I Am Number Four (Lorien Legacies)
by Pittacus Lore
Review by Steve Sawicki
Harper Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780061969553
Date: 01 August 2010 List Price $17.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
A boy (high school aged) and an adult flee Florida after the death of a similar pair of individuals in the Congo. They are fleeing to Ohio, where they will once again set up a temporary life while they wait. They have done this before and they plan to do it again. What they did not plan on was the boy coming into his powers, their discovery by the beings who have been looking for them, and for the boy to make friends and fall in love. The boy has had many names but now goes by John Smith. He's really an alien, a Lorien, and he, along with 9 others are the last remaining hope of their race. They are hiding from the Mogadorians who are trying to totally wipe them out. The only hope is that John and the others will find the time to grow into their powers so they can combat the other aliens and win back the chance for their race to be reborn. There were nine in total but three are dead and John is number four.
The story here is a bit cheesy and targeted, I am guessing, at the YA market. I'm not positive because it's not marked as such anywhere on the book. But, it's certainly written as if that's the market. While I don't generally have a problem with YA novels, this one plays a bit loose with plot and story and I would have a hard time using it as an introduction to the genre. Perhaps the writer knew this as well, which explains why the book is being marketed as a factual record rather than as a novel and the author's name is unknown, masked behind the alien recorder, Pitticus Lore.
This is a pretty thick book, considering the lack of anything actually happening within it. On the plus side the book is pretty well written and does draw you in, if only to have you end up feeling vexed at the lack of plot and movement. The characters are a bit wooden and the situations a bit too self-resolving and static, almost as if the book were written by someone new to SF; someone who knew of the tropes but was unfamiliar with their variety. I'm not sure how to recommend this book. It was well written to the extent that I did finish it but when I got to the end I was less than satisfied with the experience. I suppose that means I'm somewhere in the middle. Not a bad read overall although I think you can make better choices.