Thursday, January 14, 2016

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

Title: Ten Thousand Skies Above You
Author: Claudia Gray
Series: Firebird #2
Length: 424 pages
Published by: Harper Teen
Publication Date: November 3, 2015
Diversity: mostly N/A; see list of things I didn't like so much

WARNING: The following review contains spoilers for the first book in the Firebird trilogy, A Thousand Pieces of You. They're vague, and they're not about vital things, but they're there. Consider yourself warned.
I had incredibly high hopes for this book. The first in the series was one of my favorite books of 2015. This installment didn't disappoint. I'm not going into a lot of detail, since it's rather difficult to write a spoiler-free review for a sequel, and I decided the best way to do this was a list of my likes (my many, many likes) and my dislikes (few and far between).

  • The worldbuilding. This alone is enough to make both books incredible. Every alternate dimension is exquisitely developed, and each is so distinct and creative. Even with so many dimensions crammed into each book, and so many things happening in the plot, I was fully immersed in each and every dimension.
  • The discussions about the ethics of dimensional travel. In this installment, everyone really started to think about the consequences of their actions, and even if their decisions weren't always what I'd call responsible, there's at least the acknowledgement that their actions affect other people's lives in the other dimensions.
  • On a related note, the character development. Characters actually learn from what they've done! Characters change their opinions from what they were in the first book! Characters realize that things are often more complex than they originally assumed them to be! Characters admit that they were wrong! All sorts of exciting character things!
  • The plot twists and the added complexity. This book kept me guessing until the very last page, which is one of the reasons that I'm waiting impatiently for book three, A Million Worlds with You, to be released this fall. Every single dimension had its own set of problems, and the central plot became increasingly complex, and I loved every second of it.
  • The way the recap was done. In many series, recap can seem tedious, and there may have been a few series in which I skim the beginning of each sequel because I know there won't be anything new. I was worried about this one, since the first book covered so much, but all of the recap was included in new situations. This did make some of it feel out of place, but overall, incredibly well done.
  • The humor. This book made me laugh, mostly with a bunch of unexpected one-liners. Funny things weren't thrown in at strange or inappropriate times, but the contrasts in tone made the serious parts even more so.
  • The cover. It's gorgeous. I think everyone can agree on that one.
  • The love triangle. Didn't we get past this in the first book? Things seemed pretty clear then, but one of my least favorite literary devices strikes again.
  • The lack of diversity. This was mentioned in my quick facts at the top, but it merits being brought up again. With all of the dimensions introduced, why is EVERYONE in EVERY dimension white and (probably) cishet? That doesn't even happen in our own dimension! (Slightly spoiler-y note: There is a dimension in which Marguerite has an injury, so there is a small amount of diversity there.)
  • This doesn't really have anything to do with this book in particular, but how is it that everyone in each of the other dimensions has the same name as in Marguerite's home dimension, or a different language's version of the same name? If there's a dimension for every set of possibilities in the world, there should be plenty where people have different names.
That said, none of the things that I didn't like so much took away from my enjoyment of the book as a whole. I would highly recommend this series, but be sure you have a whole day free to read it, since you probably won't be able to put it down.

And now to count down the days until book three...

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