Tuesday, April 23, 2013

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

This is one of those e-books I downloaded to my reader when I was going away, and I just grabbed something from my library's digital catalog that sounded good without knowing much about it. I certainly didn't realize it was a movie (apparently I just don't get out that much these days!), but it sounded like an interesting premise:
...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.
And it did start out fairly promising. John Smith, the young alien teen hero in question, has spent his life on the run. His only companion is his guardian, whose job is to take care of him until John's unknown superpowers will hopefully show up when he hits adolescence.  In a fairly predictable turn of events, they end up in a small town where John falls in love with a fellow classmate and actually makes some friends for the first time. When it comes time to run again, John resists and some action-adventure chaos and mayhem ensue.

I honestly had a hard time finishing this one. John does nothing but whine about his circumstances for so much of the book that I found myself losing what sympathy I had for him. When the entire future of his species depends on him being responsible, and instead of focusing on his developing powers, he takes needless risks for pointless reasons. Soon the plot spirals way out of control, beyond my capacity to suspend disbelief.

Much of the plot also depends on one character needlessly withholding information from another, which is one of my literary pet peeves. In all fairness, many teen readers are unlikely to have the issues I did, and my 8th grader has mentioned that one of her classmates is obsessed with this series, so it might just be me. At any rate, I feel no need to continue beyond this first book, but I still do recommended to those who may enjoy it more than I did when I'm helping teens find books at my library.

Books in the Lorien Legacies series:
1. I Am Number Four
2. The Rise of Six
3. The Power of Nine
4. The Fall of Five

I Am Number Four (#1 in the Lorien Legacies series) by Pittacus Lore (HarperCollins, 2010)

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