Thursday, 14 July 2016

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore (Lorien Legacies, #1) - Book Review

4.5/5 Stars

He was once one of nine. Three of them have been killed.

John is Number Four. He knows that he is next...

Edition: Paperback
Pages: 374
Chapters: 34
Publisher: Penguin Books

Book Links: Goodreads
                      Author's Website (I think, at least in relation to the series.)


I've had I Am Number Four on my list of books to read for a long, long time, and finally, I've got around to it. I've seen good reviews, I've seen bad reviews, I've seen contention surrounding the author, or authors, or ghostwriters, but, for the most part, I just want to talk about the book.

I love it!

Sure, there are some iffy elements and some stretches in belief, but, as a whole, I Am Number Four creates an adrenaline-fuelled world with great lore and epic battles. It's a mix that stuns, as long as you don't look too closely. I didn't, not because I didn't want to, but the kind of novel this is just doesn't warrant a lot of scrutiny. It's feisty fun with aliens and superpowers, and on that, it delivers.

Synopsis (This time round, I'll be using the blurb that comes with my edition of the book.)


John Smith is not your average teenager.

He regularly moves from small town to small town. He changes his name and identity. He does not put down roots. He cannot tell anyone who or what he really is. If he stops moving those who hunt him will find and kill him.

So when he stops in Paradise, Ohio, John decides to try and settle down. To fit in. And for the first time he makes some real friends. People he cares about - and who care about him. Never in John's short life has there been space for friendship, or even love.

But it's just a matter of time before John's secret is revealed.

He was once one of nine. Three of them have been killed.

John is Number Four. He knows that he is next...

Plot - 4.5/5 Stars

I Am Number Four treats us with a rapid-fire beginning: Action, intrigue, and an unquenchable thirst for more drive the reader into the meat of the story. From there things slow down and, with intermittent bouts of adrenaline, the author cultivates some surprisingly solid chemistry between cast members.

As is expected when grabbing the first book in a series, exposition can be pretty heavy. This is the case in this novel, but despite the more ludicrous lore, I Am Number Four sets up some exciting mythology. It raises some questions and answers some others, but overall it does a good job of building foundations and hooking the reader as they search for solutions to their curiosity.

Enjoy young adult novels where the teenage protagonist tries to manage his new and fantastical powers? (And, of course, attempts to do this in secrecy.) Well, this novel handles it well. Predictable, sure, but nonetheless fun.

We're even in store for a little romance, but, thankfully, it doesn't overshadow the plot's magic as it builds to a massive finale. Which, as you can guess, is massive.

The end is chaotic, in both a good and bad way. There's so much action, so many surprises, and a prolonged sequence of events that ravage you emotionally if you become as invested in the cast as I am. But, that also creates some excess. The chaos can sometimes be too frantic, leaving you reading over passages again and again to try and structure what exactly is happening in your mind. And some things go without an explanation, relying on the ol' 'it must be magic!' (not a quote from the book) to smooth things over.

But, aside from the bad, the last half is fantastic and heartbreaking.

Pace - 4.5/5 Stars

The story progresses at a steady pace, at least for the first half, which takes the precious time to build the lore and characters. It also builds the anticipation, and the final half delivers everything you could hope for with genuine aplomb. 

Some readers, especially ones that have read a few young adult novels and are tired of the same old plots, will probably have a harder time. I didn't, mainly because I was in the mood for exactly what the book offers, but I Am Number Four has a mostly predictable structure, despite it doing a good job with it.

Characters - 4/5 Stars

I Am Number Four's cast will surprise you. The characters aren't spectacular, and they're pretty straight forward, but, they do have chemistry and growth that are thoughtful and built with care. From hero John, the surrogate father Henri, Sam with his observational skills and loyalty, to Sarah and her capacity for kindness, each individual fits, and the book never feels encumbered by its people.

Dialogue between members can sometimes be stilted, but the time and care that has gone into building situations and character reactions really knits a tight group of lovable people. 

Writing - 4/5 Stars

The writing can sometimes be a little vague, with some scenes blurry thanks to information that doesn't clarify the picture. Once finished, you'll probably have a bunch of questions you feel should have been answered in this instalment, but, overall, you'll have enough enthusiasm to carry you onwards.

Conversations can be awkward in places, too, pulling an eye roll, or five, from you. 

As a whole, though, I Am Number Four delivers an amazing mythology that leads to action and intense relationships. The first-person narrative coupled with the present tense ensures a speedy flow, marking the novel as one that won't consume much of your time and is overall a fun adventure.

Overall - 4.5/5 Stars

A thrilling alien-focused story with superpowers and horrific enemies.

Exactly what the doctor ordered, for the most part.

Next Instalment: The Power of Six

Add me, follow me, let's get talking!

Don't forget, you can subscribe by email near the bottom of the blog (on desktop version) and have new posts delivered straight to you!

No comments:

Post a Comment