I Am Number Four [Lorien Legacies]

I Am Number Four [Lorien Legacies] by Pittacus Lore High School Harper/HarperCollins 440 pp. 8/10 978-0-06-196955-3 $17.99
This first book in a new series (putatively written by one of the Elders of the planet Lorien) revolves around human-looking aliens living on Earth. An intricately woven backstory is convincingly presented through the main character's visions. Ten years before the story begins, nine young Lorien children and their guardians escaped in an airship to Earth after their planet was invaded and decimated by Mogadorians. Thanks to a protective charm placed on the children before they left Lorien, they can only be killed in numerical order. As the book opens, the first three are dead, and Number Four and his guardian, Henri, flee to Paradise, Ohio, where Number Four assumes the identity of John Smith, a high school sophomore. Tired of hiding, he takes some chances and befriends two of the book's most memorable characters: a dog named Bernie Kosar and a boy named Sam. John also falls in love and starts to develop his Legacies, or special powers, that may one day help him and the other Loriens defeat the Mogadorians who have come to Earth to kill them and destroy Earth, too. This highly plot-driven science fiction novel moves at an intense pace while still focusing on character development. After a chaotic final battle that presents more questions than answers (a confusing sequence in an otherwise riveting first book), the open ending leaves ample room for future exploration of the series' intriguing larger concepts. CYNTHIA K. RITTER
Gr 7 Up—Despite the amazing powers that many of the people of Lorien possess, the planet was defeated and its natural resources looted by Mogadorians in a matter of days. Only nine children escaped with their guardians to Earth, where they planned to hide until they developed their powers in order to defeat their enemies and revive Lorien. The Mogadorians hunt the Nine and have already killed three of them. And that's just the backstory. When Number Four, bearing the name "John Smith," moves to Paradise, OH, he runs afoul of the school bully, falls for the most beautiful girl in town, and befriends the local alien conspiracy nerd in short order. There is plenty of great action, but the dialogue is average, as is the character development. With its interesting premises and a fast-pace telling, the story will grab readers who are willing to suspend quite a bit of disbelief. Others, who like their science fiction with a bit more science and internal logic, will have to search elsewhere.—Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids, WI
A human-looking alien named Number Four lands in Paradise, Ohio. He assumes the identity of John Smith, a high school sophomore, and starts to develop his Legacies (special powers). This plot-driven novel moves at an intense pace while still focusing on character growth. After a chaotic final battle, the open ending leaves ample room for future exploration.

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