I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

March 20, 2012
By RedRed BRONZE, Hampotn, Virginia
RedRed BRONZE, Hampotn, Virginia
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Lore, Pittacus. I am Number Four. Harper, 2010. 440p. 9780061969553
From the very beginning of the novel, the reader learns that the main character in I am Number Four is an alien from another planet called Lorien, and he is one of the few of his kind that are still alive. He traveled to Earth with nine others like him, called Garde, and each Garde also has a mentor or guardian, called a Cepan, meant to train each of them to fight and use their powers. When they all left their dying home planet, a spell was placed on them in which they can only be killed in a certain order. Our protagonist is Number Four on the list, and when the story starts, he is the one the enemy aliens, or the Mogadorians, are aiming for next. After Number Three was killed, leaving a third heavy burn scar on all of the Garde to warn them, our protagonist and his Cepan move to Paradise, Ohio.
As the book goes on, the reader realizes that I am Number Four is not well thought out. Look at the characters. John may be notable for having superpowers and being a descendant of a dying alien race, but past all of that, you just have a boy who likes to tell the reader how awesome he is compared to us and how he just wants to be normal. And Henri, John’s Cepan, fulfills the usual mentor/father role given to many other mentors of great heroes. Furthermore, Sarah is an extremely generic love interest. She’s a smart, pretty, and nice girl who has absolutely no other trait that makes her stand out in a sea of Mary Sues.
In addition to the disappointing lack of character establishment, the overall story and writing is not much better. The Garde as a race are granted every conceivable super power imaginable, from invisibility and teleportation to wielding fire and controlling storms. And even before they are granted these powers, they can levitate objects and accomplish superior feats such as running great distances. The first half of the novel deals mostly with John dealing with bullies and falling in love with Sarah while only brushing upon Lorien history and training John to fight. This may bother some readers who have seen this scenario countless times before. And lastly, the novel overall is shallow. It gives off the feeling that the premise of the story was invented in one sitting and meant to be sold and made into a mainstream film. Although action-packed and full of cool aliens and their gifts, it doesn’t leave the reader wanting to read more, and this reviewer personally does not want to return to see the adventures of John Smith to its conclusion.

The author's comments:
I won second place in my high school book club book review writing contest with this entry. The sponsors encouraged me to submit it to you.

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