Karissa's Reviews > I Am Number Four

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore
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Apr 21, 2011

it was ok
Read from April 21 to 26, 2011

I was eager to read this book before going to see the movie, I still haven't seen the movie and probably won't now. I wasn't a big fan of the book. I didn't think it was very creative, the characters were very 2D, the plot predictable and the writing juvenile. I pretty much didn't like this book after the first fifty pages, but decided to stick it out to the end and was sorry that I did.

John is one of the last ten Lorien children who fled the evil Mogadorians after the Mogadorians destroyed his home planet. The ten last children of Lorien have a protection set on them; as long as they never meet in person they will be protected until the child before them is killed. John is number four and number three has just died, so that means that the Mogadorians are hunting for him next. John is sick of fleeing from place to place and, as his Legacy powers start to show up, has decided that he (and his guardian Henri) should stick it out where they are currently living...the small town of Paradise. Things get complicated when John falls in love with a human girl and John has to choose whether to stay or flee; to survive or love.

Now I understand this is a book intended for a YA audience but that doesn't mean the writing needs to be juvenile. Right from the beginning of the book the writing style rubbed me the wrong way. The sentences are short, the words used fairly simple...I felt like it was a more dumbed down that it should have been. Then there is the overused plot...peaceful aliens seek Earth as a refuge only to be hunted down on Earth by the very evil aliens they were fleeing...yawn... How many times have we seen/read/heard plots like this? This is definitely not the most creative story out there. Then there was the whole you have to kill the children in order spell-thingy...which is creative but strange. Why would the Loriens do that sort of spell? Why not just set a protection spell? It was never well explained and never really made sense.

Then there are the characters. I can see why this book was easy to make into a movie; that is because it is written like a corny action movie. You can really picture characters flying through the air and zooming around. What you never get a really good picture of are the characters themselves; they are like cardboard cut-outs that are moved through first a boring high school drama and then a corny action filled plot. You never get to know the characters or really engage with them. The book starts out just plan old boring; lots of high school drama, no aliens, no anything. The last fourth of the book really picks up the pace and from there on out it is a string of continuous action scenes.

I know I am complaining a lot here but I really didn't enjoy any aspect of this book. The final thing (aside from the characters, plot, and writing style) that totally bugged me were the inconsistencies. At one point John finds out he is fire proof on the outside; the authors make a big deal of explaining how he is not fire proof on the inside and cannot open his mouth to speak or breath while he is consumed by fire. Then towards the end of the book he is engulfed in flame, running around like a fireball, and yelling at the enemies (obviously with his mouth open). I am sitting there thinking, uh okay, how is he not burning up on the inside? When did his power drastically change so now he is fire proof everywhere? Why did they make such a big deal about him not being fire proof on the inside if they were going to ignore their own rules later?

The book ends okay, it is very very predictable. I could have outlined this whole story for you after reading the first chapter; no surprises here...no twists or turns.

Overall this book was not my cup of tea. I disliked the writing style for its simplicity, disliked the characters for their shallowness, disliked the plot for is predictability, and was driven crazy by the inconsistencies in John's powers. Everything about this book screamed "Please make me into a corny action movie!" Needless to say I won't be reading any more books in this series; nor will I be going to watch the movie. I would suggest that YA/Middle Grade readers who like action books with a male lead should check out Percy and the Olympians, the Hunger Games, the Artemis Fowl series or anything other than this book. There weren't any brazen technical errors, misspellings, or typos so that's why it gets two stars instead of one. I am so, so glad that I got this from the library.
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Reading Progress

04/21/2011 page 10
2.0%
04/25/2011 page 119
27.0% "I am about 30% of the way through this book and really not liking all that much. I am finding the writing to be a bit juvenile and the plot pretty boring. Does it get better? Should I keep reading it? I am trying to decide..."
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