Friday, August 27, 2010

Review: I Am Number Four

I Am Number Four
Pittacus Lore*

Young Adult/Fantasy

Lorien Legacies/Book 1
Harperteen/August 2010

Library Book

From the inside cover ~

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.
They killed them all.

I am Number Four.

I am next.

Sounds intense doesn't it? And at many points it is. The constant threat of discovery hangs over John Smith aka Number Four and Henri, his Keeper. Henri acts as John's father here on Earth but was appointed John's Keeper on Lorien, their home planet. They escaped to Earth when the Mogadorians attacked Lorien. They have each other, no other close ties, and must move whenever they fear the Mogadorian hunters are getting too close. They've moved 21 times since they came to Earth ten years ago. And with the death of Number Three, it's time to move again.

This time Number Four chooses the name John Smith as his new identity. It's funny but it also shows his weariness in the constant moving and identity changes. He may be an alien but he's also a teenager who needs social interaction. He's lonely and is just tired of having to keep to himself and not stay anywhere long enough to make friends. He wants to make friends, even one would be nice. But he's told to keep a low profile which becomes difficult when his Legacies begin to make their appearance. And then there's the girl, cause there's always a girl. And a sidekick, cause a hero needs a sidekick. :)

John begins his newest identity at his new school in the small town of Paradise, Ohio. It's here where he meets Sarah, a beautiful girl who likes to take pictures. And Sam, who loves NASA and believes in aliens. You know as soon as he meets them they will all become friends, however odd it seems. John soon learns more about his Legacies and his planet's history. His Legacies are his alien powers that are beginning to manifest, and not always at the best times.

As John gets settled into his new identity, circumstances make him unable to keep that low profile and he quickly gets the attention of the school's popular jock and Sarah's ex-boyfriend. John finds himself standing up to Mark, Sarah's ex. It's exactly the type of attention Henri warned him about but John has friends now and they have become important to him.

The writing is good but not "blow me away" amazing. It's told from John's POV which has its limits and causes the narrative to become a little too heavy at times. I liked how we see John not only coming into his super-special Lorien powers but also making more of the decisions instead of completely relying on Henri. He also starts to take the initiative in finding more information on his enemies, the Mogadorians, even knowing that Henri would disapprove. Their relationship is multi-layered with Henri acting as father figure, teacher and John's only link to his past and home. They are also friends, which isn't surprising since they spend so much time together. It would really be odd if they hadn't become close, being the only two Loriens they know.

The fight scenes are intense and creative with a host of alien monsters for John and Henri, along with their allies, to fight. I thought the creatures hunting John were a little bit larger than life, with very impressive alien powers. And creepy too which is always a plus! It was a good thing John healed fast since he was thrown around a lot during the fighting, with quite a few near death misses.

If you haven't heard, there's already a movie being made. The movie is in production and set for release next year. Will I see it? Yes, unless the trailers are absolutely horrendous. Why? Two words - Timothy Olyphant. He plays Henri. Plus, I do like the story, it has the potential for a good movie. We'll see. As it stands, I Am Number Four ends on a cliffhanger so I'll be reading the next book, The Power of Six, due for a spring 2011 release.

Rating: B+

*Per Wikipedia, Pittacus Lore is the pseudonym of authors Jobie Hughes and James Frey.


  1. Okay, sounds pretty good LOL. Should I get it or not? I like the fact it's in a guy POV :P

    And so true, every hero needs a girl and a side-kick and a mentor/butler :P

  2. Nath ~ Check the library, maybe you'll get lucky. :)

  3. Oooh this one sounds good, Leslie. Aliens and creepy monsters are always good incentives. :P

  4. Nah... no luck at the library :(