I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Publishing Info: 2011 by Penguin (first published 2010)
Star Rating: 4/5
Back Cover Summary:
Nine of us came here. We look like you. We talk like you. We live among you. But we are not you. We can do things you dream of doing. We have powers you dream of having. We are stronger and faster than anything you have ever seen. We are the superheroes you worship in movies and comic books–but we are real.
Our plan was to grow, and train, and become strong, and become one, and fight them. But they found us and started hunting us first. 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.
This is one of those rare occasions where I actually watched the film before I read the book. The film came out a few years ago now and I’ve watched it many times. I heard it wasn’t as good as the book (what a surprise) but just really liked the characters. I was therefore hopeful about the book. Even so I put off reading it for a long time, even though it was on my shelf waiting, because the experience of reading a book after seeing a film adaptation just isn’t the same. You already have expectations of what’s going to happen. Nevertheless I did enjoy reading I Am Number Four, and am keen to read the rest of the series to find out where the story goes.
At first I found it hard to read. I couldn’t get into the style of writing. There were a lot of clipped, short sentences and it read a little odd, almost like it hadn’t been edited yet. In the end though I decided it was deliberately written that way, because the style was consistent. I did eventually get used to it though.
The plot isn’t really anything new, unfortunately. Aliens arrive on Earth and guess what, the bad aliens want to (insert bad thing here) take over/destroy the planet. I liked the idea that Number Four and the others had to be killed in order because of the charm protecting them. There wasn’t much unique or new about the plot though.
One thing I did like about the book compared to the film is that there was a lot more information about Lorien, the planet John and Henri came from. I felt like I cared more about their mission when reading the book because I got to see what Lorien was like and the invasion of the Mogadorians. Along with some other back story and detail.
The characters were the best part of this book for me. I really liked John as the narrator but there is also a great cast of characters alongside him. For some reason the animal is always one of the best characters. I loved the dog, Bernie Kosar.
I think I would have disliked the romance if I hadn’t seen the film. Having seen it many times the idea of John and Sarah being together was quite ingrained in my brain. When you read the book though there is some insta-love vibes going on which I usually hate.
A lot of the end fight sequence was hard to follow, especially one part where John was facing off a particular Mogadorian. I just couldn’t follow what was happening very easily which took all the tension and suspense out of the scene. It was too messy. The whole end ‘battle’ scene was a bit too chaotic.
Overall I liked it, but there are some problems with it. It’s hard to imagine what I would have thought about this book if I hadn’t seen the film. I have a feeling I wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much. Whereas having seen the film I was already invested in the characters and their story. I will probably pick the next book up out of curiosity.