Book Review: I Am Number Four

  • Author: Pittacus Lore
  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061969559
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061969553


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.

[Review Contains Spoilers]

In a desperate bid to save their race from extinction at the hands of an invading alien race the inhabitants of the planet Lorien send nine children and their guardians to Earth. On Earth the children must grow and develop their powers while avoiding the Modagorian aliens responsible for the destruction of their home planet.

A Lorien elder put a charm on the children before they left that only allows them to be killed in a certain order. The charm was meant to make the children harder to kill and give them more time to grow and become powerful. However it is a horrible deal for the first three children and numbers eight and nine have it made. The book never explains how the children were assigned their numbers or what, if anything makes the higher numbered children more valuable that the lower numbered children.

The first three of the nine children have already been killed. John Smith is the titular “Number Four” who, accompanied by his guardian Henri moves to Paradise, Ohio in an attempt to hide from the Modagorians. In Paradise, John must discover his powers while navigating the wild world of adolescence. His trials mirror those of many human teens: noticing girls, seeking independence, wanting to make his own decisions. His tumultuous relationship with Henri is not unlike the relationships many teens have with their parents, at times compatible, and at others hostile. They struggle to redefine their relationship throughout the book, as John grows and develops more powers.

The supporting characters are less believable and lack any real character development. Sarah is the popular blond ex-cheerleader. Sam is the outcast/conspiracy theorist, and Mark is the popular football player and Sarah’s ex-boyfriend. All three of the characters are written as shallow, stereotypical caricatures of teenage cliques as seen through adult eyes. At first Mark is hostile to John and inexplicably turns into a friend. Oddly, none of the characters display any skepticism, or question his sanity when John admits he is an alien.

The book’s website reveals that the author of the book, Pittacus Lore, is one of the Lorien elders who escaped the planet’s destruction and is now living on Earth hoping to unite the remaining children to defeat the Modagorians before they can attack Earth. He writes the books as a warning to Earthlings of the dangers facing our planet.

The series will continue in future books with the adventures of the other five Lorien children, and this book is already being adapted for the big-screen by director D.J. Caruso, producers Michael Bay and Steven Spielberg, and starring Alex Pettyfer, Timothy Olyphant, Kevin Durand, Dianna Agron, Jake Abel, Callan McAuliffe and Teresa Palmer. The film is slated to hit theaters on February 18th, 2011.

While the material in I Am Number Four may be a little too violent or intense for very young readers, young adults and older adults alike will find the story to be a fast-paced and enjoyable sci-fi adventure. Overall, I Am Number Four is a good, fun read that was hard to put down.

I give I Am Number Four, four out of five stars

Jason Moore
Written by Jason Moore

is a member of the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films and the Founder/Editor In Chief of SciFi Mafia®