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books, blabberings, and a life semi-common
During the Teen & YA trend of werewolves and vampires, I AM NUMBER FOUR – written by the pen name of Pittacus Lore – delves into a different type of supernatural, the one that is reminiscent of older films, television shows, and comics that brought forth the element of aliens on Earth.
Number Four, known in his new town of Paradise, OH, as John Smith – is one of nine Lorien children sent to Earth when their planet was destroyed by the Mogadorians. Consequently, the evil ones who are simply known as Mogs throughout the novel are searching for the nine and must kill them in order. John’s time is up and it’s a race to defeat the Mogs and continue living as best as he can.
Suspenseful and jam-packed with action, I AM NUMBER FOUR, which is the first of six planned novels in the LORIEN LEGACIES series, is a book that seems like it will be a crazy, good-time read. And it is although there is cause for some confusion at times and moments when the reader may have to sit back and think, “How is that even possible?” but in a way that the question is more “Did the authors (Jobie Hughes and James Frey) really think this through?” The important thing to note here is that it is for teens and young adults. While many adults seem to be reading it (as seen through a few of the reviews on Amazon), it is geared to the whims of teenage boys so there’s more learning about powers and more about the need for John to fight than the romance aspect. As a whole, many of the elements of I AM NUMBER FOUR can claim to be inspired by many other works – X-MEN, the Olympian series from Rick Riordan, and the likes.
For many, I AM NUMBER FOUR falls flat against many of the popular books out today, but if read as completely separate, it can be a satisfying and fun time. There’s nothing “deep” or “moving” here; it is, simply put, an all-out fight for survival as a high school student. Superpowers he may have, but at the core of it all, is a boy who wants to be normal, who wants to live life like those around him, who wants to go to the movies, have fun, maybe kiss a girl. In the recent slew of dystopian novels where teenagers are thriving to be the best of the best, I AM NUMBER FOUR relays what it is like to want to fall under the radar sometimes, to want to breathe in and let it all out and have nothing supernatural happen.
The writing is simple and there are cliches abound but the premise is exciting. Not all characters are important but those that are manage to stir emotions while reading. A few of the secondary characters – Henri and Sam in particular – are actually more interesting than the novel’s main character. I find this fact both wonderful in that those not completely in the spotlight have the ability to grab my attention and a shame since it should be John’s story to be told.
While not the most in-depth novel you’ll find for the year, I AM NUMBER FOUR is definitely one to read. I, for one, can’t wait for the rest of the series.