Monday, December 20, 2010

I am Number Four

Rating: 4 out of 5 Glowing Hands

John Smith has just arrived in Paradise, Ohio, just another stop in a string of small towns where the 15-year-old has been hiding out from the Mogadorians. Those terrifying aliens are hellbent on destroying him and the other nine Loric children who have sought refuge on Earth. The Mogadorians are picking off the surviving kids in numerical order. The first three are dead and John's number is up. Will his Legacies, his defining super powers, develop in time for him to fight against the enemy? I Am Number Four is a breathless page-turner of a sci-fi novel that will have readers rooting for the teen alien who must unleash his fire power to save himself, his human friends, and the planet. This is the first of a slated multi-book series that, judging by this first book, will help reinvigorate a traditional YA genre that's grown a bit light on strong character development. So, gear-up sci-fi fans, the battle for Earth is on and there's a new kid in town! (Lauren Nemroff,

I am not sure what drew me to this book. For the longest time I denied that it actually looked good to me. Maybe it was the bright cover that always caught my eye. After picking it up on at least three different occasions and trips to Barnes and Noble I figured that it was something I needed to read.

It was an entertaining read to say the least. While the pithy, blunt, and present progressive style of writing is hard to get used to, at first, I found that it creates a nice pacing for the novel. Sometimes, however, the straightforwardness also creates a biproduct called cheesiness. This is my only qualm with the novel. Sometimes the imagery and dialogue falls flat because of the writing style. And, honestly, I like Sarah at first but then, at the end, she's just sorta there. I wish she would have had more of a teenage reaction to finding out that John is an alien. Her reaction is far too mature for a fifteen year old so she, in turn, becomes less believable which then makes the story a little fake. I know what you're thinking: Jake, this is an alien story. But, you see, obviously the authors of this want this book to seem realistic to a degree if they are willing to call themselves Pittacus Lore and then use that name as one of the Elders of the Loric race. They are obviously putting everything out there.

Sadly that, because of the sparse and blunt writing, I am looking forward to the movie even more because it looks, just from the trailers I have seen, like they are going to give a little more depth to the characters that I wanted from them. Sarah never really seems like more than just the dream girl who unfailingly trusts this new boy. I am hoping the movie at least explains why she's so willing to stand next to him even after some of the weirdness that goes on with him.

The story is fascinating to me. While there are still things that don't make sense to me that I think should have been answered in this installment, I am thinking that the answers will all come together in the next books.

All in all it is a good, fun read that boasts high-octane action. However, if you are looking for depth and beautiful prose, this is not the book for you. I was entertained and am looking forward to the next book and the movie coming out in February so I gave it 4 out of 5 glowing hands.

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