Series: Firebird #1
Genre: Romance, Science Fiction, Young Adult
eARC, 368 pages
Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite’s father is murdered, the killer—her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.
Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul’s guilt—and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.
My feelings about this were so hot and cold that I felt the need to make an infographic for it:
My hate is stronger than the dimensions, stronger than memory, stronger than time. My hate is now the truest part of who I am.
I was SO onboard with this story in the beginning. The prologue blew me away and completely grabbed my attention. Then we enter a futuristic feeling, technologically advanced London. And it was AWESOME! I loved the world, I thought that Claudia Gray did a fabulous job bringing it to life, and I wanted more. I was curious about who this Paul person was, why did what he did, and the reason behind the betrayal. I was intrigued by the Firebird and the idea of traveling to different universes. So cool! I was also highly impressed by how much Claudia Gray’s writing style had improved.
Then we get to Russia. It’s not that it was bad at this point, but I can definitely say my enjoyment level dropped because it had a historical feel. I didn’t start really losing interest until princess version Marguerite got the letter from Theo and starts to think about both guys as more than friends.
…how difficult it will be to get out of this dimension if I even can, and of all the emotions for him – and for Paul – that I can’t afford to explore right now.
UGH. I despise love triangles. View Spoiler » Not to mention the fact that several chapters ago she was talking about how much she hated Paul. If she cared about him so much before he “betrayed” her, why was she so quick to believe that he was the one who did it? She clearly didn’t know him at all, if she thought him capable of something like that. Then she believed his story about being framed almost immediately. THEN, when she gets to another reality and Paul has “betrayed” her parents again, she’s “too stunned by Paul’s betrayal” and says that she “thought she was beginning to understand him.” You say you love him and you’re not even going to give him the benefit of the doubt?! Really? « Hide Spoiler Thankfully she only waffles for a moment before finally sticking with Paul. But still, the quasi love triangle brought it down…then it all went to hell.
Why? The romance. Good heavens. I know that Marguerite had feelings for Paul previously, but the fact that she fell for this “different” Paul so fast despite later saying how he was like a completely different person kind of annoyed me. After that, the romance was front and center. And it was SO annoying. They were being freaking SHOT at, her alternate reality family (including a young brother) were MISSING and she didn’t even know if they were alive, and she’s making out with Paul out in the snow. View Spoiler »And they have sex. « Hide Spoiler Way to go on your prioritizing skills, Marguerite!
View Spoiler »The best part is, despite having falling “in love” with him (and you can’t have almost-feelings for someone else if you were actually IN love, just saying) so fast because he’s similar to her original Paul, after the alternate Paul is killed she finds it difficult to be with her REAL version of Paul because he’s too different. WTF? « Hide Spoiler The entire middle of the book (which is basically nothing but romance) just felt like every other YA paranormal out there. The only thing about this book that stands out is the beginning and the end. The middle has already become a blur.
There was also something that really didn’t make sense to me. Sadly I can’t talk about it without giving anything away! View Spoiler »When Marguerite found her dad in another dimension, she was worrying about how to get him back to her home dimension. She even considered giving him her Firebird, leaving her trapped in the underwater world so he could go back home. Even if I have to give him my Firebird. Even if I’m the one that stays here forever. Um, HELLOOO, there are freaking THREE of them!! So leave someone behind while the other three go home, then send one person back with two Firebirds. Duh? There was nothing ever stating that you couldn’t return to the same reality twice, and no explanation to negate the obvious conclusion. Can two Firebirds not go with one person? If so, why not say that? “I’ll be stuck here FOREVER” just sounds melodramatic. You people are supposed to be smart for crying out loud. « Hide Spoiler
I wasn’t a fan of Marguerite. I just couldn’t find anything in her to relate to. I can’t pinpoint why, but she got on my nerves sometimes. I also didn’t care about Paul or Theo. Paul didn’t have much personality to speak of, especially for a romantic interest. The only character I really cared about was Marguerite’s father.
Seriously, I am SO disappointed in this book. If the whole book had been like the first several chapters, it probably would have been a 5 star book for me. I can definitely see the potential in this series. The world building ROCKS, Claudia Gray’s prose has proven that it can be engaging and interesting when she wants it to be, and the idea of alternate realities interests me. I’m still on the fence about whether or not to read the next book…
Writing style: 4/5
Overall rating: 2.5/5