The premise: Marguerite Caine’s father, a promising physicist, has just been murdered by Paul Markov, one of his students. Using her mother’s invention, called the Firebird, Marguerite chases Paul across alternate dimensions, hoping to obtain justice. As Marguerite jumps between dimensions, she finds her mission compromised by her confusing feelings for Paul.
Similar to: Cloud Atlas, My Name is Memory
My reaction: I’m in the habit of judging books by their covers, and this book’s cover was awesome, so I bought it.
What else does it have going for it?
Sci-fi novel? Check.
Parallel dimensions? Check.
Unlikely romance? Check.
Love triangle? …check.
Did I pretend to be offended by it on principle but secretly love it? Check.
I ripped through this book in a day. It’s a quick read with excellent pacing. The end of every chapter made me want to know more.
I got invested early on. Marguerite’s grief for her father came across well. I got a good sense of why the loss was so devastating and why she was so conflicted about Paul. The book delves into Marguerite’s home and family life without being sentimental or over-the-top.
I had my doubts about this book because of the love triangle. I’ve read so many bad love triangles in the last few years that I want to write them all off (ha) as unnecessary, immature, and pointless. Honestly, I can’t say much about this love triangle when one of its members was a DRUG-ADDICTED SLEAZEBAG (that doesn’t count as a spoiler).
But Paul Markov: socially awkward, brawny, brilliant, Russian, devoted. I swooned. (It helped that I pictured him as a redhead.)
The bulk of the love story takes place in Russia with alternate Marguerite as the Grand Duchess and alternate Paul as her bodyguard. If I hadn’t already been sold on the forbidden romance angle, this part of the book clinched it for me. I loved that Marguerite essentially walked into the middle of a love story and, through it, discovered her own feelings for Paul.
Beyond the romance, I loved the premise. I’ve mentioned before my strong belief in free will; this book tried to make an argument for destiny using science.
I am not opposed to the idea that some things are meant to be. I liked the way this book addressed that issue. It touched on some interesting personality concepts; Marguerite realizes that no matter how her many selves vary across dimensions, there are core elements of her person that remain the same. Paul tells Marguerite at one point that he loves every version of her in every dimension. (If you flip to a random page, you will find a love quote worthy of a Facebook cover photo. Guaranteed.) Whether or not it’s realistic, I’m drawn to the idea of love that lasts across time. It’s a comforting notion even if it isn’t true.
My only minor quibbles came from the voice, the villains, and the ending. Some of the modern-day references are grating, and while I liked Marguerite for the most part, her “stubborn girl” persona got old in parts. There’s an obviously-evil character whose betrayal is supposed to be a shocking twist. I have nothing good to say about him. The ending, while not terrible, was a little too neat and abrupt to be fully satisfying.
Other than that, I really enjoyed this book. There were plenty of other twists to make up for the obvious one above. I screamed plenty throughout the book at unexpected developments–which my neighbors loved.
With an intriguing idea and a touching love story, I would recommend this to anyone who likes their sci-fi with a little bit of romance.