Review: ‘Ten Thousand Skies Above You’ by Claudia Gray

Claudia Gray gives us a sequel to ‘A Thousand Pieces of You’, and I was hyped to read this. Ever since I finished the first book, I’ve been itching to know what happens to Meg and her friends after the ordeal they went through. I’ve been curious of what other interesting dimensions they’ll visit, if it’ll further reveal the villain’s diabolical plot, and what plot twist will come next. Called ‘Ten Thousand Skies Above You’ (In my opinion I thought it would’ve made sense to switch the titles of both these books), Claudia Gray exceeded my expectations,

Marguerite Caine and her family are trying to heal from the ordeal they went through after the events of the first book, but are concerned about the harm the Firebird technology can cause if in the wrong hands. This includes Wyatt Conley of the Triadverse, who wants to use the Firebirds to have every version of his corporation to control the multiverse. This is further complicated when Meg’s parents discover that a dimensional traveler can succumb to an effect called ‘splintering’, where the traveler’s consciousness can be split into four forms of energy and be trapped in different versions of themselves in parallel universes.

Just as Meg is trying to put the past behind her and (slight spoiler) start a relationship with a reformed Paul, Wyatt Conley captures him and splinters his mind across different versions of himself across the multiverse in an attempt to blackmail her. Left with no choice, Meg must once again risk her life and the lives of her other selves to save the man she loves. She’ll have to make impossible choices, sacrifice her morality, and do anything to stop the Triad Corporation from becoming powerful enough to destroy the fabric of existence.

If you remember my review of the first book, you’d probably remember how I mentioned Claudia Gray gave a perfect balance of mixing narrative with scenery descriptions, which gave each location and universe its own unique setting. In this one, Meg must go to parallel dimensions such as a version of San Francisco torn apart by a global war, a North America where countries are replaced by rivaling mega-companies, and even to New York’s criminal underworld, with a very dark version of Paul I won’t spoil here, but makes you question what makes ‘you’, you.

Once again, the characters are fantastic, mixing clever character development with humorous moments that works off their personalities. Some of them range from outright hysterically awkward to nice nods one would miss. For example, there’s a scene where Meg is in an alternate universe and rummaging through her alternate version’s purse, and she’s confused when she finds an iPhone instead of a tPhone. It may be product placement, but I couldn’t help but shake my head amused.

The novel takes things a step further by explaining ideas of fate and destiny across different dimensions. This books talks about the idea that no matter what universe a person is in or what decision they make, there’s the probable chance of them being good or bad. It explains cleverly how in one dimension you could be slightly different but be Hitler-esque in another.

The consequences of traveling dimensions and inhabiting another’s body is also brought up, with Meg and her friends realizing the harmful effects their presence can have their other version’s lives. It creepily shows how one man shouldn’t have the type of technology, where it can drastically ruin a different version of yourself in ways you wouldn’t imagine. It’s an unsettling idea that makes you wonder if your decisions are your own, or if fate is at work.

A problem with ‘Ten Thousand Skies Above You’ that may upset some readers is that the first few chapters are mainly flashbacks and exposition. It’s strange how in the first novel didn’t have this trouble before, and maybe it’s because it was kept simply into two chapters while almost three to four chapters are dedicated here to explaining what happened in the first book. Some may get it right away, but it may be a problem for some.

Otherwise, this is a worthy sequel to ‘A Thousand Pieces of You’, and the cliffhanger left me frozen in shock to know what will happen next. If you’re a fan of ‘Bioshock Infinite’ and media involving dimensional travel, grab yourself a Firebird and give this a read.

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If you have any questions or already have an opinion on the novel, feel free to leave any comments. Thanks!

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