Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Review: The Power of Six

Title: The Power of Six
Author: Pittacus Lore
(James Frey and Jobie Hughes)
Pages: 380
ISBN: 9780141338668
Series: Lorien Legacies #2
Publisher: Penguin
Published: 2011
Genre: Science Fiction / YA
Source: Review copy from publisher

Buy it from:
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We are the last defense. I've seen him on the news. Followed the stories about what happened to John Smith. To the world he's a mystery, but to me ...he's one of us.

Nine of us came here, but sometimes I wonder if time has changed us, if we all still believe in our mission. There are six of us left. We're hiding, blending in, avoiding contact with one another, but our Legacies are developing and soon we'll be ready to fight.

Is John Number Four - and is his appearance the sign I've been waiting for? And what about Number Five and Six?

They caught Number One in Malaysia. Number Two in England. And Number Three in Kenya. They tried to catch Number Four in Ohio ...and failed. I am Number Seven. And I'm ready to fight.
When I read I am Number Four at the start of the year I wasn’t impressed. It had a great premise, but fell into the trap of using almost every conceivable cliché and stereotype imaginable. The movie wasn’t any better (it might even be argued that it was worse). So it was with quite a bit of trepidation that I started reading The Power of Six. It couldn’t get any worse right?

The story continues on from where I Am Number Four left off. John, Sam and Six are on the run from both the Mogadorians and the authorities while a new character, Marina (number Seven), is introduced. The story is told in the first person and constantly jumps in viewpoint between Marina (Seven) and John (Four). Since the title is The Power of Six you would think that the focus would be on Six, but the title actually refers to the surviving members of the Garde. You do get to learn more about Six’s history (even her name), but as part of John’s viewpoint and through her interactions with him.

Marina and her guardian, Adelina, live in an orphanage in Spain where they took refuge 11 years ago. Adelina seems to have turned her back on her mission leaving Marina without guidance and withholding her inheritance from her. She has to cope with discovering her legacies by herself while having to deal with being bullied. Marina is determined to leave the orphanage as soon as she turns eighteen to go in search of John and the other members of the Garde, but the Mogadorians track her down before she has the chance…

I’m glad to say that after my initial skepticism I was very pleasantly surprised with The Power of Six. This time round the story is far more focused on character development and manages to really bring the characters to life, each with their own motivations, feelings and insecurities. As with the previous installment this is an action-packed, fast-paced read which finishes in a nail-biting finale that will have readers craving for more.

There are some great plot twists and the introduction of new characters adds a whole new dimension to the story. It’s good to see that the plot has matured a bit and that it doesn’t resort to the classic YA tropes as often as the first one. There are still some flaws, the predictable love triangle for one, but this is a huge step in the right direction. I loved seeing some strong female characters that can kick butt with the best of them. After a shaky start the Lorien Legacies (a proposed 6 book series) is starting to look very promising. Let’s hope the future releases continue this steady climb in quality.

The Verdict:
My 13-year-old self would have absolutely loved this, but unfortunately I’m way past that age now so I have to look at it in a more critical light. If you are looking for some action-packed science fiction aimed at teens then this is a good bet. More mature readers might find some elements a bit simplistic. Overall this is a very enjoyable read if you can look past the minor flaws.

The Rating: 6.5/10 (Good)

Thanks to Candice and Adeline from Penguin Books South Africa for providing the review copy.

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