Saturday, January 15, 2011
Review: I am Number Four
Buy it from The Book Depository
In the beginning we were nine.
We left when we were very young, almost too young to remember. Almost. And now . . .
Three are gone.
We are here to keep our race alive, which was almost entirely obliterated. We're just trying to survive.
Six are left.
But we are hunted, and the hunters won't stop until they've killed us all.
They caught Number One in Malaysia. Number Two in England. And Number Three in Kenya.
I am Number Four. I know that I am next.
My copy of I am Number Four finally got delivered yesterday. I picked it up at an amazing price during the Exclusive Books Fire Sale, but they had supplier problems and couldn't get it to me any sooner. I had just finished Feast of Souls so decided to see what all the hype was about and managed to finish the book in about 8 hours of reading.
It might be that this book is just aimed at a much younger audience, but I found it very predictable and filled with cliché after cliché. It doesn't really offer anything new and at times it felt like a slightly different rewrite of the "Roswell" TV series.
I find it had to believe that the main character experiences love at first sight and within a couple of days he and the girl of his dreams (Sarah) are an item. A bit difficult to swallow. Not to mention the obligatory geeky outcast friend (Sam) and the rivalry with the football hero (Mark) who is also incidentally Sarah's ex-boyfriend. Sound familiar yet?
There are quite a few holes in the plot. I won't mention them all, but one that stood out was how fast Number Four managed to get to grips with his newly found power of telekinesis. Yes, our alien friend also has superpowers! A couple of hours after developing the ability he manages to stop a flying bullet and saves the day. Mmmm... somewhat difficult to understand since his other power took him a couple of weeks to master.
Another thing that bugs me is that the book was written/published in 2010 and in it he describes a poster of the solar system as "all nine planets and the Sun". Pluto has been demoted to dwarf planet since 2006 bringing the number of planets down to eight. A bit of research goes a long way!
The action sequences are pretty good, but there is quite a Deus Ex Machina vibe to quite a few of them. Overall I was disappointed. I expected so much more from the book and it failed to deliver. In this case I think the forthcoming movie will be MUCH better than the book.
I can only recommend this to someone who is new to science fiction and who wants to dip their toe into the genre. This is definitely aimed at teens and those very young at heart.