Book Review: Pieces and Players

Pieces and Players (Chasing Vermeer #4)

By Blue Balliett

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Calder, Petra, and Tommy are called in to investigate a terrible art theft from a local museum, along with two new kids, Zoomy and Early. The formidable Mrs Sharpe has brought them all together in the hopes that their unique way of solving puzzles may help to recover the thirteen stolen pieces of artwork. But the museum’s board of trustees is playing their own game, arguing about the future of the art museum. Only Calder and the gang can unravel the clues and solve the mystery!

I really enjoyed this book, especially because of all the great information about art! The plot takes several interesting turns, and the characters are unique and endearing.

I loved the way that Tommy and Zoomy became friends, and how Petra and Early quickly joined forces with their mutual love of words. The group dynamic is wonderful as they all bounce ideas off each other and share their thoughts.

I thought the mystery could have been a little tighter. I felt like there were a lot of superfluous red herrings and too much time was spent on rabbit trails that had no bearing on the main plot.

One of things that I both loved and that annoyed me a little in this book was the unique way that the kids talk and think. I love that they make weird connections with things they see and hear, and they find meaning in seemingly useless or mundane things. But it also got on my nerves a little because their meaning isn’t always clear. They throw in some off the wall comment, and sometimes it makes sense with the rest of the conversation and sometimes I’m left scratching my head.

Another thing that annoyed me was the constantly changing POV. The characters will all be standing around in a scene, and the narrator takes a little trip into each of their brains. Calder was thinking this. Petra thought that. Tommy said to himself this thing. Early was feeling this. Zoomy thought that. And then we jump back into the action of the scene after our little brain check-in with each character. It slowed down the pacing of the story, and I hate changing POVs, especially within the same scene.

I wish I had known that the new characters in this book are actually introduced in other books outside this series. I would have read their individual stories first, and now I’ve been spoiled for their endings. Oh well.

Still an enjoyable read, and a fun story!

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