Published by Harper Collins on 8/3/2010
Genres: Adventure, Science-fiction, Young Adult
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Nine of us came here. We look like you. We talk like you. We live among you. But we are not you. We can do things you dream of doing. We have powers you dream of having. We are stronger and faster than anything you have ever seen. We are the superheroes you worship in movies and comic books - but we are real.
Our plan was to grow, and train, and become strong, and become one, and fight them. But they found us and started hunting us first. Now all of us are running. Spending our lives in shadows, in places where no one would look, blending in. We have lived among you without you knowing.
But they know.
They caught Number One in Malaysia. Number Two in England. And Number Three in Kenya.\r\nThey killed them all.
I am Number Four.
I am next.
Lackluster, disconnected writing, overdrawn themes…and I just only felt lukewarm for I Am Number Four. What’s with all the hype?
John and his Cepan, Henri, traveled to Earth from Lorien to escape the brutal massacre of their race – and their homeworld – by the Mogadorians, an evil alien species bent on dominating planets and their inhabitants to suck their resources, since they so long ago wasted and destroyed their own. (Do you feel a little underhanded preachiness in there?) John and Henri are now on Earth, along with 16 others, who are spread far and wide, hiding from these monsters and mainstreaming with humans. Fear has them moving every few months, thus never forming friendships or attachments to other people. Until they move to Paradise, Ohio, where John meets Sarah and Sam, the girl he falls in love with and the boy who will become his best friend.
I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy it. I like to dig my heels in to a little sci-fi every now and then. I Am Number Four has a lot of great things going for it: an interesting storyline, a cast of varied characters, and a nice hook at the ending that leaves the reader wanting more. I truly enjoyed where it took me, especially during John’s flashback scenes to Lorien.
But it still didn’t call to me the way other sci-fis do. I found myself annoyed at little things, like John’s constant reflection upon himself. I get that you’re a displaced alien from a planet billions of miles away and you’ve left your family and home, but DUDE…you whine in your head an awful lot. I also had a really hard time reconciling the Henri that was adamant about keeping their secret with the Henri that just threw caution to the wind and let John tell Sam everything. Which then led to multiple people knowing. It’s like there were two different Henri’s.
I also had a problem with the insta-love in I Am Number Four. I know you can instantly connect with someone and I’m not discounting that, but he’s immediately in love with her, and she with him. It felt like it was put there to incite conflict between John and Sarah’s ex-boyfriend, Mark, which is short-lived and never addressed again, except briefly in the ending.
And I didn’t think Lore pursued the disappearance of Sam’s father enough. I hope this is addressed in the next book.
The writing style also felt a bit disjointed overall for me. Short sentences followed by more short sentences that I think would have been better served by a longer, more fluid syntax. For instance, I think the following
The day has turned cold. The house is silent aside from the occasional gust of wind rattling the windows. I lie on my back on top of the wooden coffee table. My hands dangle over the sides.
would have sounded better as something like
The day has turned cold and the house is silent, save for the occasional gust of wind that rattles the windows, while I lie on my back on top of the wooden coffee table, hands dangling over the sides.
I’m no writer, but it’s as if someone told the writing team of Pittacus Lore that paragraphs are supposed to have a certain number of sentences per paragraph and in order to do this, they broke what could be beautiful, fluid sentences into short, choppy sentences to fit that rule. Hey, Lore! Rules are meant to be broken, ya’ know!
Now, I know it sounds like I didn’t enjoy I Am Number Four. That’s not true. I did actually like the story, I just wish Pittacus Lore had taken a different route in telling it. Will I read The Power of Six? Absolutely. Do I recommend this book to others? You bet I do. YA + aliens + action, with a little love story thrown in? You can’t go wrong there. But I do hope the next one is better.
“We don’t have to be defined by the things we did or didn’t do in our past. Some people allow themselves to be controlled by regret. Maybe it’s regret, maybe it’s not. It’s merely something that happened. Get over it.”
Disclaimers: This book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange of an honest review. Blurb and photo source courtesy of Goodreads. *If you decide to purchase this book through any of these links, I do receive a small monetary kick-back that helps fund this blog.