Title: I Am Number Four
Author: Pittacus Lore
Synopsis (Courtesy of Powell’s Books): “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.”
Thoughts: To state that I Am Number Four is an intense read is an understatement. I did not want to stop reading the novel because I was so enthralled with John Smith’s story and the need to find out how it ends. It combines all of the current political and ecological fears, from pollution and the idea of killing off the planet to the idea of being alone in the universe to the idea of alien invasion, and adds the pressure of growing up. The resulting story is one filled with the tender emotions of first love, the novelty of new worlds, and the heart-pounding excitement of survival. It quite literally is one heck of a roller coaster of a novel!
John Smith is quite remarkable in spite of his powers. In spite of being a modern-day Superman, he is just a kid, trying to fit into a new town and have a normal life. He not only has to deal with the traditional perils of childhood, but he also has to deal with people finding out he’s an alien and that others want to kill him. The reader feels his pain as he struggles to He faces all challenges with grace and courage, and all readers could all stand to take a few lessons from him.
Not every book can be perfect, and there is one small fault in I Am Number Four. If anything, Lorien is too much like Earth. For a different planet light years away, they still have fireworks, read newspapers and drank coffee. It seems the differences between planets only extend to the animal life. While most people might not consider this a big deal, those with a scientific bent might find this bothersome. However, as this is a small issue, it does not detract from the story at all.
I Am Number Four is a great blend of the normal and the otherworldly. It has great characters, amazing action and a story that will leave you wanting more. In fact, I think it just might make one of the top reads of 2010.