I am Number 4, by Pitticus Lore, 2010, Book Review

I-Am-Number-Four“Number 1 is dead. Number 2 is dead. Number 3 is dead. I am number 4…”

If you like aliens and sci-fi, I Am Number Four is for you. It’s so loaded with action and suspense it is impossible to put down. I know I’m coming to this late, that there is already a movie of this title (how’d they do that so fast?), but the book has been out less than a year so there must be some folks who haven’t read it yet. Okay, maybe two or three.

This writing is as good as it gets. Pitticus Lore, Lorien’s ruling Elder, has set down for us the events of the tragic war between the planet of Lorien and the evil, invading Mogadorians who have destroyed their own planet. Only nine escaped, including John Smith. Of course this isn’t his real name. John, along with the others, has been living on Earth for 10 years, growing up, developing his powers, and hiding from the Mogadorians who are hunting him. Hunting all of them. But as part of the magic of the Loric charm, the nine can only be killed in order. John is number four.

But John is also fifteen years old and sick of running. He complains to Henri, his Keeper, that he wants a normal childhood, with friends and a girlfriend. He finds both in Paradise, Ohio. But the Mogadorians also find him there.

I have mixed feelings about some of the content in this book which I will put down for readers and parents to consider. It uses profanity quite casually. Not as bad as some I’ve read recently, but I still find it unnecessary. It is violent, but in an unrealistic, alien sort of way. The interaction between John and his girlfriend is very innocent, and Henri proudly reminds him that Loriens mate for life. There’s lots of pushing to “save the planet” and not be like the Mogdorians who trashed theirs. I get sick of hearing this mantra everywhere, but it is rather essential for this plot. And finally, the planet Lorien is practically God in this book, the source of life, of power, of the supernatural; the object of worship.

This is hard-core sci-fi, and one of the most creative stories I’ve read this year. Definitely one of the most well-constructed. I recommend it with a note of caution. I’d definitely place it in the 13 or older category.

Sequels: The Power of Six will be released August 23, 2011 and can currently be preordered.

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