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I Am Number Four, by Pittacus Lore

  • Pub. Date: August 2010
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Format: Hardcover, 440pp
  • ISBN-13: 9780061969553


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.

I managed to pick this book up as an advanced reader copy, although it is currently on the shelf at the bookstore. 

'John Smith' is number four.  He and his Cepan (basically a guardian), Henri, have been on the run ever since seeking shelter on Earth.  The Mogadorians, after laying waste to their own planet and destroying all its resources, turned their eyes to the planet Lorien, attacking and destroying it in their greedy search for more raw resources.  John and eight other children and their Cepans manage to escape, fleeing to Earth to blend in, to wait until the children have grown into their Legacies, their powers.  A charm is placed on all of them, ordering them from 1 to 9, a charm that will be broken if any of them ever come face to face with each other.  They can be hunted, they can be tracked, but they cannot be killed out of order.

In the book, John and Henri have just left the Florida Keys for the small town of Paradise, Ohio.  The rules are always the same:  Keep your head down, don't do anything to stand out, always be prepared to leave on a moment's notice.  All of this is thrown out the window as John finally develops his first Legacy -- an immunity to fire.  He also meets a beautiful girl and slowly starts to get involved with her, despite Henri's warnings to the contrary.

Henri warns John not to get involved with the human girl, Sarah, but he also goes out of his way to give John and Sarah private time together.  John also doesn't keep his head down to avoid undue attention.  He tangles with several of the students in the school, fighting them, which raises questions about how he could be so strong.  Part of his first Legacy is the ability to create light with his hands, which he uses in front of other students, raising even more questions about just WHO or WHAT he is.

The stakes are raised higher when, during a party, a student's house catches on fire and John uses his new-found immunity to fire to run into the house to save Sarah.  He is caught on camera, and from there the action explodes.  Mogadorians move in for the kill, tearing down everything in their path to get to John.  In the midst of the fight, number six appears, breaking the charm that protects all of the children.  Together, she, John, Henri, and a few of the regular students are caught in the middle of a fight for their lives.  They destroy the soldiers sent after them, but at a cost.

The book was rather interesting, and was a quick entertaining read, but it brought up a lot of questions.

If the Lorians felt that it was possible that the Mogadorians could attack them, why weren't better safeguards in place?
Why were only nine children, out of an entire planet, saved?
It was easy to understand why Sam accepted who John was so quickly, but when other students found out, they also accepted it with little question.  Why?

A good read, and worth it for the entertainment value.  I'd be interesting in reading the rest in the planned series to see how it all plays out.

It'll be interesting to see the movie too, which is planned for 2011

Four of Five stars, simply because of such an interesting premise.