Book Review: I Am Number Four – Pittacus Lore

Title: I Am Number Four (Lorien Legacies)
Author: Pittacus Lore
ISBN: 9780061969553
Pages: 448
Release Date: August 3, 2010
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: Teen/YA, Science Fiction
Source: Publisher
Rating: 3 out of 5

Summary:

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.

Review:

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.

Comments

  1. That sounds like a good dual rating system for speculative fiction in general, not just young adult fiction.

    Teenagers are the main reason I avoid young adult fiction–if I wanted to listen to someone whine about their girlfriend, I’d swing by my old high school.

  2. That sounds like a good dual rating system for speculative fiction in general, not just young adult fiction.

    Teenagers are the main reason I avoid young adult fiction–if I wanted to listen to someone whine about their girlfriend, I’d swing by my old high school.

  3. I’ve read similar things in other reviews, so you aren’t alone in your feelings!

  4. I’ve read similar things in other reviews, so you aren’t alone in your feelings!

  5. I gave this book the exact same rating on goodreads (I don’t rate on my blog).

    However, my main problem stemmed from the fact that I’ve read this story before only the characters had different names. Like, I feel this trope has been beaten to death and the main change this time was the alien thing, which I thought actually redeemed the book, as the Lorien lore was so awesome to read about.

    BUT YES, THIS to the selfish teen. Are you kidding me? If I was in that situation my parents would not have given me some sort of choice like that, they would be all you’ll meet someone else no use putting your life at risk. /endrant

  6. I gave this book the exact same rating on goodreads (I don’t rate on my blog).

    However, my main problem stemmed from the fact that I’ve read this story before only the characters had different names. Like, I feel this trope has been beaten to death and the main change this time was the alien thing, which I thought actually redeemed the book, as the Lorien lore was so awesome to read about.

    BUT YES, THIS to the selfish teen. Are you kidding me? If I was in that situation my parents would not have given me some sort of choice like that, they would be all you’ll meet someone else no use putting your life at risk. /endrant

  7. The teen angst and bad decision making is one of the reasons that I feel alienated from so much of the YA that is out there today. I am not big on snotty and precocious teenagers, and I imagine that this book probably would have driven me crazy. It’s too bad though, because it does sound like it has a really interesting premise! Thanks for the fantastically honest review!

  8. The teen angst and bad decision making is one of the reasons that I feel alienated from so much of the YA that is out there today. I am not big on snotty and precocious teenagers, and I imagine that this book probably would have driven me crazy. It’s too bad though, because it does sound like it has a really interesting premise! Thanks for the fantastically honest review!

  9. I don’t have to like a main character to enjoy a book but I generally don’t like the book if I loathe the him/her.

  10. I don’t have to like a main character to enjoy a book but I generally don’t like the book if I loathe the him/her.

  11. Thanks so much for dropping by my blog! You seem to be a very eclectic reader – now following you 🙂

  12. Thanks so much for dropping by my blog! You seem to be a very eclectic reader – now following you 🙂

  13. Teens do make horrible decisions. The thing I asked myself is could a teen handle this much pressure? The fate of two worlds, all up to him? Teens are quazi-adults who have hormones and they do make bad decisions, it should have been up to Henri to make them move but he was stupid for feeling pity for the boy because they moved so much.

  14. Teens do make horrible decisions. The thing I asked myself is could a teen handle this much pressure? The fate of two worlds, all up to him? Teens are quazi-adults who have hormones and they do make bad decisions, it should have been up to Henri to make them move but he was stupid for feeling pity for the boy because they moved so much.

  15. I’m with you … I’m having a hard time embracing a lot of YA because of the idiocy of so many of the characters … but the books do tend to have some irresistable premises that keep sucking me in!

  16. I’m with you … I’m having a hard time embracing a lot of YA because of the idiocy of so many of the characters … but the books do tend to have some irresistable premises that keep sucking me in!

  17. This book sounds good, but I am rather sick of stupid main characters at the moment, so I imagine this book would just annoy me!

  18. This book sounds good, but I am rather sick of stupid main characters at the moment, so I imagine this book would just annoy me!

  19. I’ve been on the fence about this book. I think I’ll pick it up from my library when/if they get it.

    I get what you’re saying about teenagers in YA novels not having their priorities in order. It does get irritating at times but that how teenagers are; they don’t have a complete understanding of the way things work and they think they’re invincible. I love reading YA but I need a break from time to time for that reason and because of all the built up sexual tension. Sometimes a gal needs a release by way of hunky alpha males 😉

  20. I’ve been on the fence about this book. I think I’ll pick it up from my library when/if they get it.

    I get what you’re saying about teenagers in YA novels not having their priorities in order. It does get irritating at times but that how teenagers are; they don’t have a complete understanding of the way things work and they think they’re invincible. I love reading YA but I need a break from time to time for that reason and because of all the built up sexual tension. Sometimes a gal needs a release by way of hunky alpha males 😉

  21. I have a hard time reading books if I really hate the characters. This book is sitting on my shelf, so I guess I’ll find out soon enough.

  22. I have a hard time reading books if I really hate the characters. This book is sitting on my shelf, so I guess I’ll find out soon enough.

  23. thanks for such an honest write up. I’d been thinking about picking this book up. . . but whiny angsty teenagers are a bit of a turn off for me, so maybe I’ll skip it, or library it.

    and now I know why i don’t read a lot of YA!

  24. thanks for such an honest write up. I’d been thinking about picking this book up. . . but whiny angsty teenagers are a bit of a turn off for me, so maybe I’ll skip it, or library it.

    and now I know why i don’t read a lot of YA!

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