Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Book Review - I Am Number Four

My rating = 3 stars

This book is the first volume of a new YA series by elusive author Pittacus Lore. The series is about nine children who are evacuated from their home planet Lorien, along with their guardians, and brought to Earth to escape annihilation from another alien race, the Mogodorians. As the children grow, they begin to receive their legacies, or special powers, which will ultimately help them fight the Mogodorian race and redeem Lorien from utter destruction. The Mogodorians are also on Earth, hunting down the children. Because of a special charm on the children, the children can only be killed in numerical order, and when one child is killed, all the other children instantly have a scar appear on their leg. I Am Number Four follows the adventures of child Number Four, John Smith, as he begins to receive his legacies, and as he and his guardian try to stay hidden in the remote town of Paradise, Ohio.

This book was the monthly selection for my book club. There are several women in the group who love YA books. I am not one of them, but I am always willing to read new and different stuff, and the book club helps me expand my horizons. In my opinion, this book is on the good side of mediocre. Being a YA book, with a very simple writing style, it was a very fast read. I think I finished it in less than 3 days. All of the characters actions and movements are spelled out in great detail, so it almost felt like I was reading a movie script. The author does a fairly good job setting up the plot and characters, and the plot moved very smoothly throughout the entire book.

The two main characters, 15-year old John and his guardian Henri, are loners that have to keep moving from place to place so the Mogodorians don't detect them. The author establishes this very clearly in the beginning, and it seems the characters are both accepting of this long-standing rule. So when the pair arrives in Paradise, it didn't jive very well with me that John suddenly is attracted to girls and refuses to leave when they are in peril. A I read, I kept wondering, "Why now? Why does this boy, in the middle of puberty, suddenly notice girls now? Why does he decide to rebel against all rules now?" For any normal teenager, rebellion and sexual attraction don't happen overnight. Of course, if the author didn't bring up these obstacles in the main character, there wouldn't be a story. But I think it could have been worked into the character development a little better.

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