January 11, 2011

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

PhotobucketSummary: In the beginning they were a group of nine. Nine aliens who left their home planet of Lorien when it fell under attack by the evil Mogadorians. Nine aliens who scattered on Earth. Nine aliens who look like ordinary teenagers living ordinary lives, but who have extraordinary, paranormal skills. Nine aliens who might be sitting next to you now. 
The Nine had to separate and go into hiding. The Mogadorian caught Number One in Malaysia, Number Two in England, and Number Three in Kenya. All of them were killed. John Smith, of Paradise, Ohio, is Number Four. He knows that he is next. 

I Am Number Four is the thrilling launch of a series about an exceptional group of teens as they struggle to outrun their past, discover their future—and live a normal life on Earth. 

I am Number Four.

I am next.
Review: I was really excited to read this book. My sister had loved it, and it sounded like a quick, entertaining read. However, it seemed to fall flat for me, with uninspiring characters, debatable dialogue and average action scenes.
The book’s first half was slow moving, but filled with descriptions of Lorien and the back story of how and why the Mogadorians took over. The imagery was strong and I enjoyed reading about the beauty of Lorien in its prime. There were also many references about the dangers of staying in one place too long, and a lot of emphasis put on Number Four not drawing unwanted attention to himself. 
Of course, things don’t go to plan and John soon agitates the head football captain, falls in love with said football captain’s ex-girlfriend and displays his powers carelessly. His guardian Henri wants to move, but John refuses and forces Henri to stay. I found this quite unrealistic, as at the first hint of danger in the past, they had moved, whereas now when there was more than a hint of danger, John was willing to stay, for little more reason than a crush. I understand that he just wanted to have a normal life, but frankly, when the fate of a planet rests on the shoulders of you and five other teenagers, a normal life is just something that has to be sacrificed. John was selfish, and he paid the price for it later in the book.
The character development left a lot to the imagination. John’s girlfriend, Sarah, especially fell flat for me. She was portrayed as kind and sweet, and wasn’t at all fazed when John revealed his secret to her. I can’t recall one flaw of hers that was mentioned, so she was not relatable at all, and I quickly grew tired of her. The same could be said about all the side characters - the guardian/teacher who acted more like a father, the stereotypical jock who’s maybe not as bad as he seems and the outcast who is the only one that befriends John.
This is a book for people who prefer plot over character development. Plenty happens and there are some fun action scenes, but overall it didn’t quite come together. I know that many will probably enjoy this book, and with the movie being released shortly, its popularity will see a rise in coming months. It just wasn’t the book for me.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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