Why did I get it: I was curious and I want to see the movie in February.
How I would rate it: 3.5 out of 5 stars.
My Summary: Number 1, 2, and 3 are dead. The alien children of Lorien must be eliminated in sequential order. Number Four is next. This book is his story.
My Review: I Am Number Four is another co-authored book and it was quite good. The characters weren’t bad overall either. I liked Henri and I liked Number Four a lot in of themselves, but I didn’t really find most of the minor characters worthwhile outside of Sam since he was the designated geek and alien conpiracy theorist as well as a good friend to Number Four. As far as everyone was concerned, they were basically blank slates including Number Four’s lame love interest.
I definitely prefer Henri and Number Four’s father-son relationship and Number Four and Sam’s friendship to the romantic subplot between Number Four and Sarah. This was my least favorite part of the book and the main reason why this book was never getting 5 stars from me. The romance was really rushed and never developed to the point of absurdity. One second they’re friends, the next second she’s into him and he’s really into her, and a few chapters later they’re dating, and not too long after that they’re madly in love. I suppose I should be grateful that they never spent much time together, but whenever they did it grated on my nerves.
In fact, it isn’t until page 270 that Number Four and Sarah even have something approaching a real conversation, and then the whole conversation is about them missing each other which would be easy to do seeing as they spend no time together. When she finds out Number Four is an alien, all Sarah does is say she loves him and it doesn’t matter and even then their conversation is a handful of cliche dialogue. It’s just the most useless romantic subplot ever, and Sarah is a cardboard cutout of a character. She never reacts like a person would react any situation from beginning, middle or even end. She even lets this obnoxious and abusive Stephen King-esque bully pick on her and on Number Four without much of a reaction even when the bully kidnaps her. Basically I don’t get the authors reasoning behind Sarah’s inclusion. The book has so much going for it in terms of the other core characters and action sequences that they shouldn’t have bothered bogging down a really good story with a romance even they themselves couldn’t put any real effort into.
At least the book made sure to come back to certain plot points, answering certain questions while leaving plenty of others left to be dealt with. And while the first half was slow in places, the second half of the book was fantastic outside of the random lovey dovey cooing between Number Four and Sarah that seemed more appropriate for Cold Mountain than a YA novel. There were also a lot of reasons why there ought to be a sequel to this book based on what happened in this book although it didn’t end on a huge cliffhanger. Instead, as I read it, I actually wanted this to lead to a series and I’m looking forward to meeting the other alien teens.
More importantly, Number Four, Henri, and Sam mattered to me as a reader, and I cannot wait to learn more about Number Six since she was actually competent and troubled. As far as the guys are concerned, I believed in and greatly enjoyed all of their connections. I loved how much they all cared for one another. I loved Henri as a strong but deeply emotional alien adult, and Number Four as a rebellious, powerful alien teenage. I was so glad that Sam became Number Four’s first real friend, and that this remained very important to Number Four. So often friendships become undervalued in fiction, but that’s not the case in this book.
I Am Number Four was also a really quick read despite being 440 papes long. I never felt inclined to abandon it completely since I Am Number Four was entertaining and a nice break from supernatural monsters too. The action scenes and the scenes about Henri’s past and Number Four’s Legacies were good, and the friendships weren’t bad either. A decent number of original ideas were presented. Learning about Loric culture and the relationships between Loric aliens and humans was really interesting. And as a comic book fan, I didn’t mind that the book loosely borrowed from the alien concepts and story themes of comic book series like Superman and Green Lantern.
In conclusion, I Am Number Four was definitely fun. It had a mostly great cast of characters with one notable exception and it’ll make for a good movie. I also will be eager to read The Power of Six when it comes out in August. In the mean time I’ll keep my fingers crossed that Sarah goes far, far away before the series is over.