I Am Number Four
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Number Four (newest alias, John Smith) is one of the few survivors of his race. As a child, he was taken with nine others from his planet, Lorien, to earth in order to hide away until his powers, or Legacies, developed enough to fight the evil, destructive Mogadorians who are hunting him down. Until then, he’s in hiding, trying to pretend to be a normal, teenage boy, which isn’t so easy when you have superhuman strength and glowing hands, and spend your free time training to hone your supernatural powers.
The author creates main characters that the reader wants to root for. The plot moves in waves, with a lot of action staggered throughout the book and slower, more tedious reading in between that focused on John’s life as a normal teenager, doing normal teenage things — mostly with his girlfriend Sarah, and climaxing in an epic battle at the end that seems to just keep going and going. Throughout, secrets are revealed and questions are raised, keeping the reader’s attention and interest. I can see why this was made into a movie; it has an interesting premise, plenty of action, and leaves the door WIDE open (in fact, makes it NECESSARY) to have a sequel… or two.
There were a few things, though, that kind of bugged me about this novel. The first is the ridiculous number of times that the narrator states, “and then we kissed.” We get it, they like each other… but seriously, if I had a dime for every time it said, “we kissed,” I’ll bet I could buy another copy of the book.
Also, at times, John reveals a bit darker side of himself that, frankly, makes me a bit nervous. Although fighting a bully who tried to attack you on a haunted hayride seems kind of understandable, later on he basically threatens and tortures a couple of humans who he thinks have information about the Mogadorians. Sure, they tied up his friend in the basement, but with giant, evil aliens breathing down their necks, could you really blame them? He even uses his powers later to manipulate Henri into staying in Ohio instead of moving on — making me think, wow, he’s either the universe’s biggest brat, or just a jerk.
If there was one thing I disliked most about this book, it was that there felt like such little resolution at the end. It wrapped up far too quickly with too little explanation of what had happened, what was happening, or what they were planning on doing next.
Overall, this was a fun and quick read, one of those sci-fi/fantasy novels that you can’t take too seriously or pick apart too much. I’m looking forward to reading the sequel, but kind of hope that it takes the perspective of one of the other characters, just for something a bit fresher and different.