Monday 6 August 2012

I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

Title: I am Number Four
Author: Pittacus Lore
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Page Count: 452
Publication Date: December 8th 2009


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.

What I Thought:

I came across this book after a trip to Waterstones and put it back on the shelf after reading the blurb because it reminded me of The Hunger Games (which I’d read just a few weeks before). Six months later when the Collin’s series had settled a bit I realised I’d probably been a little unfair and decided to give it a chance after re-reading the blurb. I was so wrong. This is nothing like The Hunger Games.

‘John Smith is not your average teenager.’ Cool, I carry on…

‘If he stops moving those who hunt him will find him and kill him. But you can’t run forever.’ The problem is irritatingly even when situations become dire, he hardly tries.

Everything about this book was too… convenient. John and Henri find Paradise in Ohio, literally. The estate agents daughter is beautiful, kind, and intelligent and is for some reason which is never explained, attracted to John who is as equally obsessed with her. Convenient. He’s followed by a dog oddly named Bernie Kosar who John doesn’t question when he can keep up with him travelling a 100 miles per hour. Really? Remember John is an alien and is being hunted by the trench coat wearing Mogadorians, you’d think he’d be a little more suspicious than that wouldn’t you?

‘Oh Bernie Kosar, you’re a strange little dog.’ John said with a smile. (Forgive me if this quote isn’t completely accurate.)

It took about two weeks for John and Sarah to get together after he beats up Mark James (pretty Sarah’s quarterback ex) and his cronies with his super strength and hand lights, so much for staying under the radar. He develops a ‘legacy’ which prevents him from being burned by heat or fire. Good thing too because the whole school gets invited to Mark James’s (it’s okay he’s nice now) house party which ends in a fire which everyone except Sarah and two dogs manage to escape. Our dashing hero saves his damsel in distress and realises while stood in front of her with all but his pants singed away (convenient) that he’s going to have to come clean.

‘I’m an alien. Do you still love me?’ he says. Did he even need to ask?

Yes. Because Sarah has no personality what so ever, even John doesn’t know how she would react. All he knows is she likes to take pretty pictures. If they weren’t kissing then he was too busy throwing someone’s night vision goggles into the next state.

But wait! I’ve forgotten someone. Sam Goode. By far the most interesting character in the book and also the least predictable (he pulls a gun on John) but still he falls flat. Why? Because Pittacus Lore decided Sam had to be a geek that wears NASA t-shirts but never moves beyond that apart from on the fortunate occasion wear we learn why he is so obsessed with aliens. He also spouts a never ending stream of vital information. Convenient.

My problem with this book is that John is an idiot. There is no way he would have even made that far with that stupidity. But don’t blame him, blame the author, or should I say authors, James Frey and Jobie Hughes. The book is written by two people and wow can you tell. Neither is terribly good but after you read about Lorien in great detail, you are later given patronising descriptions.

'The sky looked blue today…' '…It was a great house, classic family home…' Thank you?

The writing is so repetative that I’m sure it made me roll my eyes more times than any of the characters ‘writhed’ in pain, a word so over used that by about the tenth time I read it I writhed at how I was tricked and deceived by The Observer and The Times who told me that this would be ‘Tense and exciting’ and ‘Relentlessly readable.’

That being said I can understand why someone would enjoy this book, because underneath the questionable grammar and occassionally lacklustre descriptions there is a decent story that, while suspending disbelief, can be enjoyed. Just don’t think about how poor Number One never got the benefit of the charm, or how the story is written in the first person but the pseudonym used by the authors’ is the name of a dead character in the book…

The worst thing is that when I bought this book I also bought its sequel, The Power of Six. Next time I’m going to the library.

Rating: 2/5


  1. Nice post, I thought it was going to be a good book because the movie was great but it turned out to be a huge disappointment :(

    1. Thanks, I haven't seen the film yet but it's meant to be better than the book.