Series: Firebird #1
Published by HarperTeen on November 3rd 2015
Genres: Sci-Fi, Young Adult
Marguerite Caine's physicist parents are known for their groundbreaking achievements. Their most astonishing invention, called the Firebird, allows users to jump into multiple universes—and promises to revolutionize science forever. But then Marguerite's father is murdered, and the killer—her parent's handsome, enigmatic assistant Paul— escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.
Marguerite refuses to let the man who destroyed her family go free. So she races after Paul through different universes, always leaping into another version of herself. But she also meets alternate versions of the people she knows—including Paul, whose life entangles with hers in increasingly familiar ways. Before long she begins to question Paul's guilt—as well as her own heart. And soon she discovers the truth behind her father's death is far more sinister than she expected.
This is a reread and I adore it just as much the second time.
I like most fiction that deals with alternate realities or parallel dimensions in theory, never so much in practice. Perhaps it’s the part where people end up in a universe where they don’t exist, and they find out how much they’re needed in their original universe and go back feeling better about themselves. It’s boring. Thankfully, the book mostly avoids this. Because, here’s the best part: you can’t travel to a dimension where you don’t already exist.
Yessss, give me the awkward adjustment periods and lying through your teeth to save face♡ I need it.
There’s not really that much sci-fi in this sci-fi; a lot of the explanations on how the Firebirds work are dropped in the middle, and Marguerite’s explanation on how the alternate dimensions are established and why we can’t perceive them is really basic. I did like Paul’s conjecture that destiny or fate is mathematical parallels between dimensions, and I really like how it was referenced after it was first brought up as well. However, a lot of the interesting theories aren’t explored in-depth at all.
While I know it’s a flaw, I really like how quick Marguerite is to make up her mind about people. Granted, she does change her mind about them, but she’s quick to stick to what she believes until she has proof otherwise. She’s reckless, a little selfish, and unsure of her feelings for anyone outside of her family. However, she’s also very sweet. When she finds out that another dimension’s Marguerite never knew her parents she tries as much as she can to remember them to leave some kind of imprint for that dimension’s original. When she finds a new family in another dimension, she misses them immediately after leaving.
She’s a kid forcing herself to hold onto her hatred, and she has to try really damn hard.
Why can’t I do the same? Why can’t I be as hard as he is? I’m the one who has a reason, the one with a right to kill. I shouldn’t be the one who feels guilty and horrible and sick.
I really like how intelligence is treated in this novel; despite growing up with famous physicist parents, and a sister now working on her own scientific studies as well, Marguerite is more focused on her art. It’s not looked down on at all outside of Marguerite’s own insecurities about it compared to her family. Every time intelligence is brought up, she’s never called dumb, insulted, and there’s been no implication of people judging her for not being as interested in science as her family. The idea of intelligence in this novel is not limited to the sciences, and I love that everyone encourages each other in their own fields and to explore their own ideas.
Unfortunately, there is a love triangle
/square. It’s not really implemented well in parts, and the endgame relationship is really obvious. I’d actually forgotten that part of it was a thing before this read, and had to stop myself from rolling my eyes because of course no one can ever just be friends in these things. I just want a really close friendship that can be mistaken for romance, but is completely platonic. Please!
The other characters are a little like blank canvas sometimes. They are a little stereotypical, but everything we get about them is coloured by Marguerite’s perspective and she is quick to make judgements. There are bits and pieces of more on the other characters, which sometimes are hints and other times are sledgehammers, in the narrative. However, it’s very easy to imagine the other characters in the novel just being put on pause when Marguerite isn’t interacting with them; despite notes or lines about the characters doing things outside of her immediate area I just can’t see it. Maybe in the next one¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I really liked the questioning of where one dimension’s Marguerite/Paul/Theo ended and the other began. The questions of how much of one dimension is consistent across dimensions and how much is separate. There are some lovely moments about it and some not so lovely depending on the character, but it is interesting to think about.
“Every part of me,” I whisper. “Every Marguerite. We both love you, completely. Body and soul.”
Unfortunately, the ending of the book is very abrupt. It does leave a lot of room for the second book as there’s a lot left unresolved; it’s a little out of the blue though. I understand there’s a lot more to resolve, but come on, I wanted more of book one.
I do have a lot I could complain about with this novel, but it’s enjoyable and one of my favourites. I can’t bring myself to put it as anything less than four stars.