With the recent theatrical releases of both Marvel’s “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” and “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” it’s safe to say that the concept of multiverses is currently taking over pop culture. While the idea of alternate universes is mind-bending, it isn’t the first time that it has been used by any means. There are many books with some version of a multiverse contained within their pages and plotlines, some of which I have even mentioned in previous issues. However, I plan on diving into a few more in order to help give you a few more multiverses to lose yourselves in.
First off, we have the “A Thousand Pieces of You” by Claudia Gray, which is the first book in her “Firebird” trilogy. The book follows Marguerite Caine, whose parents have managed to create a machine they call the Firebird, which allows users to hop into various versions of themselves in alternate dimensions. After her father is brutally murdered, the killer uses the Firebird to escape law enforcement, leaving Marguerite to chase him down herself by jumping into various universes. But the closer she gets to him, the more she begins to doubt his guilt. The rest of the series follows a similar concept of universe-hopping as Marguerite continues to fight evil in some shape or form, making it reminiscent of the “Doctor Strange” film. This trilogy is perfect for those who were a fan of David Mitchell’s book, “Cloud Atlas”, which focused on how people’s choices affected the lives of others years later, or for those who were in love with the show “Orphan Black,” which focused on a woman taking over the life of her clone.
Another book in this universe that focuses on the idea of parallel universes is Stephen King’s “11/22/63.” In it, readers follow Jake Epping, an English teacher who discovers that his friend, Al, has a portal to 1958 locked away in a storeroom. Al convinces Jake to take on a new identity as George Amberson and travel back in time to prevent the Kennedy assassination. Jake, finding the idea insane yet possible, decides to do just that, and begins a new life in 1958, a time of Elvis, sock hops and big cars. In the process of carrying out their plan, he falls in love and discovers the aftermath of messing with timelines. However, before you dive into this alternate reality, it’s key to remember that Stephen King is known for his excessively long books, and this 800+ page dedication is no exception. If it proves to be a little too time-consuming, worry not, for there happens to be a miniseries based on the book starring James Franco available to watch on Hulu.
The last multi-universal series I want to discuss is V.E. Schwab’s “Shades of Magic” trilogy. The first book, “A Darker Shade of Magic,” follows Kell, a magician who can transport to the Londons of other universes. Some of the Londons are dull and without magic, while others are bursting full of war. While acting as an ambassador for Red London, he illegally helps smuggle folks to other Londons, such as White London, so that they can experience a different world altogether. However, he is soon caught, and forced to help Delilah, a cutpurse, discover adventure in other Londons after she saves him. The series is perfect for those who are fans of the books in Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse, such as “Six of Crows.”
While this universe may seem stressful as finals slowly approach, make sure to find some time to relax, read and lose yourself in these books’ multiverses.