The 9th Soul

Book Review: Firebird Trilogy by Claudia Gray

Posted in entertainment by Fated Blue on November 19, 2017

Cover Firebird Trilogy

It took me months to get to and finish both Ten Thousand Skies Above You and A Million World With You (Firebird #2 and #3 respectively) because me trying to balance both being a freelance writer and gamer just didn’t leave a lot of time for book reading (much to my shame).

Anyway, I will keep this review as brief and spoiler-free as possible. If you want a quick summary, I’m definitely recommending the trilogy to Sci-Fi fans who don’t mind cheesy romance. I like romance and all, but sometimes it gets too cheesy and if it wasn’t for Claudia Gray’s style of writing – simple but not lazy – I would’ve quit on this series.

And oh yeah, praise the cover designer or illustrator of the series! One of the most eye-candy books I’ve ever owned!

Review of Ten Thousand Skies Above You

Ten-Thousand-Skies-Above-You199The first book set the tone for interdimensional “conscience” travel and some of the consequences it can do to the hosts. I loved that concept especially the plot twist with Theo Beck near the end, so this book got me hyped!

The second book in the series now deals with the possibility that perhaps fate isn’t always consistent with everything. The first book pretty much told the readers lovers in this world will be lovers in any other dimension, one way or the other.

The second book explores the opposite, where there is always the possibility, no matter how small, that true love between two people will never exist or will not have a chance to exist. Not only that, the book also explored the possibilities that those who are good and evil may not be good or evil consistently in other worlds. As such, we see “bad” versions of Paul Markov and “good” versions of Wyatt Conley. Hell, we even get to see the evil version of Marguerite Caine here.

The book hinged on the small chances of anything being the opposite of what they’re supposed to be, and it fits well with the theme of what was once broken will never be completely the same even if you put every piece together.

It’s like gluing a smashed dinner plate together: It looks whole, but the cracks are visible and you start doubting if you’d even want to use the plate despite the effort you gave in putting it back together. 

The whole “sum of the whole is bigger than its pieces” fits so well with the “reassemble Paul’s conscience” plot, the only thing better than that plot structure is how Claudia now gave Theo Beck a chance with Marguerite Caine.

If you’re a fan of book #1, you know it wasn’t her Theo’s fault, but you’re also aware that Theo has a thing for Marguerite. Well, this book explores the possibility of Theo and Marguerite making it…with Paul on the side this time for good measure.

And to be quite frank, I don’t find anything likeable with Paul’s character. His character is too “tropey” or common in chicklit, that he seemed just too good to be real, you know? Now with Theo, I don’t know why but the guy is just so relatable it’s only too crazy he wasn’t the leading man in the series. Perhaps the fact that he wasn’t the man for Marguerite made his appeal all the more favorable.

To date, I don’t know anyone who fits Paul Markov’s characteristics but I do know a lot of people who can wear Theo Beck’s skin. So yeah, I’m #TeamTheo all the way.

Book 2 was promising and seemed to be more scientifically ambitious than Book 1, but I just felt like the cheese was layered on too thick. Then again, I don’t like cheese in my books so maybe it’s just me.

Rating: 7/10 

Review of A Million Worlds With You

MillionWorldsWithYou_cvr_199The last chapter of Book 2 almost made me not want to read Book 3 because I HATE body-switch plots. Seriously, it’s annoying to know that someone is fooling everyone and destroying everything they love by looking like the protagonist.

Alas, I gave in anyway and braced myself and to my satisfaction the book got rid of my body-switch anxiety really early which gave me a sigh of relief. What took me by surprise, though, is how this book now shows the audience that Marguerite Caine doesn’t always win the battle and they didn’t hesitate telling us just that by killing a character a few chapters in.

Actually, book 3 did a lot of protagonist damage that it seemed as if Claudia Gray had the urge to psychologically torture her lead character. Not just deaths, there were also plenty of guilt trips, regrets, and “I failed my parents and friends in that dimension and the other Marguerite will suffer for it” moments.

You can say Book 3 sort of removed Marguerite’s plot armor or at least plug some holes in it, just to make it a little more intense. Looking back, I guess it was the right decision. I mean, you can’t win every battle in real life so it’s normal if fiction draws from real-life suffering too.

The book now explores the concept of someone else travelling dimensions. Problem is, the other traveler is out there to kill worlds while our lead protagonist has to play catch up for more than half of the book. Sometimes she makes it, sometimes she dies, and sometimes the world ends and she narrowly escapes with some Deus Ex Machina miracle. Again, this goes back to the “the probability of anything is not 100%” concept of Book 2 so it’s nice to see some continuation of the plot line.

One of the reasons I love book 3 is because (the other) Theo Beck gets his redemption arc. It ended in the best way possible too, so hats off to that! Another thing I loved is when Team Marguerite gathers the other players in the game and forms an interdimensional alliance which was so freaking cool!

They also revisited old worlds as well as worlds that only looked to be some random dimensions, but were critical to the plot. They also reintroduced some of the other characters, but one of them wasn’t given enough substance.

There was one scene where Marguerite goes to HQ and meets a “friend” inside an enemy’s body. It seemed to be an interesting story from there, but shit happened way too fast and it ended up killing one character I was starting to like, and ended her “friend’s” time too soon. I felt like Claudia rushed out of this chapter way too fast.

The ending too…it was so anticlimactic. The book pushed the boundaries a bit with the science, but the final battle could’ve used some of that pushing too. All’s well that ends well, but that scene was just too convenient and too lazy for this series.

It was still a great read, and the cheese was toned down a notch or two so that’s a bonus. I just wish the author would make a Theo Beck spin-off or something. I’d buy that book!

8/10

Both books, and the trilogy overall, were great reads specially for those looking for a time-traveling romance story. I still don’t like cheese, though.

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