, did I mention the lack of a love triangle? I was originally a little confused by the alternate persona thing (especially when it came to Theo), and the story did lag a bit around the alternative Russia dimension, but overall it was an interesting story, finely paced, and each character made the story engaging and full of life.

Ten Thousand Skies Above You fails to recreate the previously captivating dynamic on all of these levels. Starting with the introduction, we were thrown into the middle of the story without a solid explanation of how or why Marguerite was there (in an alternate dimension where witches and heretics were still burnt on a pyre.) To shed light on the situation, Gray spends a good 60 pages playing catch-up for the sake of the readers, with a special section dedicated to a monologue reminiscent of Scooby-Doo villains for Why the Bad Guy is Doing Bad Things. Cue more “in the recent past…” flashbacks to round out our confused entry into Marguerite Saves the World part 2.

“I know it’s been easy to lose sight of this lately, what with Triad treating you like the Holy Grail, but not everything is about you, okay?”  – Josie, telling it like it is

Marguerite is absolutely one of the worst parts of this book. After the events of ATPOY, her and Paul are finally reunited, head over heels in love, and now everything is back as it should be…until Theo gets too sick to survive, and Paul’s soul is splintered while trying to find the cure. Marguerite, in a blind haze of love, goes after him, completely ignoring all warnings by her parents about how bad of an idea this is. To make matters worse, Wyatt Conley is there with a sweet deal for dear Meg: I’ll give you the coordinates for where I put Paul’s splintered soul pieces if you work for me and sabotage your parents’ research across dimensions. Marguerite: “Yeah, sure, whatever! Give me the coordinates! I’ll figure out how to double cross you as I go!”

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Needless to say, everything about this is a terrible idea. Personally, the complete and total betrayal of her parents and their goals might have been the kicker if it weren’t for the fact that Marguerite feels no remorse for this at all. I really would not have had a problem with it if she had actually weighed her options, or thought about anyone besides herself ever. She has at least one moment where she realizes just how selfish and thoughtless she’s been, but honestly it only made me more upset with her for being such an idiot in the first place, and it still has nothing to do with how much she’s screwed over her parents.

“How smug I was, telling Theo how hard we tried to do right by the other selves we visit. I’m so full of it. I took more than this Marguerite’s only night with the man she loved; I took away her choices.”  – Marguerite, realizing that she is The Worst

Remember how I said there’s no love triangle in book one? Guess what. In at least one dimension, Marguerite and Theo are sleeping together. Obviously that is bound to occur because when it comes to dimensions, anything that can happen will happen, but the sexual tension when they stumble upon this fact was nestled somewhere between infuriating and a total drag. Topping it all off, there is also at least one dimension where Paul is a cold and ruthless killer instead of a scientist, and in a moment of him being himself, he cripples Theo beyond repair. Marguerite then proceeds to become a gigantic flake, thinking to herself, “is *my* Paul capable of such violence? How can I truly love somebody who would hurt the people he loves? I am so confused and hurt by this!”

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Luckily for anyone who is still looking to sit through all of Marguerite’s trash, the last 10% of the book is where the story finally got interesting – and left readers on one serious cliffhanger. I’ll be reading the final book in this series to see where this adventure ends, but I’m not sure if this book was really worth the effort it took to get through it. I’ve seen piles upon piles of positive reviews for TTSAY, with people who were blown away or who loved it twice as much as the first book. It may be an unpopular opinion, but to me, this book was one big disappointment after another. Definitely not something I will be looking to reread in the future or recommend to my fellow readers.

What did you think of this book? Did you love the twist in direction and plot, or absolutely hate the turn it took? Let me know in the comments below! 

 

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One thought on “Ten Thousand Skies Above You (Firebird #2) by Claudia Gray

  1. “Needless to say, everything about this is a terrible idea.”

    YEP. Wow. I just. Wow.

    “Personally, the complete and total betrayal of her parents and their goals might have been the kicker if it weren’t for the fact that Marguerite feels no remorse for this at all.”

    Oh god, so she’s even worse than I’d imagined? It’s not like I needed more of a reason to be upset with her. What a heroine.

    I’m not surprised by the awkward sexual tension between Theo and Marguerite in this book. I’ll admit that I thought there’d been a love pentagon in the first book: Marguerite, Paul, Lt. Markov, Real Theo, and Bad Theo. All four of the guys seemed to try to woo her (though the Theos, especially the real one, got less time than the Pauls), which I can assure you had my eyes rolling so hard it was almost difficult to read.

    FYI, those gifs are perfect.

    The fact that Marguerite decided she needed to spend time in a universe without Paul to get away from the realization that one iteration of him isn’t a great person is just stupid overkill. I get that the book wanted Marguerite to revisit the Duchess and find out she’s pregnant, but her motivation is, like you point out, SO DUMB.

    “One disappointment after another” sounds like exactly what I expected. I’m sorry you sat through the whole thing, but at least it resulted in a great, snarky review! Two thumbs up, well done.

    Liked by 1 person

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