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.
I Am Number Four was one of the most highly publicized young adult books out there this year. Word has been spread about it months before its release and before its release it even had a movie deal in the works. It was supposed to be original, action packed, and be filled with engaging characters.
Unfortunately, things so rarely end up how we envision them.
I Am Number Four is an surprisingly unoriginal mix between Superman and James Patterson’s Maximum Ride series. The story follows Four (or John Smith as he’s known in the town he’s currently staying in), who is a Garde, an alien being with super powers.
Because of an enchantment placed on the Gardes while their planet was being destroyed these superhero teens can only die in order of their number. Unfortunately for Four, as the book opens the Mogadorians, the alien race who wiped out Four’s species, are hunting Four’s fellow Gardes and just killed number Three, making Four next.
Yet while you would assume that would make him easy prey, he is anything but. Four is faster, stronger, and smarter than any human, as well as able to use super powers such as telekinesis and the power to control light.
Because he is so powerful I found Four a little boring as a character. My personal feeling is you want to root for someone or something that needs to strive to overcome some obstacle. For example Batman was human and had to overcome his parents death before becoming Batman. Four’s race died but there is almost no real connection the reader can feel with Four.
Besides that, the characters are just poorly written. The authors of I Am Number Four clearly watched every stereotypical highschool movie before crafting the characters as they are highly stereotypical and unoriginal. You have the bully/jock, the smart popular girl who just happens to fall for the new guy, and the geeky antisocial best friend who just happens to be good in a pinch.
Characters aside, the book does deliver on the action. There seems to be any number of reasons for Four to use his powers, and because of this readers will get to see some pretty fun action, which should be enticing to guys just looking to read about something blowing up.
All in all while I was disappointed with I Am Number Four, I blame that primarily on the hype that built up the book. If this book had come out without the buildup that was attached to it and my expectations were therefore lowered I would probably have liked this book more. I probably would still think the characters were poorly written but would not have judged them as harshly. Because of this I have to say this is a good book for guys looking for some action, but probably not something readers should wait in line and pine for.
5 out of 10