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Claudia Gray explores fate and destiny in her Firebird series

Claudia Gray’s Firebird series is without a doubt one of the best trilogies I have ever read. These young adult, science fiction novels are incredibly underrated and offer everything you’re looking for in a young adult story: a passionate romance, chaotic family drama, a coming-of-age story, a riveting plot, and, of course, an emotional rollercoaster journey.

With it being science fiction, there’s also added elements of dimension-travelling and Gray shows us that our imaginations are limitless as she takes us through world after world, dimension after dimension, and life after life. Starting with A Thousand Pieces of You, then Ten Thousand Skies Above You and finishing with A Million Worlds with You, it’s a beautiful storyline and each novel leaves you itching for the next one.

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.

I haven’t been more obsessed with a trilogy the way I have been with this one since The Hunger Games. I love a good trilogy, I love getting right into a story and rooting for the characters and following them on each adventure as they go from book to book. And Gray’s Firebird novels were no different.

Gray puts a lot of powerful themes in these three novels, including: love, fear, believing in yourself, being free to express yourself, grief, loss, and pain. She also teaches her readers a lot about heartache, standing by the person you love even when they’re going through their worst and what it means to really love someone. And how the right person will love you even when you don’t feel so loveable.

The best thing, however, about these stories, I think, is how Gray explores fate and destiny.

In the first novel, A Thousand Pieces of You, we follow Marguerite and Paul as they really discover fate for the first time after noticing that in each dimension, the same people are drawn together almost as though they were always destined to be together no matter what.

“There are patterns within the dimensions,” Paul insisted, never looking up again. “Mathematical parallels. It’s plausible to hypothesize that these patterns will be reflected in events and people in each dimension. That people who have met in one quantum reality will be likely to meet in another. Certain things that happen will happen over and over, in different ways, but more often than you could explain by chance alone.”

“In other words,” I said, “you’re trying to prove the existence of fate.”

I was joking, but Paul nodded slowly, like I’d said something intelligent. “Yes. That’s it exactly.”

― Claudia Gray, A Thousand Pieces of You

It’s exactly what we all think when we think of fate – the drawn together, the meant to be, that it was our destiny to be with this person. In the second novel, Ten Thousand Skies Above You, we see how even though you can feel like you’re meant to be with a person, it doesn’t mean you won’t have difficult times with them and go through hardships. And Marguerite and Paul start to find it hard to believe.

“Sometimes I look at you, and I think—if I didn’t know we shared a destiny, if I hadn’t seen the proof for myself, I’d never believe this was real. That you could love me as much as I love you.”

― Claudia Gray, Ten Thousand Skies Above You

It’s in the final novel, A Million Worlds with You, that we really see what fate and destiny is, and what it really means to be fated to be with someone. They both thought that destiny and fate meant that they were always guaranteed to be happy together, that the universe and the stars promised that they would always be together and have a happy ending no matter what world or dimension they were living in.

What they learn, however, is that our destiny is half fate and half free will. Yes, fate gives us a chance, but our actions and our decisions are what decide the outcome and determines our destiny.

Fate doesn’t guarantee us a happy ending. We’re not promised to be together no matter what. But in dimension after dimension, world after world, fate gives us a chance. Our destiny isn’t some kind of mystical prophecy. Our destiny is what we do with that chance.”

― Claudia Gray, A Million Worlds with You

Marguerite and Paul didn’t just fall in love with each other. They walked into love together, with their eyes wide open, choosing to take every step along the way, no matter the world or the dimension. Which shows us the real message about fate and destiny. I do believe in both these things, but I also believe that we are only fated to do the things that we’d choose anyway. And what Gray has shown in her Firebird series is that when love is real two people would choose each other. In a hundred lifetimes, in a hundred worlds, in any version of reality or dimension, when two people really love each other, they find each other and choose each other.

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