Book review

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore (2010)

Part 1 of the Lorien Legacies series

How long do you think you could last, alone out there on the run? You can have one grown up to help you. It’s hard. Very hard. Especially when it isn’t really even the police who are after you, though that can happen too, off and on. Your real, mortal enemy are the Mogadorians. They are aliens...

Well, that is how it is for John Smith in this book. He’s been on the run all his life. He is running with Henri who, as the grown up, is the man who has kept John safe all these years. That has meant a lot of bag packing and moving on; never really settling anywhere. John has never lived anywhere for more than about six months. So he has never bothered to make any close friends. There doesn’t seem any point. Always moving on to the next town and the next school and the next identity:

I have the urge to cry, but I don’t. It’s not that I’m necessarily sad to leave Florida, but I’m tired of running. I’m tired of dreaming up a new name every six months. Tired of new houses, new schools. I wonder if it’ll ever be possible for us to stop.

Well no, it won’t ever stop really. That’s because John is an alien too. He’s Loric, from the beautiful planet Lorien. His home planet was attacked and plundered by the Mogadorians. His whole race was wiped out. Only nine gifted children were saved each with their own keeper. They were loaded onto a spaceship and sent to planet earth. But they are still not safe from the Mogadorians, and neither for that matter, is planet earth. The Mogadorians are merciless plunderers.

So John and Henri arrive in Paradise, Ohio, population 5,243. They are exhausted.

‘Wow,’ I say. ‘This place is even smaller than where we stayed in Montana.’
Henri is smiling. ‘Who do you think it’s paradise for?’
‘Cows, maybe? Scarecrows?’

It’s a bit like paradise for John actually. He’s growing up. He needs friends. Meet Sarah, shockingly beautiful. And Sam with the complete NASA T-shirt collection. They are both going to be very important to him. But John is changing in other, more Loric, ways too. His Legacies are starting to show. Think super-powers! The first one to show is Lumen:

I sit on the floor, sweat stinging my eyes. Both hands are in terrible pain. I knew to expect my Legacies, but I had no idea it would include this. I open my hands and my right palm is shining brightly, the light beginning to concentrate. My left is dimly flickering, the burning sensation almost unbearable. I wish Henri was here. I hope he’s on his way.

That’s part of Henri’s job description help John develop his Legacies into proper weapons that will aid the Loriens in their battle for survival. And make no mistake, there is going to be a battle. John is Number Four:

In the beginning we were a group of nine.
Three are gone, dead.
There are six of us left.
They are hunting us, and they won’t stop until they’ve killed us all.
I am Number Four.
I know that I am next.

What can I read next?

Absolutely loved it! And it’s a big series so you won’t have to worry about what to read for quite a while:

  • I Am Number Four
  • The Power of Six
  • The Rise of Nine
  • The Fall of Five
  • The Revenge of Seven
  • The Fate of Ten
  • United as One

If you really enjoyed the storyline of being out there on the run, on the open road, I think you might like to look at the seriously grizzly Demon Road Trilogy by Derek Landy:

  • Demon Road
  • Desolation
  • American Monsters

There is a really satisfying sub plot in I Am Number Four between Four and Mark James the Paradise School bully. There’s something similar in the brilliant Dark Matter series by Teri Terry:

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