Title: I Am Number Four (Lorien Legacies)
Author: Pittacus Lore
Release Date: August 3, 2010
Genre: Teen/YA, Science Fiction
Rating: 3 out of 5
10 years ago, 10 Lorien children managed to flee their homeworld, which was being consumed in an attack by the Mogadorians. Along with their guardians and protectors, they fled to Earth, to grow up in anonymity until a time they can return to Lorien and reclaim it for their race. They have a charm put on them, so they cannot be killed except in order, from one through ten. The novel opens with Number Four receiving news that Number Three has been killed, which can mean only one thing – that he is next.
Sometimes I wish I had a dual rating system for YA books – the strength of the mythology and creativity of the story would be one rating. The other would be the likability (or in this case, sheer stupidity) of the main character. I enjoyed the premise behind I Am Number Four. It was creative and was set up such that there are a lot of secrets to uncover along the way. I appreciated the development of the mythology and was excited to see it fully fleshed out along the way. But then. Oh, but then.
I could not stand the main character, Number Four, or John Smith as he goes by in the novel. He irked me to no end, continually wrapped up in his selfish teenager ways rather than taking his situation seriously. I cannot tell you how tired I am of reading books about teenagers that risk anything and everything because they decide they’d rather hang out with their boyfriend (or in this case, girlfriend). I mean, John dates a girl for a few weeks and decides he’d rather risk his own life and his guardian’s (and of course, that means the future of two planets as well as Number Five, wherever he or she might be) because he doesn’t want to leave his brand new girlfriend. This is why I don’t read a lot of YA anymore, because this self-centeredness and sense of self-importance seems to permeate the genre and drives me up the wall. Predictably, John’s selfish decision leads to all kinds of catastrophe.
I Am Number Four had a lot of promise and I hate that the main character really just ruined it for me. The bright side is that it’s the first in a series and sequels always fare much better with regards to irksome main characters because they’ve usually finally learned their lesson by the end of the book, and that seems to be the case here. I haven’t decided whether I’ll be picking up the sequel, but if it focuses more on the main storyline, rather than John’s teen antics, it’s a safe bet that I will. If the whole teenagers acting like idiots thing doesn’t bother you, then you probably will enjoy I Am Number Four a lot more than I did. If it does, though, I won’t tell you not to read it, but I will caution you that it can be very frustrating at times. Overall, though, the novel has a promising mythology and I’m curious to see how it develops.