I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I wanted this to be good.
I really, really did.
Unfortunately, it was nothing special. It wasn't even interesting. And the cliffhanger at the end was so contrived that I don't even feel particularly bad for not caring what happens next.
Let's start with my main problem: the main character. Yep, that's right, he hasn't got a name. I don't know why none of the children are named, but they're not. Henri does have a name, which we find out about two pages from the end. Not sure why it was delayed that long... also, Brandon is a completely normal Earth name. It even sounds sort of French. Why did he change it?
Next, on to Lorien. I shall write a short script detailing the problems:
Me: So... your planet is dead?
MC: Yeah, but it's pulsing in my magic crystal. I have lots of those that show up at various times with no explanation, by the way. Like my magic healing crystal and my magic caffeine crystal. And my magic fire-imperviousness crystal. I have lots more, but Henri won't let me look at them for unexplained reasons.
Me: ...cool. So you came here to survive?
MC: But we're going to go back and repopulate it.
Me: Your dead planet?
Me: You do know it can't support life?
MC: *Nods happily*
Me: I see. And these magical powers?
MC: Are very magical.
Me: Yes, but why?
MC: *Looks confused* What do you mean, why? We have magical powers. And charms. It's magical. We're aliens. It works.
Yes, this is actually the book's attitude toward this. There is no explanation at all. But my main issue was actually with Lorien's culture.
There are two classes: magical people and non-magical people. The non-magical people (with no choice in the matter) are in charge of taking care of magical people's children and training them. They don't seem to mind this. The MC routinely abuses his (Henri), and Henri hugs him and tells him how proud he is. They're all brainwashed, in my opinion. And the author carefully tiptoes around any suggestion that they might be servants or slaves.
Next, their supposed intelligence. The MC is a complete idiot. Despite being warned that morning, he fails to notice his Legacy appearing despite it being painfully obvious. Also, he doesn't notice his other painfully obvious Legacy until the very end. And- surprise!- all of them have telekinesis. So that's handy. His Legacies developed out of order, but that's okay. Probably due to the planet-magic not being quite plot convenient enough. Also, he tells everyone he can find that he's an alien. How are they not dead before the book starts?
And finally, the love story (the characters are so painfully flat that I'm going to skip them). Okay, maybe the MC's an alien. He might work differently. He can fall in love deeply and forever at age fifteen if he must (although Henri's advice that he basically play around with Sarah until his real soulmate comes along is disgusting). But Sarah? She can't be more than sixteen or seventeen. She shouldn't be dating a fifteen year old in the first place, but even if she is, she shouldn't be promising eternal love to someone she'll almost certainly never see again and has been lying to her for pretty much the entire time he's known her. Not to mention nearly gets her killed multiple times. She should go date what's-his-name the much maligned football player instead. Much safer.
Basically, the only thing I disliked about this book more than the book was the movie trailer. The more I think about the book, the less I like it. I'm going to stop before I give in to the urge to give it one start, which would probably be unfair.
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