Reviews for I Am Number Four

Booklist Reviews 2010 June #1
Is Pittacus Lore a pseudonym? An introduction suggests that Lore is 10,000 years old and hails from the planet Lorien, so I'm going with yes. This fun bit of business is indicative of the book's commitment to its premise: 10 years ago, nine children fled war-ravaged Lorien and landed on Earth along with their adult teachers. As they mature, each child develops powers called Legacies, which help them fight the evil Mogadarians. The Nine can only be killed in order--and Number Three just bit it. That leaves Number Four: John Smith. At least, that's his latest alias, as he and his guardian, Henri, flee to a new town for the umpteenth time. There John encounters bullies, falls in love, and begins to, you know, move things with his mind. Though the finale bogs down in a cluttered monster battle, everything else is terrifically propulsive. Meanwhile, the backstory (Loriens are given credit for everything from Greek gods to the Loch Ness Monster) deserves the next story that Lore is surely concocting in his/her/its spacecraft right now. Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2011 Spring
A human-looking alien named Number Four lands in Paradise, Ohio. He assumes the identity of John Smith, a high school sophomore, and starts to develop his Legacies (special powers). This plot-driven novel moves at an intense pace while still focusing on character growth. After a chaotic final battle, the open ending leaves ample room for future exploration. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2010 #5
This first book in a new series (putatively written by one of the Elders of the planet Lorien) revolves around human-looking aliens living on Earth. An intricately woven backstory is convincingly presented through the main character's visions. Ten years before the story begins, nine young Lorien children and their guardians escaped in an airship to Earth after their planet was invaded and decimated by Mogadorians. Thanks to a protective charm placed on the children before they left Lorien, they can only be killed in numerical order. As the book opens, the first three are dead, and Number Four and his guardian, Henri, flee to Paradise, Ohio, where Number Four assumes the identity of John Smith, a high school sophomore. Tired of hiding, he takes some chances and befriends two of the book's most memorable characters: a dog named Bernie Kosar and a boy named Sam. John also falls in love and starts to develop his Legacies, or special powers, that may one day help him and the other Loriens defeat the Mogadorians who have come to Earth to kill them and destroy Earth, too. This highly plot-driven science fiction novel moves at an intense pace while still focusing on character development. After a chaotic final battle that presents more questions than answers (a confusing sequence in an otherwise riveting first book), the open ending leaves ample room for future exploration of the series' intriguing larger concepts. cynthia k. ritter Copyright 2010 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2010 August #1

If it were a Golden Age comic, this tale of ridiculous science, space dogs and humanoid aliens with flashlights in their hands might not be bad. Alas... Number Four is a fugitive from the planet Lorien, which is sloppily described as both "hundreds of lightyears away" and "billions of miles away." Along with eight other children and their caretakers, Number Four escaped from the Mogadorian invasion of Lorien ten years ago. Now the nine children are scattered on Earth, hiding. Luckily and fairly nonsensically, the planet's Elders cast a charm on them so they could only be killed in numerical order, but children one through three are dead, and Number Four is next. Too bad he's finally gained a friend and a girlfriend and doesn't want to run. At least his newly developing alien powers means there will be screen-ready combat and explosions. Perhaps most idiotic, "author" Pittacus Lore is a character in this fiction--but the first-person narrator is someone else entirely. Maybe this is a natural extension of lightly hidden actual author James Frey's drive to fictionalize his life, but literature it ain't. (Science fiction. 11-13)





Copyright Kirkus 2010 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2010 July #3

In this action-packed but formulaic novel, first in the Lorien Legacies series, John Smith appears to be a normal American teenager, living in Ohio with his father, attending high school, and falling for a local girl. But he's really something much cooler: an alien from the planet Lorien, and one of the last survivors of a race that was nearly wiped out by its enemies. And now the evil Mogadorians have traveled to Earth looking for survivors, with an eye toward wiping out this planet as well. John is destined to fight them, but will his superpowers manifest before it's too late? Lore (a Loric elder in the book, and a pseudonym for writer James Frey and a coauthor) provides a fast-moving plot and some genuinely creepy bad guys, though the basic premise is clichd and the science won't pass muster with diehard SF fans. However, a Michael Bay-produced movie is planned for 2011, and for those looking for an undemanding, popcorn-ready read, this "guy--okay, alien--gets the girl and saves the world" adventure should do the trick. Ages 14-up. (Aug.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2011 January

Gr 7 Up--Despite the amazing powers that many of the people of Lorien possess, the planet was defeated and its natural resources looted by Mogadorians in a matter of days. Only nine children escaped with their guardians to Earth, where they planned to hide until they developed their powers in order to defeat their enemies and revive Lorien. The Mogadorians hunt the Nine and have already killed three of them. And that's just the backstory. When Number Four, bearing the name "John Smith," moves to Paradise, OH, he runs afoul of the school bully, falls for the most beautiful girl in town, and befriends the local alien conspiracy nerd in short order. There is plenty of great action, but the dialogue is average, as is the character development. With its interesting premises and a fast-pace telling, the story will grab readers who are willing to suspend quite a bit of disbelief. Others, who like their science fiction with a bit more science and internal logic, will have to search elsewhere.--Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids, WI

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VOYA Reviews 2010 December
"John Smith" is actually Number Four, one of nine children of a dying alien race (Loric) on the run from another, more powerful alien race. John and his guardian, Henri, hide out in Paradise , Ohio, where John finds love with a local girl and begins to come into his alien powers. In a clever twist, to protect the children from the villainous Mogadorians, the Loric cast a protective spell: the children can only be killed in order of their numbers, so long as they are kept separated. Unfortunately, the first three have already been murdered, which John sees in his dreams and feels in the form of a scar on his right ankle. Henri and John try to live below the radar, but with John occasionally glowing and practically invulnerable to fire, plus the Mogadorians closing in, it may not be long before they're back on the run This lively new spin on Superman and space invaders feels uniquely clever for the majority of the story, captivating readers with mystery and romance alike. So committed is the author to the cause, he eschews the typical biography in favor of a pseudonym claiming to be the last ruling elder of the dying planet Lorien. (Internet searches suggest Lore is actually James Frey of A Million Easy Pieces [Anchor/Doubleday, 2005] notoriety.) So it is disappointing the story turns into a routine battle scene in the final chapters, when we've been built up to expect something greater than an everyday sci-fi thriller.--Matthew Weaver 4Q 4P M J S A/YA Copyright 2010 Voya Reviews.

VOYA Reviews 2012 December
Lore's fourth installment in The Legacies packs quite a punch. Building on I Am Number Four, this multipart novel explores Numbers Six and Nine, and the fallen of the Garde, a group of children from the planet Lorien who have special gifts. The Garde have come to Earth to protect it from the Mogadorians, a ruthless race who destroyed Lorien and is now infiltrating Earth with the intention of seizing the planet. The Garde can only be destroyed in numerical order. As Number One and Number Two are hunted down and murdered, the remaining members must stay on the run as their chances of survival become increasingly slim. Number Six is captured but manages to escape. Number Nine falls for a human girl who betrays him, and Adam, the son of a Mogadorian general, renounces everything his race stands for after being forced to visit the memories of the dead Number One to gain tactical information for his father Each entry in this volume is dark, surprising, and poignant. Lore's stark style fits perfectly with the plot of each piece, and readers will be left wanting more. Though this is the fourth book of the series, it is absorbing enough to make first-time readers want to pick up the previous novels. Lore's character development falls short in places and the action is sometimes repetitive, but overall this bold addition to the series will be popular with science fiction readers and fans of the original novel and film.--Dotsy Harland. 4Q 4P J S Copyright 2011 Voya Reviews.