You must turn off your brain and ask no questions when reading this book. It’s a requirement to enjoy it. I failed miserably. It may be readable but I Am Number Four is predictable and clichéd with inaccurate and vague descriptions and explanations.
For the most part I Am Number Four is an easy read although the language at times struck me as amateurish and clunky. Perhaps I expected too much after all this is YA but Lorien, it’s inhabitants and culture were too simple or too similar to that of Earth and humans. I was hoping for a bit more alieness than just boy-with-powers and shapeshifting animals. I expected a new spin on this cliché of a story but it was an incompetent rehash of old formulas.
A lot of “how” questions kept popping into my head in relation to unrealistic circumstances. A major one:
From what I understand 19 Loriens made it to Earth. The rest are dead. Those 19 have to repopulate Lorien when the time comes. Henri tries to dissuade John from procreating with humans because he’ll need a Lorien partner to produce pure children.
Erm…are you serious? How would this work? You need many more individuals for a species to prosper. Reproduction would eventually become incestuous with the result of such unions suffering the disorders (deformities + genetic disease + infertility = extinction ) associated with inbreeding due to little genetic diversity in such a small gene pool making it impossible to adapt, evolve and therefore survive and prosper. A tad scientific but this is science fiction, emphasis on the science. I learned the above in high school biology and this is aimed at that age group -I’m just sayin’.
Other “how” questions:
- How could John’s girlfriend, Sarah so easily accept his alien status without much proof?
- How did Mark come by the message that brought him to John’s home and into the fight?
- How did Henri explain what was going on to Mark?
- How did Six survive her many serious wounds?
- How can a book with so many illogical errors not only make it to publication but be turned into a movie when there are so many better ones out there?
Why is the book by Pittacus Lore? It doesn’t make sense. Didn’t he die 10 years ago with the rest of his people? There was something about the elders disappearing during the ultimate battle on Lorien so there’s a small possibility he still lives, however the book is in first person from John’s POV. WTH?!
Small sidenote: I don’t know about other countries but here in the UK “spastically” is controversial and considered highly offensive if not used in a medical context. I was very surprised to see it here but I’ll put it down to cultural difference and move on.
The final battle didn’t interest me. I skimmed. There were moments throughout the book that gripped me. That were exciting. I liked Henri, John and his dog they made a good team but it seems they’re fighting a losing battle. Henri encourages us to have hope even when the task ahead appears impossible but 6 kids with powers versus a whole race –I’m not optimistic. No matter how many abilities these superhero kids develop.
In some ways this reminds me of The Lightning Thief with the godlike powers, beasts and the run-for-your-life theme. That was targeted at 9-12 year olds and I think this should be too. I think they’d have a better time with it than I did.
The movie, released next week, looks spiffy and exciting. Hopefully it will be better than the book it’s based on because this was just terrible.
ETA Mar 2, 2011: The movie changed almost everything I had a problem with in the book. It was also 100x more entertaining so I encourage you all to see the movie and burn the book!