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Saturday, September 7, 2013

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

Title: I am Number Four
Author: Pittacus Lore
ISBN: 9780061996795
Publisher: HarperCollins Audio
Released: August 17, 2010
Series: The Lorien Legacies #1
Duration: 11 hours, 32 minutes
Source: Audiobook from my public library

"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."
First Lines:

"The door starts shaking. It's a flimsy thing made of bamboo shoots held together with tattered lengths of twine. The shake is subtle and stops almost immediately."
Page 7

I have been keeping an eye on this series for years. But when I was in need of an audiobook and it was available at my library, I decided to finally give it a shot.

Four came to Earth ten years ago with his guardian. They have to keep themselves hidden from a race of aliens that is trying to kill them. Because they have to move around so much, Four has never really stayed at a school long enough to make friends and have a normal life. Now they've moved to Ohio and his new name is John Smith. He starts to actually make a name for himself there - until they realize they may have been found out.

Overall, this is a solid science fiction story. When their planet is being attacked, a ship of some children is sent to another planet to keep the race intact. They have to split up on the new planet because the evil race of aliens is still after them. And now they are all constantly on the move in order to keep themselves safe. It's a cool premise. I'm just not sure about the implementation.

Part of this might be on my reason for putting off this book. I recall there being some controversy about the way this series has been written. The author is, of course, a pseudonym. But the person behind the book is James Fray - the guy who wrote Million Little Pieces. And there seem to be some ghost writers who actually came up with the idea... I don't fully remember. But I was sort of put off by the whole thing and worried that it was just someone else trying to break into YA publishing because it's the hot place to be.

Because that was my mindset, I really tried to put that aside while listening to this story. But then I realized there was something about the way it was being read that put me off as well. The reader used all of these different voices - and most of the time very necessary. But the voices he chose were very cartoon-y. It made it hard to take some of the characters seriously - especially when there were serious things happening. The girls voices were the worst, really. Some of the inflections used weren't how teens really speak... so it took me out of the story a lot.

While I really do think that the premise is totally solid, I feel like the full effect was very Disney. Things wrapped up very comfortably, some of the reactions to things were predictable, and the relationships are a little too cute. I will admit that part of this might be on the fault of the audio reader. But listening to this book has let me know that I don't need to continue this series.

I know there are some science fiction lovers who have really gotten into this series. And more power to them! I know that exciting things happen and I imagine that they are relieved to have a modern scifi option (so much of it is for adults). So I know this will find its audience, but that's just not going to be me. I do feel like I need to see the movie - it seems like that might have worked out better for me. We'll see. :)
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