Well-drawn characters, interesting premise, intriguing mythology. This is a sci-fi novel lovers of all genres will want to read.
The Fourth Piece is the story of three teenage brothers who learn that their background is not as “normal” as they had believed/hoped that it was, and what they discover leaves them reeling in their sneakers.
While the novel’s genre is science fiction, there is enough “normalcy” to the story, and the charming characters, to entertain readers of all genres, not merely the sci-fi fans.
The story is told from alternating points-of-view from each of the brothers, which adds interest and enhances the reader’s experience. I, for one, enjoy reading novels told from multiple points-of-view in particular, as I feel it adds depth to the story and the characters themselves. I also applaud authors, like Ardell, who can pull this off successfully, as it is no easy task. Well done!
The brothers, Lawrie, Lyle, and Devon, are realistically drawn teenage boys that will make you laugh, cringe, and even cry as you delve into their unique personalities and struggles growing up in a world riddle with racism, fear, and hate. Ardell has done a masterful job at creating characters people of all ages can relate to and connect with on multiple levels: you’ve either felt like one of the brothers at one time in your life, or known someone who has. If I had to choose a favorite, and this is tough as all of the brothers are engaging, I’d have to choose Devon’s character. I enjoyed reading about his struggles with dealing with the emotional separation between him and his twin brother, Lyle, while simultaneously dealing with their alarming discovery and the fantastical, and dangerous, new direction of their otherwise “normal” teenage lives. I also found his difficulty with accepting his “differences” from other teens to be endearing. As a high school teacher, I have seen countless students struggle with the idea of “standing out from the crowd.” Ardell’s handling of this difficult, and all too common struggle, was artfully done, so much so, that I would recommend this book to my students.
Overall, I found The Fourth Piece, to be a highly engaging novel, and I look forward to the next installment.