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Lorien Legacies #1

I Am Number Four

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Nine of us came here. We look like you. We talk like you. We live among you. But we are not you. We can do things you dream of doing. We have powers you dream of having. We are stronger and faster than anything you have ever seen. We are the superheroes you worship in movies and comic books--but we are real.

Our plan was to grow, and train, and become strong, and become one, and fight them. But they found us and started hunting us first. Now all of us are running. Spending our lives in shadows, in places where no one would look, blending in. We have lived among you without you knowing.

But they know.

They caught Number One in Malaysia.
Number Two in England.
And Number Three in Kenya.
They killed them all.

I am Number Four.

I am next.

440 pages, Hardcover

First published August 3, 2010

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About the author

Pittacus Lore

85 books11.4k followers
Pittacus Lore is Lorien’s ruling Elder. He has been on Earth preparing for the war that will decide Earth’s fate. His whereabouts are unknown.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 16,763 reviews
Profile Image for Roohdaar.
165 reviews1,804 followers
July 2, 2016
This book is so strange and awful, it's hard to explain exactly why I dislike it.

Thank God this book didn't live up to its hype like Twilight did. At least I hope it didn't because I don't really hear much about this one.

I couldn't get past chapter nine. It was such a bloody bore. I decided to give it time for me to find that little "spark." But, no.

Now here are the problems:

1. Lore can't use the word "and" in the proper way. Which seems like it's not a big of a deal, but it is! He randomly places it and tries to get his readers to understand his reading and it's quite awful.
2. The characters are all bland and pathetic. John seems to have a false sense of bravado. Henri makes me want to bang my head against the wall. And don't get me started on Sarah. The characters are so emotionless. No depth.
3. Lore tends to forget the most significant details regarding his plot. It's like, "OH I FORGOT TO MENTION WHAT MY POWERS ARE!" "OH, WAIT! MY NAME IS ---"
4. His writing is dull and boring in every possible way. It reminds me of Fitzgerald's writing.
Profile Image for Lucy.
102 reviews1,814 followers
December 9, 2010
The language and phrasing is really simplistic, which wasn't bad, but the story itself makes no sense whatsoever. It blends genres and not delicately. I feel like the concept of the novel was born before the characters and logic wasn't worked out around it.

I Am Number Four is about John Smith, a teenage boy who is actually an alien from another planet. I'm going to give a breakdown of some of the flaws with the story.

1. John has a guardian from his planet, but the guardian has no special abilities. It's like the author realized a bunch of little kids couldn't crash land on the planet and run amok so he gave them each a single adult -- but the kids have to be the special ones. So the adult alien is another species of humanoid alien from the planet, but a sort of servant species.

2. The servant species of aliens are powerless, but their life goals are to train the powerful mutants. Um... why? Why would you put the power training in the hands of the un-powered species? The powered species seems to be just as numerous, if not more so, then the un-powered species. So really -- why. I know! Ao that the adults accompanying the children have a purpose!! Also, the author doesn't seem to want to refer to them as slaves or servants, which waters down the whole situation and makes it even more convoluted.

3. The aliens got their powers as a gift from the planet for protecting it and reversing the damage they did to it. Of course, the servant species works just as hard but they get no 'magic.' Evolution does /not/ work that way and it is never explained why only one humanoid race developed powers.

4. The children are protected by a 'charm' that means they can only be killed in order. Why a charm? This is what I mean about mixing genres. First it's science fiction, but instead of using any understanding of science to explain the situation the author leaps to magic because that doesn't need to be explained!! After all, he's writing a children's book so who gives a frig? There are a thousand more creative ways to say why they must be killed in order. Or even that the race hunting them is methodical and hunting them in age order since age dictates when they get their powers. Or that they are impossible to identify before they manifest their powers. It was just like he reached the fastest conclusion possible and then stopped thinking, job done.

5. There's absolutely /no/ visible reason for the aggressive alien race to hunt the nine children into extinction. They wiped out a planet, an entire PLANET, filled with older, trained aliens without breaking a sweat. The children represent no threat.

6. The aggressive alien race is interested in earth, but they're still dedicating most of their time to hunting these nine stranglers. When you wipe out earth you're going to get them anyway, guys. What's with the obsession?

7. The charm breaks if any of the children come together. They go through pains to stay scattered. One of them deliberately breaks this so they can gather together to make a stand. Your /entire/ race made a stand and they died, you fucking tool.

The characters are charmless. The male lead is stupid and pigheaded and clearly the author's suave wish-I-was in high school. He's very I can kick your ass puny mortals, but I won't. The lead makes many stupid, stupid choices that endanger everyone around him and break all the rules set up in the beginning of the book.

The female lead is a hot ex-cheerleader who choose to be 'good and kind' to everyone instead of being popular. The author wants you to know that the male lead could screw a blonde head cheerleader, but he has depth and intensity and soul. So he's going to bang the one who wants to rescue strays and take beautiful black and white photos of flowers. It's CONTRIVED. I didn't like either of them, nor did their romance ever feel even slightly real.

In essence, this book was lazily written, barely edited (there's several typos in the book) and pure crap. It's a money making scheme and a waste of time for any semi-intelligent reader.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Joyzi.
340 reviews422 followers
February 28, 2011
Movie Update
I already watched the movie and it was better than the book. The romance was still gushy and mushy but at least the dialogues were a lot better in the movie. Also the movie was more fast paced and was action-packed at the end of the show. I think the dog was really cute and Number Six was really cool in the movie. Sam was also likable in the film. After watching Alex Pettyfer act on the screen for the first time I got to say he deserve and he's fitted for the Peeta Mellark and Jace Wayland roles.

Alex P. Loses His Shirt on the Ellen Show

(OMG I think I died watching it^^)

Movie Trailer


This looks pretty bad-ass and WTH, why was there a kissing scene? Die Diana Argon DIE!!!

Movie Posters





Who's excited for the movie? (^_____^) *hyperventilating*


What the hell!

For the love of Alex Pettyfer, I will watch the movie and will read this book!

***Note: The post above are my insane thoughts before reading the book, pardon my fan girling obscenities. Book Review below.

***Note: Pardon the fan girling(for the second time), the review will contains lots of it. Enjoy ^^

(I'm not going to review the book yet(book review down there somewhere)...you can skimmed through, this is just my craziness.)

[image error]

Alex Pettyfer Pictures, Images and Photos

Move over BITCHES! Alex Pettyfer is MINE, MINE, MINE . *attacks another fan girl* (Sorry I just have a manic episode, I forgot to take Lithium Carbonate this morning *evil laugh*.)
(Again fan girling craziness...*you can skimmed through*)

Now before I'm going to review the book I'd like to tell you a story about how I met Alex Pettyfer (yum yum). Story time now! --So I read this book City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments Trilogy) by Cassandra Clare (If you haven't read this you're doomed!) and I was soooooooooo obsessed with it! Then I go to YOUTUBE and watch all this fan made videos of the book and I came upon this video wherein they posted their ideal casts for the movie something something something. Yeah and then Alex Pettyfer was the ideal cast for JACE WAYLAND *screams*. And when I see Alex Pettyfer "nalaglag panty ko" (translation: my panty falls off) figuratively . (Wait! What the hell did I just write, my panty falls off figuratively O_o????, forget I wrote that it's just my alter ego talking)

**Note: Okay I shut up for now, will continue tomorrow. The Mogadorians are attacking my house *panic, panic*. See you later, Alligater!

Fighting the Mogadorians OVER Now back to review...

IM BACK!!! Do you miss me? *nods* I miss you too! *VERY MOOCH!*

So where the hell are we? So as I was saying I love Alex Pettyfer from the moment I saw him I think he's the one I'm going to marry someday (Don't mind me it's my alter ego talking again). Nah I just think he looks like an angel that's all *scratch that I'm being cheesy*.
Okay fan girling over, I'm going to review the book now *I bet you're excited*

Dun Dun Dun Dun Ba Na Na Na


So Okay, The Book Started Like This:


My Reaction To That Was: *Epic Face*(please don't ask me what my epic face looks like) Awesome!!! *jumps up and down*

--Kidding, that didn't really happen ^^...Wait are you disappointed?--


Okay wait I'll translate it for you Not Pinoy Folks *panic panic*
(Translation: WTF IS THIS!
.<) I'm not a translator 'kay *hides from Translator Nazis*>)

So my point is the book is ridiculous (Come on!!!), from the first page I know it will suck but I continue reading anyway *blame this on my fan girling*.

Okay to make this review somehow organize, I'm going to use Pros and Cons *sorry I'm that obsessive-compulsive*.

Pros (a.k.a the good stuff):
1. There is a scene wherein Alex Pettyfer Number Four will only be in boxers. (Sweeeet^^)
2. There is a scene wherein Alex Pettyfer Number Four will be on the shower. (Drools^^)
3. There is a scene wherein Alex Pettyfer Number Four will be shirtless because his shirt was burned. (DIE BITCHES!)

--Okay Pros over, on with the cons--

Cons (a.k.a the things I complained about)
1. The book is ridiculous (wait I already said that, sorry!). In fact this is so ridiculous I need to repeat myself, that's how ridiculous it is. Say it again -- RIDIKKULUS -- (using your Harry Potter voice) *too weird scratch that*
2. This is just overrated.
3. The story reminds me of Dragonball Z.
4. The book for most parts is booooorrrrrrriiiing.
5. Bombarded with cliches, it was predictable.
6. I can't really get into the story, the premise was great but after few pages I don't care about the story and the characters.
7. The author was also a character of the book (Pittacus Lore whoever you may be, Gimme a break!)
8. The romance is mushy!!! *is this MG book or something?*
9. When the plot moves the author uses ridiculous deux-ex-machinas. (again with the word ridiculous is that the word of the day? something something something)
10. The ending was like *Author: Wait I need to have some action now there are a few pages left*--put Number Six in (done)-- put the Scouts (done)-- put the Beasts (done)-- put the soldiers (done).....-- more beast more beast (done)-- change the dog to beast (done)-- add another superpower for the nth time (done)-- kill someone, got to kill someone (done) "Dunn'it!"
11. I lol at this (considered that an understatement!)
About the Author
PITTACUS LOREis Lorien’s ruling Elder. He has been on Earth for the last twelve years, preparing for
the war that will decide Earth’s fate. His whereabout’s are unknown.

Okay the book was OKAY. It wasn't that bad but I really didn't like Alien stories.

MENTAL NOTE TO SELF: Don't ever read something about ALIEN again

Wait there's more:
Fan fiction:
Alex: What two stars? Why?
Self:I don't like alien stories 'kay, I just read it because of you. *winks at Alex*
Alex: So aren't we going to watch the movie anymore?
Self: The hell! I'm going to still watch it okay, you're there for the love of God!
Alex: Okay stop being upset, come here..
**Note: Next scenes were deleted due to Goodreads censorship**

Profile Image for Ken.
Author 3 books969 followers
July 15, 2010
I AM NUMBER FOUR is actually number four million if you consider the predecessors it is based upon. Meaning? We've been here before. About a bazillion times.

Let's take stock: aliens on Earth disguised as Earthlings. In fact, your neighbor may be a Lorien (the "good guy" planet of concern here) and the haberdasher (way to blend in!) may be a Mogadarian (the "bad guy" aliens who are hunting Lorien-types to the death). Novel idea, eh?

So our protagonist is on his 5,398th alias. It's (steady now) "John Smith" ("John Doe" must have been taken). He is what's called a "Garde" and will get special powers when he hits puberty (I got a cheap Timex). These powers are called "Legacies." Special powers are quite the thing in fantasy YA these days. They go by different names, they borrow shamelessly from Marvel Comics, and they're viral.

Speaking of viral, at 440 pages and at Gate #1 of a projected 6, this book is both too long and too predictable to be extended into a series. Do we blame Harry Potter for this pernicious YA fad? The conceit, you see, is that Mogadarians can only kill the Lorien-types in order. Conveniently enough, Numbers 1, 2, and 3 have been killed before chapter the first. This means (gasp) hold on to your seats action from the get-go as John Smith and his protector (called "Cepans" here) move to a small Ohio town to blend in.

Blending in defined: fall in love with a gorgeous (surprise!) girl named Sarah. Draw the attention and ire of a (surprise!) bully named Mark who happens to also be the captain (surprise!) of the football (surprise!) team and Sarah's ex-boyfriend (surprise!). Get in a fight with Mark and accidentally display your super powers which are supposed to be kept under wraps for fear of attracting Mogadarian attention (remember, one of them could be the janitor, the principal, or even the candlestick maker!).

That's the sort of goings-on you'll get in this book. Characterization? You might as well hunt polar bear in the Everglades. Description and mood? Try finding fine china at Walmart. But oddly, the book will be a big hit with many young readers (especially of the "reluctant" variety) because it's all about plot. Period.

As is often the case with genre reads in YA, I'm torn here. The book's style is choppy and the author's ability to write action scenes filled with inconsistencies and gaps. It's predictable. It's one-dimensional. But it is what it is, and I know a lot of kids will be snapping it up in my classroom this fall -- and liking it, too. Does that mean they have bad taste? Not at all. It means they like action. It means they like plot. It means they are Pittacus Lore's target audience and I should be sure to get this book in their hands.
Profile Image for P .
691 reviews327 followers
November 30, 2016
“It's the little mistakes that lead to big mistakes.”

I Am Number Four was unexpectedly fun. John Smith or Number four is my favorite character. I really loved his wits and the pace of this book, it's insanely fast that I didn't dare to breath when something happened. Pittacus slowly built up tensions through the book, and he abruptly released them at the right time, it worked so well for me I gave 5 stars without hesitation.

“That’s the worst way to miss somebody. When they’re right beside you and you miss them anyway.”

Astounded by the concept and the plot, I was also into the characters and their storylines. John runs away all his life, nowhere is safe for him to stay. But when he meets a girl that he feels something special for her, running is harder to him. That's what the point this book was so interesting for me and I couldn't put it down for hours until I finished it.

Moreover, Reading I Am Number Four was like reading a Japanese manga, it was imaginative and easy to enjoy. The twists were well-planned and very heart-wrenching for me. I don't regret that I picked up this book last year and reread it again today, it will be my standard of reading sci-fi novels from now on.

This is an epitome of the books using a simple narrative, yet it could be overly fun.

“The price of a memory, is the memory of the sorrow it brings.”

That twist, though.

Thai review https://goo.gl/Iz8tOd
341 reviews111 followers
June 16, 2014
I removed my review (and all the comments).

I was tired sick of people writing me lengthy comments about how I read too much realistic fiction (really?), how I can't appreciate something fun and not overly brainy (do tell!) and, in general, all the ways I'm so obtuse for failing to appreciate this crap book.

Sorry trolls people, but my opinions are my own and I still think this book was lame, badly written, unoriginal and an overall neurons-killer.
Profile Image for Jessica.
742 reviews618 followers
February 22, 2011
The Mogadorian caught Number One in Malaysia,
Number Two in England,
And Number Three in Kenya.
I am Number Four.
I am next.

Catchy, isn’t it?

Unfortunately, the story itself isn’t quite as catchy. I was rather underwhelmed, to be honest.

The plot was ok but somehow it only managed to hold my attention for a period of about 10 minutes. After that, I found myself getting bored and my thoughts kept drifting off to random topics like "what’s for dinner" or "shit, I really need to iron that white blouse of mine".

While some parts of the story were quite entertaining, other parts were just so cliché that I almost gave up on the book entirely. I found myself slapping my forehead more often than is healthy and several times I surprised myself (and random people around me) by shouting out loud "Oh come on! Seriously?"

The scenario in a nutshell:

Alien hides out in small town, alien falls in love with human girl, alien goes to party with human girl, party escalates, house starts burning, alien saves human girl from flames (said alien is resistant to fire), alien tells human girl about true identity, human girl has no trouble at all accepting this, alien and human girl lie to police about rescue that should have been impossible, nasty reporter dude gets suspicious of alien and fishy rescue story, chapter ends with reporter dude yelling after alien "I will find the truth! I always do!"

Now tell me, is this worn out or is this worn out?

And this was just one of the scenes that made me want to bang my head on the table. There were more...

The characters also felt kind of flat to me. John aka #4 was nice enough (imagining him as Alex Pettyfer actually helped a lot), I also liked Sam, Henri and even Mark but just like John’s and Sarah’s relationship, the girl herself was dull and just plain boring. I didn’t feel the love, there was absolutely no tension, no tingling, no butterflies, nada, zip, zero, zilch. Just nothing at all that could have triggered any kind of emotion on my part.

I think the characters I liked best were Six (she really kicked ass) and the dog. o_O

Overall this was a solid two stars read for me, seeing as the story did entertain me at times (especially towards the end) and I made it through the book, but it was definitely nothing memorable for me.

I’m really looking forward to the movie, though. I think this might be one of those rare cases where the movie is actually better than the book. We’ll see...
Profile Image for Arlene.
1,164 reviews639 followers
February 11, 2011
Rating Clarification: 4.5 Stars

There is always hope… Don’t give up hope just yet. It’s the last thing to go. When you have lost hope, you have lost everything. So when you think all is lost, when all is dire and bleak, there is always hope.

Wow! Just wow!! Have I ever loved an alien invasion!?! This book was (no pun intended) OUT.OF.THIS.WORLD!

Okay, it’s official… I’m an alien fan and all this business about invasions, them possibly living among us, alternate life forms out there, other planets… sure why the heck not?!? So there you have it… a solid 4.5 stars in my book! Oh who am I kidding!? I pictured Alex Prettyface as #4 throughout the ENTIRE novel and it was actually quite lovely. Grant it the story isn’t bad either. ^^ It’s really quite good and action packed, which kept me up past midnight, but so worth it. So if my review is a ramble that’s because of lack of sleep.

Well let me try and give you a rundown of this book and when I tell you, you’ll probably think “Oh no, she’d truly lost it!” Well I don’t care! I like bizarre at times and slap a Prettyface image in my head and yup, that’s my kind of journey!

John and Henri have spent the last 10 years moving from town to town and keeping to themselves. Anonymity is key to their survival, so staying under the radar and on the move might just buy them time, but the inevitable is about to occur. John is what is known as #4. Numbers 1 through 3 have already been found and k!lled in that order and he’s the next of nine children and nine Cepan who were chosen to leave their planet and go to Earth to live, hopefully survive, and one day come back to restore to their beautiful planet. They escaped to Earth when the Mogadorians invaded and destroyed their planet Loric. Then they were followed and the final annihilation is in progress to destroy the last remaining Loriens. In this latest move to Paradise, Ohio, John’s attempt to settle into small town life proves impossible and to top it off, Sarah crosses his path and he begins to wonder if returning to Loric is what he truly desires and how far can one stretch the boundaries of love between a human and what he is. *insert lurves-struck sigh*

I really liked the relationship between Sarah and #4. She never had a clue what he was and you can tell how much he wanted to be honest with her and drop his guard in the hopes he could find someone to trust and love. His feelings were genuine and his consistent actions showed how much he cared.

I’ve never felt this way about anyone before. Like I’m floating on air when we’re together, and I dread the times when we’re apart, like now, despite having just spent the last couple of hours with her. Sarah gives some purpose to our running and hiding, a reason that transcends mere survival. A reason to win. And to know that I may be putting her life in danger by being with her – well, it terrifies me.

I loved his snarky moments when, in his own way, he was trying to be honest with Sarah about what he really was, and you can tell how much he wanted to trust her.
She smiles, “What happened, anyway? I was worried about you.”
I say, “Would you believe it if I told you I was an alien?”

“I know they’re picking on you because of me.” She says.
I reply, “They’re just lucky I didn’t use my superpowers and throw them into the next county.”

Overall, their relationship was believable and beauteous, and I looked forward to reading about their times together. Their final moments at the end of the book were perfectly done. I won’t include any spoilers, but let’s just say it was done right.

I love.love.loved the concepts that were infused in this story about legacies, inheritance, charms, etc. I kept wanting to read more about life on Loric and how similar it was to Earth. The themes around a quest for survival, a fight for true love, defining ones destiny, not giving up hope… well that’s all right up my alley. The ending was perfect! I know I complain all the time about painful cliffhangers, but this book did it right. I was exhausted by the end of the book because of the emotions, actions and struggle. However, I have so many questions that I can’t wait to pick up the next installment. It was all very well done and perfectly blended to provide an out-of-this-world experience. I can’t wait to see the movie! You go #4!

Playlist song: Get Out Alive - Three Days Grace

Profile Image for Kogiopsis.
772 reviews1,497 followers
December 4, 2011
Full review still in progress, but here's approximately the first half... pre-reading comments at the end.

EDIT: Okay, I'm never going to finish this thing. Frankly, I don't care. But I added a list of things I was planning to put into it at the end.

EDIT 2: Everyone who is even THINKING about reading this book should read this article: http://nymag.com/arts/books/features/... and find out exactly what you're dealing with and what you're supporting.

Introduction: I Am The Fourth Matrix

There is a theater in my city that shows movies after they’ve left the other theaters, for two or three dollars a ticket. It’s a pretty good deal. On Friday night they showed The Matrix- which I’d never seen- and I went with a couple of friends. It was decent. A little bit predictable, a little bit too violent at times, but overall pretty good. The problem was, I’d been reading I Am Number Four that same day, trying to finish it and put it behind me, and I watched one of the released movie clips of Six to reassure myself (before I encountered her in the book) that someone actually cool would show up eventually.
This tainted my viewing of The Matrix.
You see, I Am Number Four is what you get if you took the coolest sequences of The Matrix and the premise of Superman, tossed them in a blender, and added a sprinkling of generic Love Interest Powder to the top. But, ah, be sure not to blend it too smooth- it has to be choppy and jolting to experience, and you can’t have that if things meld together seamlessly.
I’m frustrated with ‘Pittacus Lore’ for making me think of his characters when I was watching Keanu Reeves stop bullets in midair. But on the other hand, there’s a wonderful irony to going to see the original on the opening night of the cheap, poorly-concealed knock-off.
I’m not going to see the movie, obviously. It’s not worth my time. But I did spend time on the book, so let’s talk about that for a while…

Bad Researcher, No Cookie

It is painfully obvious that ‘Pittacus Lore’ doesn’t know jack about science. I’m not sure if he’s trying to bill this as science fiction or not, but if so someone should go hit him over the head with the entire collected Dune series or something, because this is pretty much the worst science fiction I’ve ever read. Why do I say this? Oh, where to begin… well, actually, that’s obvious.
Lorien is a cheap imitation of Earth, and its inhabitants are equally cheap imitations of humans. Think about it. The fact that they look enough like us to pass as us without extra technology or spells or whatever should have given it away. If that wasn’t enough, maybe someone else noticed the color scheme of the planet? Really, Mr. ‘Lore’, do you think that all plants are automatically green everywhere in the universe? Or for that matter that all water is blue? It’s a matter of chemicals and elements, and since you take great pains to point out that Lorien has a different concentration of mineral resources than Planet Earth, we know that the ratios of elements in the soil have to be different. And even if the readers were inclined to let that slide, did you really think you get away with giving the Loric people all of these human structures? They drive cars and park them in driveways, for heaven’s sake! They have grass! Air shows! Fireworks! They even have the same kind of names! In essence, they are exactly like humans except for the ones with sparkly Sue powers.
Ah, and those powers. Did you think I’d miss that, too? Treat it as science fantasy, whatever, but let’s talk a little hard evolutionary science for a moment. When explaining the origins of the Legacies, Henri tells John that they were ‘like a gift from the planet’ or some crap like that.
That is not how evolution works.
It goes like this: New traits come to be through random mutations. Some of them will be beneficial, some simply not detrimental; some will be fatal or sterilizing. Events in the environment lead to one trait being favored over others, but it must already exist within the population. Evolution doesn’t spontaneously create beneficial traits; it amplifies them in the population at large. So there would have to have been Legacies already present among the Loric for them to become prevalent.
Okay, change gears here.
Planets and stars.
Lorien is one tenth the size of Earth, and its star is twice the size of our Sun. It’s fourth away from this star. All of these should have shaped the kind of life that evolved there. For this I have the manga Planetes to thank, because without it I might not have noticed; but gravity affects the way body shapes develop. Growing up in lower gravity, hypothetically, should result in a taller individual, because there’s less strain on the body. Now, unless you’re going to tell me that Lorien is superdense, that wasn’t accounted for in this book.
And as for that planet. Smaller than Earth? It can’t hold as much atmosphere. Still relatively close to the Sun? It should be BAKED before it can ever support life outside of Kingdom Archaea. (Granted I may be incorrect on this point; biology is more my strong point than astronomy.)
Culture, physiology, solar system… OH WAIT.
Parallel evolution.
If you’re not familiar with the term, this is what happens when sci-fi writers get lazy and decide that every sentient race in the universe looks almost exactly like humans, except maybe with pointy ears and funny eyebrows, or some crazy forehead makeup. TV shows can get away with it, or they could until technology caught up with them. Books just can’t. You don’t have to worry about how to simulate this alien; you’re just describing it, anyhow! That’s how we get things like the gaseous race that shows up in one of Anne McCaffrey’s ‘The Ship Who’ books.
It’s possible to explain parallel evolution to reader satisfaction. (The Lighthouse Land by Adrian McKinty did this well.) ‘Pittacus’ didn’t do so. And what’s worse, it’s not just one race that looks suspiciously humanoid… there are two alien races that are nonetheless capable as passing as native Terrans with a minimum of work. Even given that the book was optioned for a movie before it was published, this is unacceptable. Parallel evolution is the cheap trick that, as far as I’m concerned, should never be used.
And on that note, let’s talk about humans and the Loric.

Humans Lame, Aliens Awesome: Your Accomplishments Mean Nothing

This is a theme of I Am Number Four that particularly stood out to me, and here is why: One of the roleplays I’m doing on Gaia right now is about human settlers reaching the first planet they intend to colonize and finding an existing alien civilization. As I’m in control of the aliens, I’ve been doing all the worldbuilding for this place, and that included figuring out why they resembled a cross between humans and Terran birds. My solution was a little like McKinty’s: I tossed in an ancient race that meddled with both the younger species and made them in their own image. When I first proposed this, though, I hadn’t really figured out how it would go yet, and so my partner raised a point: isn’t this cheapening human achievements as a species, if you credit their whole existence and all their achievements to other aliens?
And he was right, you know? So I backed off and made it work a different way.
I wish Pittacus Lore had had to run his ideas by a similar audience. Because he didn’t, we get things like this: “We helped the humans, taught them to make fire, gave them the tools to develop speech and language, which is why our language is so similar to the languages of Earth.”
Okay, really? No one language can be similar to all the languages of Earth. It’s simply not possible. Apparently Pittacus hasn’t seen a language family tree… well, ever. Grammar alone, even if every language had the same sort of pronunciation, would make it impossible; add in the fact that letters are pronounced differently, or that you have tonal languages and languages that use percussive sounds as well- not to mention myriad dialects- and this whole sentence is shown to be complete bullshit. But it’s not the worst. This is:
“What happens if we try to have children with humans?”
“It’s happened many times before. Usually it results in an exceptional and gifted human. Some of the greatest figures in Earth’s history were actually the product of humans and the Loric, including Buddha, Aristotle, Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, Leonardo da Vinci, Isaac Newton, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.”
I’m going to ignore the suggestion that the Greek gods were also just half-Loric humans, because this is more than preposterous enough. According to Pittacus Lore, you see, not only would humans not have developed fire or language on their own, they wouldn’t have come up with things like the Four Noble Truths or the theory of Relativity if the speshul aliens hadn’t been involved. Frankly, seeing this list, I’m kind of surprised that Lore stopped here: why not claim responsibility for Muhammad, or Jesus, or Confucius, for example, while we’re undermining world religions? Why not assert that Michelangelo or Van Gogh were half-Loric? Hell, what about George Washington… or, since Genghis Kahn made the roster, Adolf Hitler? Because clearly noooooothing important can go on without alien involvement. (Oh, and how did the two species crossbreed? This goes back to the evolution thing, I guess- if there’s an explanation there, it might solve this problem too, but I doubt there is.)

Formerly planned sections:
The Hero Is Exempt From Morals…
In which I would have discussed John's flagrant abuse of his power, including some incidents of untempered (and unregretted) harm caused to others who were barely more than bystanders, and that one time he attacked Henri. Also the fact that he never cared about Henri enough to remember his name until he was dead.
…And All Characters Are Exempt From Brains
In which I would have discussed Henri's abominably stupid decision to investigate a Mogadorian threat on his own, and John's decision that staying in the town where his girlfriend lived was more important than his own life or the future of his planet.
We Should Have Expected This From James Frey
In which I would have discussed the way Frey wrote his own pen name into the story and glorified himself by making 'Pittacus' one of the most famous Lorics of all time.
Of Course, He Wasn’t Being Paid That Well
In which I would have discussed Frey's book factory business plan and the truly horrible writing in this book.
Minor Fails
In which I would have discussed the anvilicious (and obvious attempt at trend-riding) environmental 'message' presented in the contrast between the Lorics and the Mogadorians, the absurd plot convenience of Sam just happening to mention the Mogadorians, and the fact that it is impossible to see vegetation moving under wind if the globe you're looking at is the size of a raquetball.

Long story short: Don't waste your time or your money. If you want sci-fi, go read some C.J. Cherryh or Frank Herbert or watch Firefly or Doctor Who.

While reading:

Forget Alex Pettyfer. Let's see Tom Baker in this part!

Before reading:
I've got a galley of this sitting on my bookshelf, and I was quite looking forward to it... until I saw an add for the movie trailer on Facebook.
No book should be made into a movie for release the year after publication. I'm sorry, but that's just wrong. And now I 'm kinda not looking forward to reading this. I still will, but I'll take my time getting to it.
Profile Image for Literary Ames.
830 reviews395 followers
May 7, 2015
You must turn off your brain and ask no questions when reading this book. It’s a requirement to enjoy it. I failed miserably. It may be readable but I Am Number Four is predictable and clichéd with inaccurate and vague descriptions and explanations.

For the most part I Am Number Four is an easy read although the language at times struck me as amateurish and clunky. Perhaps I expected too much after all this is YA but Lorien, it’s inhabitants and culture were too simple or too similar to that of Earth and humans. I was hoping for a bit more alieness than just boy-with-powers and shapeshifting animals. I expected a new spin on this cliché of a story but it was an incompetent rehash of old formulas.

A lot of “how” questions kept popping into my head in relation to unrealistic circumstances. A major one:

From what I understand 19 Loriens made it to Earth. The rest are dead. Those 19 have to repopulate Lorien when the time comes. Henri tries to dissuade John from procreating with humans because he’ll need a Lorien partner to produce pure children.

Erm...are you serious? How would this work? You need many more individuals for a species to prosper. Reproduction would eventually become incestuous with the result of such unions suffering the disorders (deformities + genetic disease + infertility = extinction ) associated with inbreeding due to little genetic diversity in such a small gene pool making it impossible to adapt, evolve and therefore survive and prosper. A tad scientific but this is science fiction, emphasis on the science. I learned the above in high school biology and this is aimed at that age group -I’m just sayin’.

Other “how” questions:
--> How could John’s girlfriend, Sarah so easily accept his alien status without much proof?
--> How did Mark come by the message that brought him to John’s home and into the fight?
--> How did Henri explain what was going on to Mark?
--> How did Six survive her many serious wounds?
--> How can a book with so many illogical errors not only make it to publication but be turned into a movie when there are so many better ones out there?

Why is the book by Pittacus Lore? It doesn’t make sense. Didn’t he die 10 years ago with the rest of his people? There was something about the elders disappearing during the ultimate battle on Lorien so there’s a small possibility he still lives, however the book is in first person from John’s POV. WTH?!

Small sidenote: I don’t know about other countries but here in the UK “spastically” is controversial and considered highly offensive if not used in a medical context. I was very surprised to see it here but I’ll put it down to cultural difference and move on.

The final battle didn’t interest me. I skimmed. There were moments throughout the book that gripped me. That were exciting. I liked Henri, John and his dog they made a good team but it seems they’re fighting a losing battle. Henri encourages us to have hope even when the task ahead appears impossible but 6 kids with powers versus a whole race –I’m not optimistic. No matter how many abilities these superhero kids develop.

In some ways this reminds me of The Lightning Thief with the godlike powers, beasts and the run-for-your-life theme. That was targeted at 9-12 year olds and I think this should be too. I think they’d have a better time with it than I did.

The movie, released next week, looks spiffy and exciting. Hopefully it will be better than the book it’s based on because this was just terrible.

ETA Mar 2, 2011: The movie changed almost everything I had a problem with in the book. It was also 100x more entertaining so I encourage you all to see the movie and burn the book!
Profile Image for Natalie Monroe.
595 reviews3,585 followers
May 4, 2016
I haven't been this infuriated by a book since Fifty Shades of Grey. I am Number Four is hand-down one of the worst books I have ever read, and that's saying something because I've read Gone, which reads like 12-year-old fanfiction, and the overly purple prose of Fallen and Shiver. This book has it all: bad writing, flimsy characters, what-the-fuck-is-happening-here plot and one cliche after another.

Let's start off with the writing:

You know there's something wrong with a book when you have to play some kind of weird word scramble with a sentence every few pages. There's this sentence in the first couple pages:

"He doesn't bother with the door or a window; he literally runs through the wall, which breaks apart as if it's paper, though it's made of strong, hard African mahogany."

I don't know about you, but that's a weird-ass sentence!

No, seriously, when I read up to that sentence, I literally stopped and reread that sentence, because it just felt so out of place. And this book is littered with little turds like that, which spoils the whole reading experience.

Another example:

"I kiss her good night, a lingering kiss while holding her hands gently in mine."

After I read that sentence, my mind immediately started re-arranging the words in my head to sound it better. Like maybe: I took her hands in mine and gave her a long, lingering kiss good night.

I think the problem is that the author is so focused on creating a cinematic visual (I'll get to the Hollywood cliches further in) for us that he forgets the main idea: tell the damn story. And do it in a way that doesn't trip up my brain every few minutes.

It's very annoying.

Paradoxically, there's a lot of telling and not enough showing as well. The author simply dumps Sarah's life story in a paragraph about how she used to be a judgmental bitch, but she went to the countryside and maybe met Mary Poppins or whatever, and when she came back, she becomes Saint Sarah.

First off, no one info-dumps like that in real life. Second, do I really need to know why Saint Sarah becomes a saint? No, the author only stuffed it in to make us like Sarah which, sadly, backfired because I feel nothing for her.

And on that note, let's move on to the characters

Abysmally two-dimensional. If I were to describe the situation with a color wheel, each character would only be one color. No in-between, no substance whatsoever.

John is as dumb as a doornail. You'd think a guy on the run for his life would be a little more cautious and not do anything out of the ordinary, right?

He has photos taken with his girlfriend's family even though he was explicitly told not to because the bad aliens can track them down. He uses his powers in front of people and fucking shows off!

And he has the audacity to shake his head over his caretaker, Henri's carelessness when

The plot

Fuck your arbitrary rules about why Number 1 has to be killed first before Number 2. Fuck your cliche Hollywood storyline and dialogue.

I'd give examples, but I'm tired and I have class early tomorrow, so flip through my status updates if you want to see moldy cheese as substitute for dialogue.

Profile Image for ~Tina~.
1,092 reviews159 followers
August 9, 2010

The planet Lorien had been destroyed, leaving only nine young Garde and there guardians/keepers a chance to escape, survive, in hopes that they can fight again and save there race, flee to Earth.
They secretly weave among us as they slowly learn how to develop there powers, there Legacies. The Mogadorians, the ones responsible for destroying there home hunts them by order of there numbers.
It started out as a group of nine. Three killed. Six left. They wont stop till all are destroyed. John Smith (aka Number Four) is next...

I Am Number Four is a wicked fantasy fit for any sci-fi junkie. I'm not sure if I'm into alien type books really, but I was very impressed with the concept and the theories that laces through out the story. It's riveting, masterfully imaginative and creatively inspiring. I may not be use to these kind of books but I was hooked none the less.

Pitacus Lore's (aka James Frey & Jobie Hughes) writing is strong, driven and completely gripping. It did take me a bit to get use to the writing style since I'm not use to first-person narrative, taking the story to different paces through out the story.
Some chapters are fast paced and heart stomping, taking dramatic surrounding with vivid memories and haunting us with striking creatures and characters.
Then there were the more slow moving scenes, to either gather information for the readers to keep up, or to give us a look at life around John and Henri. These chapters were both somewhat harder to get through only because I'm an impatient reader and want to get to the good stuff and also easier since I was already invested in these characters lives and wanted to see how things would play out.
One thing is for certain though, each page is lined with an intense urgency that made it more compelling to keep reading to the very end.

I loved John and Henri, they have the greatest bond and I connected with them right away. There story is extremely interesting and I loved learning about the history of the planet, the training and magic of it all. Bernie Kosar is awesome.
While the storyline has more of a crucial feel to it overall, there is also some romance. These characters are only 14-16 years old, so it's not overwhelming and at times it did feel a little flat and maybe even unbelievable but it was also sweet in it's own right. I will say that I didn't like some reactions, thinking it played out a little to smoothly but that's all I'm going to say about that.

Already a movie in the making. Steven Spielberg scooped the rights to this and the movie is set for release on Feb 18th 2011, staring Alex Pettyfer (Prettyface) as Number Four. I'm actually mighty curious about it. I'm not sure if I can envision the movie or even Prettyface being John, so this should be very interesting to see.

Even though this book does have it's flaws, there were some parts I just loved, some parts that were just okay, some parts I had to roll my eyes and others left me turning the pages as fast as possible.
All in all, I still had a really good time reading this book and realize in the end that this is some pretty dame good storytelling!
I'm looking forward to the sequel and the movie, and while I'm still not completely sure that I'm an extraterrestrial fan at this point, anyone looking for an out of this world read should get a kick out of, I Am Number Four.
Profile Image for Ashley Daviau.
1,805 reviews795 followers
June 25, 2017
I was quite pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book! I've heard a lot of hype surrounding it and so I was a little hesitant going in but from page one I was completely drawn in and didn't want to put it down!

I absolutely adore everything about the concept. From the Legacies to the Loric to the Chest and everything in between, it's just all so interesting and absolutely captivating! I wanted to dive into this world and completely immerse myself in it!

I also really loved the characters, they really are all amazing! But Sam definitely holds a special place in my heart. From the moment we met him and his belief in aliens, I was instantly in love with him! He's the quirky sidekick that you can't help but fall for!

I honestly can't think of one thing I disliked about this book, it was just that good! It had fantastic characters, phenomenal world building AND was crazy action packed with all kinds of twists and turns that left me itching to start the next book!
Profile Image for Kristy.
592 reviews88 followers
March 14, 2011
Okay, class. here is your quiz!

Did I enjoy this book??? Yes

Was it fast-paced? Yes
Did it include enough action? Yes
Was there a love story? Yes
Did I have strong emotions in certain scenes? Yes
Do I want to read the next book? YES!!!
Will I watch the Movie? YES!!!
Were the character's likeable? Yes
Were the well developed? Yes
Did I enjoy the unvieling of the Legacies? Yes
Did I love Henri? Yes
Was I completely in the dark and suprised by the ending? Yes
Did I like the appearance of #6 at the end? Yes
Did it make me sad? Yes
Did it make me laugh? Yes
Do I love Sam Goode? Yes
Did Sarah's character get on my nerves at times? Yes
Was this an original story? Yes
Was it well executed? Yes
Was is a short read? Yes
Do I think the author borrowed a little from star wars? Yes
Do I think you should read this? Yes

Do you think you could pass my class?????!!!?!?!?!

I have read some mixed reviews on this one.... But, I absolutely loved it! I highly recommend everyone to read this!!!

I completely agree with this article

Here's a preview for the movie

I'm about to become a fan-girl. Man, this looks good! Can't wait!!!

Movie was pretty good. It followed the book pretty closely, shockingly.
Husband liked the movie, even without reading the book. So the movie by itself made sense to non-readers. Ready to read #2!
Profile Image for ale ‧ ₊˚୨ ♡ ୧ ₊˚.
411 reviews2,136 followers
April 26, 2021
“When you have lost hope, you have lost everything. And when you think all is lost, when all is dire and bleak, there is always hope.”

Second reread:
This book would deserve 3.5 stars really.

I Am Number Four really isn't the great book. It's a typical YA cliché that leaves you with more questions than answers.

But it is the saga that got me back into the world of books and it was my first long-ass saga to read. I mean, I read all seven main books and all 32398739487 novellas. It doesn't have the wonderful, perfect writing, but it was one of the first English books I read and made an effort to read.

Its characters are a bit weak and flat really, even the plot -I always thought it was a good plot, only the first book doesn't develop it very well-, and even the dialogues or some scenes are quite cliché and repetitive, tiring for a science fiction book. But to this saga especially I have a tremendous affection, so much so that it is my all-time favorite saga.

This saga has more sentimental value to me than anything else. I was drowning in a cup of water when I first read I Am Number Four, and in a way, it helped me. I devoured these books very quickly and loved them like nothing else. In this book precisely things are very premature, and it is in the next books that you get to know the rest of the characters, everything they can do and many more things.

However, I am in love with this saga (not necessarily with this first book), with its characters and everything they go through, the journeys of their lives and how it all ends.

This saga is my "i'd marry you with paper rings", yup
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews46 followers
June 26, 2019
I Am Number Four (Lorien Legacies #1), Pittacus Lore
I Am Number Four is a young adult science fiction novel by Pittacus Lore (the pseudonym of James Frey and Jobie Hughes) and the first book in the Lorien Legacies series. The book was published by HarperCollins on August 3, 2010. The story centers on the conflict between two extraterrestrial species: the Loric and the Mogadorians. The Loric are classified into two factions: the overseers known as the Cepân and the guardians known as the Garde, the latter of whom possess unique abilities known as Legacies. The story opens with a prelude that follows Hannu - the alias used by Number Three, one of nine Garde children hiding on Earth after their home-world of Lorien was invaded - residing in Kenya where he is killed by Mogadorian assassins under the command of General Andrakkus Sutekh. Most of the book is told in the first person by Number Four, who takes the name John Smith. As the story begins, he and his guardian or Cepân, Henri, learn of the death of Number Three and move to Paradise, Ohio, assuming new identities aka John Smith. There, John befriends conspiracy theorist Sam Goode and "adopts" a dog identified by its name tag as "Bernie Kosar". He also meets and is attracted to a fellow student, Sarah Hart, who is working as a photographer. Sarah's ex-boyfriend, football player Mark James, is a bully who torments both John and Sam. ...
تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز بیست و ششم ماه ژوئن سال 2014 میلادی
کتاب «من شماره چهار هستم»، اثری از تیم دونفره ی: «جیمز فری»، و «جابی هیوز» است، که نخستین بار در سال 2010 میلادی توسط انتشارات «هارپرکالینز» منتشر شد. براساس این کتاب، فیلمی با همین عنوان، به تهیه کنندگی: «استیون اسپیلبرگ»، و به کارگردانی: «دی.جی کاروسو» ساخته شده است، در این فیلم بازیگرانی، همچون: «تیموتی الیفنت»،‌‌ «دیانا آرگون»، و «جیک آیبل»، و ... بازی کرده‌ اند. داستان این کتاب نوجوانانه را، تیم دو نفره ی: «جیمز فری»، و «جابی هیوز» نوشته‌ اند، و حال و هوایی اکشن دارد، خط اصلی داستان درباره ی یک گروه «نه نفره»، از موجودات بیگانه ی فضایی است، که مجبور به فرار، از سیاره ی بسیار دور خود می‌شوند، و سر از زمین درمی‌آورند. آنها زمانی تصمیم به فرار می‌گیرند، که گروهی از موجودات رقیب، به سیاره آنها یورش، و آنرا اشغال می‌کنند. این «نه9 موجود فضایی» که در روی زمین پنهان شده‌ اند، خود را به شکل «نه دانش‌آموز دبیرستانی» درمی‌آورند، اما زندگی آنها روی کره ی زمین، با آرامش همراه نیست. «موجودات فضایی رقیب» که متوجه فرار آنها به کره زمین شده‌ اند، راهی زمین می‌شوند، تا آنها را پیدا کرده، و دوباره به سیاره ی خود برگردانند. کتاب جلد نخست از یک سری کتاب شش جلدی است. ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Anja H..
760 reviews457 followers
June 16, 2016

"When you have lost hope, you have lost everything. And when you think all is lost, when all is dire and bleak, there is always hope."

This was my first time reading this book and it was a pretty okay read. I wasn't blown away but it wasn't bad either. I watched the movie adaption about 4 years ago when it first came out but I didn't remember a lot of it so the story was still quite "new" to me.

One thing that immediately annoyed me was John's name. I mean, John Smith? Seriously? I felt like I was watching/reading Pocahontas or something! I sincerely hope he'll change his identity in the next book and will go by a different name soon! (Or that the next book will be from a different perspective alltogether, maybe Six or something?)

Another thing was the insta-love between him and Sarah. I thoroughly dislike stories with insta-love with a passion. In the book, he saw Sarah walking around with her camera for the first time and BAM, he was sold, and vice versa! I mean, come on, I get that the story needed to progress really fast, but I would've liked to see some development in their relationship before they fell head over heels in love.

The action in the end made up for a lot though! I literally breezed through the last 100 pages, so much was happening and it was totally badass. Sometimes it was a bit chaotic but I really didn't mind. The last few pages really made me cry, but I feel like it was needed for John's journey to finally take off. I feel like interesting things are going to happen in the future, together with Six, Sam and Bernie Kosar.

I'm definitely going to read the rest of the series one day, I think I'm just going to wait a few weeks to start with the second book because I feel like reading something different right now.
Profile Image for Alicia.
58 reviews24 followers
February 12, 2011
One of the worst books I've read so far in 2011, second only after Spells in stupidity. I suppose this is another case of a book with a decent concept, but incredibly weak execution of said concept. My main gripe with this book was that it just bored me out of my mind. I am not usually a skimmer. I tend to read slowly, and really absorb each word and sentence, but this book just had me itching to skim through large sections. Boredom aside, I found the characters and dialogue quite wooden, and the entire plot was rife with cliches.

The so-called "romance" between the protag and his love interest was ridiculous, cheesy and bland. The love interest was the stereotypical, perfect, gorgeous, personality-less, blue-eyed, ivory-skinned blonde. She seemed to be valued mainly for her looks, as the reader has it hammered over their head over and over again that she is "the most beautiful girl John had ever seen" blah blah etc etc. I suppose she was also valued for her supposed "goodness", which was demonstrated to the reader only in the most banal, cliche ways (ie. she works at an animal shelter! she is semi-nice to the school outcast!). At one point she was actually described as "fluttering her eyelashes" at him. I mean, c'mon, who actually does that?

I just had no interest in any of the characters. I couldn't feel anything for them. They all seemed like teenage cliches, not real people. In fact, the whole book had a distinctly teenagerish feel, which is not necessarily a bad thing for a book to be and completely understandable considering it's YA, but that doesn't mean it has to suck. I enjoy plenty of YA and children's books, but this one was just.. I don't know.. immature? Unsophisticated? One-dimensional? Too commercial?

The writing was serviceable, although again, very bland and uninspired. Plus, there are some pretty questionable ethical issues when it comes to the "authoring" of this book and whether the author who wrote the bulk of it was fairly compensated. See here for more info. I wasn't at all surprised to learn about the conditions that the book was written under, as that's exactly what it reads like - some kind of mass-produced, commercial product coming out of a YA-book-trend factory. There's no handmade flourishes, no artistry and no heart. It's like they just grabbed a bunch of cliches and popular YA trends - a love triangle, magic powers, etc. and clumsily assembled them together. That's not writing, it's a tragedy.
Profile Image for Amanda.
282 reviews313 followers
September 1, 2013
You know the most suspenseful, well-written part of I am Number Four? The cover: "Three are dead. I am number four." Pretty kick ass, huh? I certainly thought so, which is why I read it. Now I wish I had just left it on the shelf and let the power of those two lines remain my only association with the novel.

I'm about to point out several flaws to which many people will say, "Yeah, but it's young adult fiction." To them I say that just because a novel is labeled as "young adult" doesn't excuse sloppy writing, simplistic plotting, and stock characters that make the cardboard cut-outs of Will Ferrell at the local movie theater look three dimensional, complex, and full of depth. There is some damn fine young adult science fiction out there (I offer The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins or the Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness as prime examples of intelligent, well-written young adult fare), but I am Number Four should not be listed among them.

The initial premise is that Number Four (aka John Smith) is an alien from Lorien who, along with nine other children, was sent to earth as a small child to escape the destruction of his planet by the Mogadorians. The plan is for the children to survive and later return to repopulate the planet. Knowing the Mogadorians would hunt the children down, they are bound together by a charm that prevents them from being killed out of their numeric order. When one of them is killed, a spiral scar is seared into the leg of the remaining Loriens, signaling the threat level to the next in line. So far, so good. This is, unfortunately, when the whole thing starts falling apart:

1) Lorien was a planet that was being destroyed by pollution and mistreatment of natural resources by its populace. Fortunately, before it was too late, the Lorien people got their collective act together to save the planet. As a thank you, the planet gave powers known as legacies to some of the citizenry. These legacies begin to manifest as a Lorien becomes a teenager and, guess what?, if you save your planet right now, you don't just get one superpower, you don't even get two superpowers, you get a whole shitload of superpowers! These include hands that glow like flashlights (lame), the ability to communicate with animals (meh), a fireproof body (getting better), invisibility (now this could be something worthwhile), and telekinesis (Yahtzee!). The overt environmental message here is blatant and didactic: save your planet and your planet just might hug you back by giving you some really cool shit.

2) Not every Lorien receives powers. Those who got the planetary shaft in this deal became known as "cepans" whose job was to train and protect those with legacies. Why? If you have magic powers, why do you need a bodyguard? When the Lorien nine were sent to earth, each was given their own cepan to help raise and protect them until their legacies became evident. This makes a little more sense, but also raises the question of why didn't they send young adults whose powers had already matured to earth? Instead, Lorien is basically destroyed by the Mogadorians and the fate of the Lorien race is put on pause while they wait for their saviors to stop drooling and shitting themselves. Apparently, "intelligence" was not one of the legacies bestowed upon the Loriens.

3) There's not a single authentic character in the entire novel. John is bland vanilla-ville. He complains and whines his way through the novel. Sarah's sweetness is gag-reflex inducing and, despite the inevitable romance between the two, there's absolutely no chemistry. They seem to have fallen in love in the span of 5 nanoseconds and then spend the rest of the novel swapping the vapid sweet-nothings typical of a couple in a Valentine's Day commercial for Zales.

4) For two people who have spent the last several years hiding and trying to survive long enough to return to Lorien, John and his cepan, Henri, seem intent on getting their asses handed to them. They both know that the three other Loriens have been killed, they know the Mogadorians are closing in, and they know John is number four. So what do they do? John openly uses his powers and draws more attention to himself than a neon light outside a strip club, Henri goes and stirs up a nest of Mogadorians in a town two hours away, etc. However, do they get the hell out of Dodge? Nope. John manages to convince Henri every time that he's tired of moving and he's finally in love, concerns that are legitimate IF YOU'RE NOT FREAKIN' NUMBER FOUR! I would think all of these would take a backseat to the fact that John's number is literally up.

5) Simplistic writing with only the vaguest descriptive touches. The one that really killed me was "It's a great house. A classic family home with bedrooms on the second floor, an attic where one of her brothers has his room, and all of the living spaces - the living room, dining room, kitchen and family room - on the first floor." What teenage boy has walked into a house and thought, "You know, this really is a classic family home? I love the layout. Very traditional."

6) A flaw unrelated to the book: I've seen the movie previews and noted that Timothy Olyphant plays Henri (I won't lie--this, too, initially drew me to the book). Dear God, do not let this connection forever ruin Raylan Givens for me.

I could go on, but I won't. Basically, the author has taken equal parts Superman, X-Men, and Twilight, blended them together in a concoction as delightful as swill and served it with a heaping side-order of teenage angst, a la "I feel so out of place and no one understands me. Maybe it's because I'm really different. Special. And not the short bus special, but really special special." Having said all of this, pre-teens and teens may love the book--in fact, many of my 10th grade students think it's the most awesome thing ever. I'm in favor of anything that gets them to read, but this is too predictable for most adults or teenagers with more literary sensibilities.

Cross posted at This Insignificant Cinder
Profile Image for Sofia.
231 reviews6,963 followers
October 5, 2020
Flat characters, contrived banter, and a plot filled with holes - it's a cheap retelling of tired tropes.
639 reviews
September 16, 2011
OK, I loved this book. LOVED IT.
The characters were great, the plot was great, the events were great, the setting was great, EVERYTHING WAS GREAT!
The whole concept of the book was amazing!

But I got this weird vibe coming from deep within me after I finished reading the book. And it really annoyed me and angered me.
Here I am, just finished reading this amazing book, and i have this weird vibe just radiating from me.
It took me a few days to figure out what it was, so I will explain to you what the weird vibe was.

I felt like the book should have been longer. It just felt like everything was happened too fast even though it had an average speed. That my head was thinking something totally different than my body. My body was thinking something else. Which is really creepy in my opinion. The book should have just been longer. Aughh! Stupid random weird body feeling that have a mind of their own.

SADNESS! Madness! I wonder why that had to happen... Message me if you wanna know.

I gave this book 4 stars because of my annoying weird feeling that made me cut it down.

There is one thing I am confused about though...
If Sam went with them, wouldn't anyone notice that he isn't there? Like his mom? Other than Sarah and Mark but...


What is John's real name, anyways....?
Profile Image for Mizuki.
3,000 reviews1,207 followers
May 3, 2016
I don't plan to read that book. But right now I'm watching the movie...

Here's a few things I noticed...

(1) The male lead is one of the most unattractive male leads I have ever seen in any YA movie.

(2) Of course we get a "new student in a new school" setting.

(3) Of course there's a pretty, sweet blond girl, a handful of bullies and a bullied geek in this new high school. TOTALLY ORIGINAL.

Plus, since the main character is a boy instead of a girl, so we got a Pretty Blond Girl instead of a Prince Charming, Bullies instead of a Queen Bee, but the Geek is still the Geek here

(4) The soundtracks of the movie are damn annoying.

(5) Of course the bad guys are a bunch of ugly, creepy looking fellows who dressed in black. Because being ugly or bad looking usually is a sign of being evil, and God forbid the good guys to be anything less than good looking!

(6) Of course the male lead has to be a total brat toward his guardian, who had spent *years* taking care of him and protecting him.

(7) And of course you would meet The One, the love of your life in your high school, at the tender age of sixteen or seventeen.

(8) Number Six looks pretty cool, so would anyone tell me why she isn't the main character!?

(9) The whole thing is just so damn juvenile, I can't live with it!

(10)The movie comes to an end! And I have decided I'm not going to get anywhere near the book!
Profile Image for Suzzie.
916 reviews162 followers
July 12, 2017
I cannot believe I waited so long to start this series! I am going to go get the others at the library throughout the next few weeks. This is a very fascinating plot and the characters are so likeable!
Profile Image for Cat.
5 reviews
March 26, 2011
I'm not sure what "I Am Number Four" is doing here on a website dedicated to reviewing books, because whatever this thing is (a travesty? a sham?), it's not a book. It's a disgrace to real books, which isn't quite the same thing.

That's how awful this piece of writing is. It's so awful I can't bring myself to call it a book, even though it's masquerading as one for tax purposes. Heed my warning, gentle reader: do not read this thing. I don't know you, but I know you're better than this. I have faith in you.

What's that? My pep talk isn't enough, you say? You need further convincing? Fine. Here's another reason to stay away from this contemptible excuse for a novel: you probably have better ways to spend your money than funding the career of a hack. A thousand curses upon your rating system, O Goodreads, for making it impossible to give a book 0 stars - this "book" has 0 redeeming qualities and deserves a corresponding rating.
Profile Image for Aj the Ravenous Reader.
1,051 reviews1,049 followers
April 12, 2021
This book is an entertaining and easy read. It reminds you of Superman plus X-men which means this book contains a really cool story with really cool characters. The story begins so intensely, it grabbed my focus immediately. Its movie adaptation is good enough, though not as good as the book. I wonder when the movie sequels will come.
Profile Image for Evangelin.
47 reviews
May 19, 2016
"I Am Number Four" is an interesting novel packed with action,YA and romance.I was addicted to this book because of the concept of this book.I will explain to you in short about the story line.

Ever wondered that maybe all of them who are in this world aren't normal people?What if they have special powers??Even your best friend could be one of them.No one knows!!

Nine people(along with their guardians)are on a run.They come from a far away planet called Lorian which is ten times smaller than Earth.All of them look just like us.Go to high school like us.But they are not us.They have special powers.Their planet,Lorien,had been attacked and destroyed.The nine of them(Garde) and their guardians(Cepan) are the only ones who have survived.They arrived on Earth and have parted ways.They are in hiding in different parts of the world.Before the had left the planet,the elders of that planet had put a charm and linked them all together so that if one of them dies the others will know it.And they can be killed only according to their number.
The nine of them are the only hope of that planet.They have to get together before the people who attacked their planet attacks kills them.

Number one was caught in Malaysia.
Number two in England.
Number three in Kenya.

John Smith has been moving from place to place his entire life.He is in hiding.He cannot make friends and have a normal life because he isn't normal.John is number four.He knows that he is next.He must be ready to fight back or face the worst-death.

This novel is stunning and worth a try.I really liked the story line.I would recommend it to readers who like paranormal activity.I'm looking forward to reading the next book of the series.
BOOK TWO(the power the six),HERE I COME!!!
Profile Image for Scarlet Cameo.
609 reviews384 followers
August 16, 2018
Este libro es ABURRIDO , muy aburrido, absurdamente aburrido. El que tengas a Superman, digo John, digo Cuatro no ayuda a que la historia sea interesante, la personalidad es aburrida, practicamente no tiene sentimientos...a menos que maten a uno de los legados, que son el resto de los alienigenes, porque es el único momento en que reacciona...aunque no porque el libro lo diga, a que me refiero con esto: a que el libro es lo sufiecientemente extenso, pero esta lejisimos de tener una construcción del mundo (Lorien, no la tierra), construcción de los personajes, o tener lógica alguna.

Cada una de las cosas que pasan son o un cliche de película adolescente (el bullyng, la chica modelo, el problema con los padres, la rebeldía mal enfocada, el insta-love) o una busqueda desesperada por romper las bases de la historia. De verdad cada cosa que se plantea al inicio del libro es destruida pasando la mitad y por razones estúpidas, o sencillamente sin razón.

El estilo de escritura es muy escueto, hace mucho enfasis en Superman y Luoise (digo Cuatro/John y Sarah) en que ella es la forma de lograr que el revele sus poderes...y todos lo vean como algo normal, pero no hay desarrollo en la historia de los extraterrestres, en ninguno de ellos (mmmm ¿será por eso que el 60% del libro es romance?¿Porque faltaba creatividad para...no se...contar algo interesante, aunque fuera jodido relleno?)

En fin, una perdida de tiempo.
Profile Image for Annalisa.
547 reviews1,378 followers
December 20, 2010
Years ago I was watching The X-Files movie and during the climax scene Mulder and Scully need to get out of some remote, creepy warehouse before the building is destroyed (probably by aliens; it was always aliens that messed up Mulder's plans, and the show. Once upon a time X-Files was one of my favorite shows until they fell on the alien crutch every singe episode and gave up on coming up with with cool sci-fi explanations for the unexplained. Aliens ruin another good story, sigh. But I digress, back to the movie). Only Mulder and Scully aren't running or scheming or even freaking out. They're talking, without a hint of panic, while in my brain I'm shouting at them "Move! Now! Or you're going to die! Okay, fine, if you're not worried about your predicament, I don't know why I should be."

That's how I felt getting to the climax scene of this book. Big, tense scene coming up, but instead of the characters being proactive or planning or running or doing anything at all, they sit around and wait for the cool action scenes to fall upon them. For all their awesome powers and abilities, they don't do much to fight or consider the obvious strategies that would get them out of their predicaments. I wish the author (more ranting about that later) would have planned the segues and logistics behind those scenes that will look cool on the big screen instead focusing so much on the action so I didn't find myself rolling my eyes so much in the last hundred pages. All the workings were there for a great climax if it had just been crafted a little better.

But let's talk about the rest of the book. The premise is that nine alien children from a destroyed planet are hiding out on earth until they develop their powers and are strong enough to fight back. But their destroyers are on earth tracking and killing the children one by one. The novel begins when the first three have been killed and number four knows he's next. I'm not a huge fan of alien plot stories, but it was a good premise, and I was hooked from the first page. The balance of answering my questions while keeping me intrigued about what I didn't know until I cared enough about number four to find out the rest of his story was perfectly done. That balance of pacing is something that is very hard to get just right in commercial fiction and it's done just right here to keep to you glued to the story. In fact, until the climax read like a choreographed fight, I probably would have given this four stars.

I liked number four (never really came to think of him as John) and was vested in his story, and while I think Sarah could have been better defined, more than just gorgeous and empty, for an action book, the characterization wasn't bad. Sometimes alien was too-convenient answer, there were some holes and mistakes that most people probably wouldn't stop to think about, and the chameleon was way too obvious, but overall I found the description of this other planet and people interesting and well done. Very imaginative and creative. Normally I'd think present tense would be perfect for a fast-paced action story, but something about the dry short, choppy sentences (a guy obviously wrote this) coupled with the present tense rated on my nerves as childish. But all of that is details. The story was good and I can see why people are caught up in it and why it's been optioned as a movie. The bad news comes in the form of the sequel...

Remember James Frey who dealt with a lot of backlash for the untruths he told in A Million Little Pieces? Well, he's back in the news, again with people up in arms for his Frey Fiction Factory (Full Fathom Five). Frey has been offering MFA students a mere $250 for their high-concept blockbusters and a promise of 40% some undisclosed amount the author can never verify. What's worse is that Frey owns the rights to the work and doesn't have to use the author's writing or credit him in anyway. You can read the abysmal contract here.

A guy named Jobie Hughes is one of the authors who took up Frey's offer in hopes of making a name for himself in the publishing industry. I Am Number Four is his creation, thus the pseudonym. He has since parted ways with Frey (good for him), but he doesn't own the rights to his baby. So if there is a sequel, he will not be the one to write it. All of this did nothing to change my opinion of the book (only Frey), but it is disheartening to see a promising series get lost in a war over money.
Profile Image for Anne.
4,059 reviews69.5k followers
May 23, 2012
Usually, when a book is made into a movie, it's because the book was great. Also, the movie usually pales in comparison, or it just downright sucks.
I haven't seen this movie, so I have no idea if it sucks or not. I did however, hear about this book because the movie came out. I now find myself asking, What would make someone think this is so good it needed to be made into a movie?

The dialogue is unbelievably wooden. At first, I thought it was being done on purpose. Like, perhaps this alien kid comes from a race that can't express themselves properly or something? Evidently not, because it continued throughout the entire book, so I'm guessing it was just a bad case of crappy writing.

I'm giving it three stars, though.
Why?, you ask. Well, the story reminded me of all of the soft-core alien/sci-fi stories that I watched on tv when I was a kid. The ones with the kind-hearted alien who is here on our planet for some reason or other. They might be fleeing other evil aliens, possibly their home planet is gone, or maybe their spaceship crash-landed... You know what I'm talking about. Anyway, for whatever reason, this book reminded me of that. And, *sigh* I liked that feeling.

I'd recommend this to anyone who enjoys B movies. Everyone else should probably stay away.
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