Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

Pittacus who?! Don't worry, it's one of those Lemmony Snikett things. 

I'd never heard of this book before the movie came out (which I did not go and see) and even then I didn't realize it was a book until I started hanging out on GoodReads.  I never saw a commercial or preview for the movie prior to reading the book and when it came out in the theater I remember thinking, "huh, I wonder what that's about."  I couldn't have been all that curious tho, since I never took the time to find out.

So how'd I end up reading it? Well, I needed to come up with something to listen to on my commute quickly because I hadn't planned on finishing Ghost Story so fast.  It was on several of my GoodRead friends' to-be-read list and it showed up on my library's new audiobook arrival list (via Overdrive). So I downloaded it.

I Am Number Four is the story of a boy and his mentor who escaped their home planet (with eight others and their mentors) after it is invaded (and apparently stripped of all its resources) by a hostile race of beings known as the Mogadorians.  The exiles have been hiding on Earth awaiting the development of their powers so they can return to retake their home world, but the Mogadorians have followed them and are hunting them down one at a time.  Due to a charm placed on the nine by a Loric elder, the children can only be killed in numeric order.  As the book kicks off the first three have been tracked down and killed.  "John Smith" is number four.

I wanted to like this book more than I do, which is not to say that it's awful or anything.  To me it's pretty average.  That is, I mostly enjoyed the read, but there's nothing spectatular here.  The characters are fairly run of the mill and therefore not all that memorable.  The plot is pretty generic and somewhat predictable. The writing is unremarkable unless you take into account that it was written by an alien, presumably, whose native language is not English, in which case Pittacus is remarkably fluent (you can't see it, but I'm rolling my eyes here).

The story suffers from some pretty egregious logic errors that are difficult to ignore. For a brief, spoiler filled example of a couple of these, click on the following link:

» Click to show Spoiler - click again to hide... «

If you can put these errors behind you and just go with it, the story is not horrible, but if you're like me, you may struggle with the ending as well.  I found it to be pretty contrived which adversely affected my enjoyment of the book.

» Click to show Spoiler - click again to hide... «

I Am Number Four was good enough so that I will likely read The Power of Six but I won't be rushing to get to it and I have an awful lot on my to-read-list.


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