Review Detail

3.3 1
Young Adult Fiction 1183
intriguing plot
Overall rating
Writing Style
"The Fourth Piece" is the story of three brothers, Lyle, Devon, and Lawrie with rotating first person perspective chapters. They are contacted by a fourth brother, Evan, who is nearing death, and whose perspective is given in later chapters. These four brothers have been selected by an alien goddess, Order, for a mission which stretches back in time (they have flash backs to this agreement).

This first book seeks to set up a universe where aliens are common and many planets exist. It reads more like a prequel than a first book, showing how the boys come into their powers (e.g. Lyle is a telempath, Devon has physical body healing and strength, Lawrie has earth powers, and Evan maybe has control of fire? His is unclear) and how they find out their oldest brother Evan is alive and ruling a distant planet. They seem to be a blend of other planets from both parents.

The vast majority of the book focuses on power development and deals with some major issues in our current society. The first of which is rampant racism- here it's against aliens on Earth (the brothers had been sheltered because they can "pass" as human). This is completely believable and akin to current societal struggles. There are alien extremists, committing acts of terror, humans being terrible to otherwise peaceful aliens, and groups to promote nonviolence and support between aliens and humans. It is a familiar theme today around the world.

The book also has sexual assault in that Lyle uses physical activity to treat the overwhelming psychological effects of his telempathy. In one case, he changes Nisse's, a female alien, mind to force her into physical contact. He knows it's wrong, but the writing frames it around his views and does not focus on the victim. There's no justice for her. Lyle does get treatment, but I don't like the way this was handled (no penalties, lauded like royalty, not much second thoughts for her) and dropped my rating a star for this reason. Unfortunately, this is also a current social issue.

Overall, this is a well-written but slow moving (to build this different universe) sci-fi novel which spends it's time addressing current earth problems with alien examples. The world the author has created is fascinating and I would be interested in reading more, but I hope there will be justice for Nisse.

Please note that I received this book from the publisher through netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
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