Book Review: I Am Number Four

If you don't care about tennis, skip to the review by scrolling until you see more jumbo letters. (If you do, keep reading and pretend you never saw the big black things marching across on your screen making this odd thing called a sentence...)

Before we jump into the pool of lovely books and rabid yetis, I have an announcement to make. Yesterday, was the first match between the tennis team I play on (GO MAROONS!), and another team from nearby. I must say, I do enjoy a good competition every once and while. Whether it be camel agility courses, tornado lassoing while riding the said camel, or perhaps a simple game of extreme croquet (where you use a wrecking ball instead of a mallet, and ride a camel). Well...we completely kicked their you-know-whats. It was brutal. (Even though they wouldn't let me take my camel with...) So you see, the team is split into different parts.

We have first singles, which is the top dog of the competition, and plays by themselves against the other team's first singles player. Then we have second singles, who's a step below the first singles, and plays against the other team's second singles player. Followed by 1st, 2nd, and 3rd doubles. Those people play against the other team's people of the same title. All of those people must win two out of three sets to collect the point for the team. Each set goes until someone wins six games. Then we have exhibition doubles. Those players play until one team reaches eight wins, collecting half a point for the team score.

Final score for me and my partner Dani: 6-0, 6-0. That is a good score. The six is us, the zero, the other team. (Either the other team got so frustrated that they were losing so badly that one of them dropped her racket and kicked it, or they were just so scared of our beast skills that she dropped it and stumbled over it. I like option two better myself.)

Now I am going to review a book. If you are scared of books, maybe you should go ride a camel instead. Camels...

I Am Number Four
Pittacus Lore
Star Rating: 2.7

Summary:

There were nine. Three are dead. I Am Number Four. 

Nine teenagers and their guardians are hiding on Earth … protected by a charm that means they can only be killed in numeric order, three are already dead. John Smith is Number Four. And his mortal enemies, the Mogadorian, are hunting him down 

The only way to keep off radar is to keep moving, never staying in one place for long. Finally in the firing line, all he can do is adopt the guise of a student and pray his unusual gifts – his legacies home; Planet Lorien – stay hidden long enough for him to settle into this new community. 

But others seem to sense his otherness and when small-town life sucks him into its intrigues, it’s only a matter of time before his true nature is revealed. And that means there’s no space for love, friendship or a future if it means protecting not only himself, but the other five … 


Thoughts:

I tried my hardest to keep an unprejudiced mind when I picked this up because of a recommendation from July. I didn't want to be raring for something good, and I didn't want to set the bar too low and be blown away either. It was always an inner battle to be open to this new book.

The plot starts out with an interesting snippet of a seemingly normal person and an older gentleman living in a hut, and then branches out to tell you that they both meet an unfortunate end. Did I mention the normal person flies across a chasm?

And the author flicks you away from that little prologue and into the main story before you can say "Snurplegurt." After the beginning prologue, I was pumped. I really was. I couldn't wait to keep reading, to keep turning pages and see what happens next. I plopped onto my bed and leaned against the giant pillow/chair and got ready to dive into the world of Four and co.

Let me break it down to what I liked and disliked for you.

I really liked the ideas, even though they were a tad cliche, that there are other planets out there that people (and villains) inhabit. That there are people who look like us, but have superpowers. Every kid's dream, aye? The mysterious treasure chest was also something I found interesting. Imagine this big intricate treasure chest that holds things from your home planet, the planet you only have the vaguest of memories of. Would that not be cool? I did like the idea that they had to be killed in their order, or else the charm set upon them will protect them, and when if they do happen to die, that the other Lorien children will know it by the fresh burning scar that will appear on their ankle. Those little details kept me going through the book, because I wanted to know just a squick more, perhaps a paragraph. But often the authors (Pittacus Lore is a pseudonym for two people who wrote the book together), wouldn't give me the information I wanted. They'd tangle it just out of reach, making me heave huge sighs of frustration while pounding the book on the floor, debating on whether or not to bring out the boiling vat of jello.

I disliked things more than I liked them, which is a dangerous thing. There were times when I was really bothered by all of the clicheness going on. Like the scene of the high school, where everyone's huddled in their groups of jocks, cheerleaders, nerds, etc. Not all high school's are like that, but it's often a stereotype pasted onto them. The romance between the MC and a girl named Sarah, often got in the way of the real plot. Sure, it built up a little bit of the plot to make the MC worried about her well-being during the fighting scenes (and therefore possibly making you tense as well), but I often felt like there was too much of it. One chapter they'd be making cow eyes at each other, the next, making out. The high school romance was too much for the story line to keep moving ahead. It would've been better if the authors had toned down the romance aspect of the story a bit.

I was surprised by the fact that when ***SPOILER! LOOK AWAY!*** Henri dies, I didn't feel any pang of sadness. During many books, when someone dies or comes close to it, I'm deeply saddened (oh, Dustfinger! Mo! How you made me cry! Oh, the tragedies of the Inkworld...) I didn't find myself feeling for the character, loosing his mentor and friend. I felt relief. Pure relief that something had happened. That the plot had been able to clean up its act a bit and gave me something to read on about. To be excited about. So I continued to read, listening patiently to the MC rant about how sad he was feeling. When Bernie Kosar was injured, I was actually feeling that pang of sadness. For the dog. THE DOG. I found that little tidbit really interesting that while the authors were trying to make me sad about Henri, they succeeded in making me sad for Four's pet.

***FINISHED WITH SPOILER LOOK HERE***

The way the story was narrated was in the first-person present-tense. Four was always telling the story from his perspective, giving me access to his thoughts and plans, yet obscuring a few things from me as well. It had sort of a Hunger Games-esque feel to it if you'd squint at it and cock your head at a 90ยบ angle. The descriptions were kept short, the sentences not overly diverse in length and wording. Normally, I'd be okay with it. I don't mind the tense, and short descriptions can often be good when worded just right. The problem was, I felt like Four's narration was dull. Boring. Tedious. Four wouldn't focus on things I wanted to hear, but would continue to rant about Sarah and about how tired he was of making up things and shrouding his life with lies, making me want to jump into the book, give his shoulders a hearty shake and holler, "FOUR! Wake up and smell the Bernie Kosars!" Sometimes I felt the undying urge to just page skim. I did my best to squelch that urge until it was smaller than my brain power at the end math class, and kept on reading things word for word.

I think another problem with the narration was that things just didn't stick into my head. Only huge events in the plot would remain, and I wouldn't be able to tell you what one of Four's past names was if you asked me, or what color Henri's truck is (did it even tell us that?).

As a final wrap-up thought, this book is a hit or miss type. You either love it, or you hate it. There is not really an in between. Personally, I really disliked the first one, though some of the little things I mentioned above made it better. I am reading the second book, and if you're able to plow your way through the first, you'll probably like Seven a lot more than Four. I know I do. I can actually tolerate her narration skills! Huzzah!

That is all.
<3 Seana

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