John Smith has never lived a normal life. He's an alien, developing special powers on a planet far from his own - Lorien - and running for his life every time he (accidentally) draws attention to himself. John Smith isn't even his real name.
He is Number Four, sent to Earth to carry on the Legacies of Lorien with eight others, called the Garde, after his beautiful planet was destroyed by the Mogadorians. John and his protector, or Cepan, Henri, have moved for what feels like the millionth time, because Number Three has just been murdered by the Mogadorians. And John is next in line to die.
But what John finds in his new town, Paradise, Ohio - will it be worth risking death for?
My thoughts -
Everything about this book caught me by surprise, swept me off my feet, and I fell in love... Kind of Prince-Charming-Disney-Style. Except, this much much more serious stuff than Disney.
And you know, while this book was so freaking amazing and I would like to tell everyone about it and have them go read it asap, I don't really feel like I have to write a "SQUEEEEEE" kind of review. This book has a startling confidence about it. Like, "So what? You don't want to read me? You don't like alien stories? Well think again." I know that me talking from a book's perspective marks my downfall into insanity, but it's so true. If this book could talk, that's what it would say.
Aliens, beasts, scary guys, other life-sustaining planets, super-powers... I loooove this kind of stuff. It gets me excited; it thrills. It's a crazy outlook, bizarre, strange, but totally fun nonetheless. If this was an alien book, like, say, Transformers-ish, then I'd say think twice before you read it in case you think alien stuff is stupid. But what if I told you this book has more to offer than just sci-fi? What if I told you that this story is way more emotional, has way more personality, and has way better characters than your average alien story? What if I said that everyone should give it a try, regardless of what they think about aliens? I really, really hope you do.
Character notes -
John's voice is unmistakable. It was defined from page one, a beautiful piece of consistency that pulled me in. I was drawn to John's character immediately and deeply cared for him within the first few chapters. His longing to permanently call some place home and build a life, as well as his developing Legacies and discoveries of his past, all help make him a stronger person. The trials he goes through surprised me with how intense they were. I never expected one event after the other to happen, and neither did John, of course. Seeing him respond well to bad situations and use his AWESOME Legacies only added to my elation.
Every other character was equally well-developed, as side characters should be. Henri and John were the perfect pair, Garde and Cepan, scouting Earth together in search of refuge. Sam was an awesome best friend. He made me laugh; for some reason he was such a crack up to picture, so nerdy and adorable. Sarah was John's perfect other half and their relationship displayed a beautiful, unconditional kind of love that just melted me. She was so strong; I found myself wishing I was more like her.
Story notes -
If the author(s) ever decided to write random stories about John's life before Paradise, Ohio, I'd read them. I'd read all the little details. His life (and character) would never get boring. I would follow all the steps of his life until he died. That's how interesting I Am Number Four was! From the first pages I wanted to know everything I could about John, Lorien, Henri, and the Mogadorians. I wanted adventure, intense scenes, emotion, sweetness, and a meaningful, unforgettable climax. I got all that, and more. I loved every moment, every single twist in the story. It was so...different. From anything I've read. It flowed, built; the climax was nearly one hundred pages long. One thing strung to another in a heap of vivid scenes and beautiful prose. The story held me emotionally, and with the last pages I could feel my eyes prick with tears at the bittersweet ending!
Summing it up -
Mighty. That's how I think of John, of his story. I was continually shocked by a book much better than I expected, by consistency, a strong voice, lovable characters, a flipping awesome story line, and very beautiful writing. (At first, I didn't know if I'd like the writing with all the short sentences, but once again, John's voice was too amazing not to like. The writing now stands out to me as great.) I also loved the dialogue. It inspired me in my own writing and gave me a fresh perspective on my story. Whether I like the second book (The Power of Six) or not, I'm buying the first, because as a quick inspiration it will always be a first choice. And while I'll miss John's perspective, I'm looking forward to seeing how two male authors deal with a girl's voice fora change...and I can't wait to see how the story continues! (And ends...? Will this be the end??)
For the parents -
Brief language. D**k repeated a lot. S**t and d**n as well. Sometimes the cussing is funny because one of the characters mixes up cuss words all the time. John/Sarah kiss; two passionate kisses, no details. They lie in bed together, but nothing happens except one time they kiss (again, no details). Short references to drinking/making out at a party. 14+