I Am Number Four By Pittacus Lore
Release Date: August 2010
Synopsis: There were nine. Three are dead. I Am Number Four. Nine teenagers and their guardians are hiding on Earth… protected by a charm that means they can only be killed in numeric order, three are already dead. John Smith is Number Four. And his mortal enemies, the Mogadorian, are hunting him down. The only way to keep off radar is to keep moving, never staying in one place for long. Finally in the firing line, all he can do is adopt the guise of a student and pray his unusual gifts—his legacies home; Planet Lorien—stay hidden long enough for him to settle into this new community. But others seem to sense his otherness and when small-town life sucks him into its intrigues, it’s only a matter of time before his true nature is revealed. And that means there’s no space for love, friendship or a future if it means protecting not only himself, but the other five…
Review: I picked up this book because I thought the premise was interesting. Then I found out they were making a movie out of this book and Quinn from Glee (Diana Argon) was in it and I was like ‘Yeah I have to read it now!’ Okay not really but I lost my chance to enjoy the Harry Potter books because I saw the movies first. The movies made up the world for me and I didn’t have a chance to imagine my own, and isn’t that the luxery of reading books? I mean yeah maybe my world is different from the author’s world but unless we are the author it will always be different. Back to the point I was trying to make, I decided to read this book before the movie comes out.
The writing: it was better than mediocre. Not poetic. Not flowery. Not pretentious. And also not boring. Middle school grade. There was somthing there. It told what it needed to and moved on. Could it have been better? Yes. I would have like to see a bit more physical descriptions. Get a better glimpse of personalities through the senses, but the writing in itself got the job done. I knew where I was at, and I got a general picture of what the places looked like. There were small moments where I knew with certanity and deep details of what was happening (i.e the fight scenes), showing a capable author behind the book.
Here’s an excerpt:
“I bathe Bernie Kosar after dinner, using shampoo and conditioner. I brushed him with an old comb left in one of the drawers from the last tenant. He looks and smells much better, but his collar still stinks. I throw it away. Before going to bed I hold open the front door for him, but he isn’t intereseted in going back outside. Instead he lies down on the floor and rests his chin on his front paws. I can feel his desire to stay in the house with us and I wonder if he can feel my desire for the same.” (Page 94)
Everything is put there. Readers can get the picture, but there isn’t any details that shows reader how this character is different say from another. But I’m guessing that’s going into a different realm of writing. As I said, we get the general jists of what’s going on and it flows well.
The author also does a really good job with the passage of time, overall. There are moments where the book stalls and those moments usually involved the girl, the love interest. And given hints from the book I hope the author does not take this relationship he built and turn it into something else that’s prevalent in YA books. But those moments with the girl led up to the end means, albeit predictably (but every story follows a formula, right). Mr. Lore (which isn’t the author’s real name) moved the story along not spending too much time on things that aren’t too important to the story.
Thinking critcally I know this would be something I write. And I know that it could be written better, but at the same time I also know that this will probably be the “best” I’ll accept my books to be. I tend to write in this manner, focusing on the action details (how the story moves along and what the characters does) rather than specific setting and emotional state. A well written book has all three and gives that vibe. Yes I am saying I would rate my own works, if they ever do get published around a three. Anyway back to Number Four, I liked the plot. The details of the plot come together well. They made sense to me.
I am basing my verdict also on the knowledge of outside things beyond this single book. It is said that the book is a series. Six books totaled. And based on this book I would read all six but I would not buy all six. So, yes, read it, but because of length of series and type of writing I don’t think the book is worth buying. It’s good, but not literary treasure. A great escape.