Every detail might be important in I Am Number Four

I Am Number Four (Book 1, Lorien Legacies) by Pittacus Lore; published by HarperCollins Children’s Books, a division of HarperCollins Publishers, New York, 2o10; 440 pages.

As the cover states, three are dead.  This is the story of Number Four, one of nine alien children transported to Earth about ten years earlier.  Along with their Cepans (counselors? body guards? teachers?), they are all that is left of Lorien, a planet destroyed by the evil Mogadorians.  Now the evil has arrived on Earth to destroy all that is left of the Loriens and then take over this planet.  Unfortunately for the earthlings, their ignorance about any aliens is about to be replaced with the knowledge of full destruction just like what happened on Lorien.  That is, unless the six remaining Lorien Legacies can find a way to stop the invaders from Mogadore.

None of the premises presented by the authors (more on that later) are new or unique.  But all the concepts and contrivances work well together, creating a fast-paced adventure with fairly believable teen heroes.  In fact, some of the science fiction and fantasy concepts have been altered enough that this book reads more like an adventure novel than fantasy.  Readers, especially middle schoolers, that don’t think they like “the way it could be” fiction might be encouraged to read this one and then appreciate the genre.

The design of the book is mildly interesting.  I think the typeface was chosen to look slightly futuristic, but it didn’t really work that well for me.  The outside edge of the pages are printed with “LORIEN LEGACIES” which leaves dark dashes, almost like a barcode, on each page.  And subchapters are designated by a symbol that is vaguely explained in the text.  I am a sci-fi fan, so this book didn’t present anything new for me (including the gimmicks), but I think sci-fi newbies will find them interesting.

I have to comment on all the Ohio allusions.  How wonderful that most of the action takes place in Paradise–that’s in Ohio, if you can believe it.  I laughed out loud when Bernie Kosar saves the day.  I had tears in my eyes I laughed so hard when I found out that Mogadore is home to the evil of the universe.  And the home base for a subversive alien conspiracy group is near Ohio University in Athens.  Oh, yeah, the authors have to be from Ohio.

Inconceivably, the book (first in a series) was released in August 2010 and the movie is set to be released in February 2011.  So the movie rights to the book were sold and the script written and production nearly completed before the book even hit the market!  You can watch the trailer:

Now, about the authors.  There has been secrecy and rumors abounding about who Pitticus Lore really is.  I know two men have been “accused” and there were some weak denials.  Yes, I know there are two co-authors.  If you don’t know who they are yet, I hope you’ll read the book and try to guess their identities yourself.  There is a MAJOR clue in the book, like their names are included.  Try and find them!

5P     3Q     Grade Level: 7-10

Cover Art: The three rings and glowing, fire-like colors will be significant to readers after they close the back cover.  But the verbiage on the cover is mysterious.  That will be the reason, other than word of mouth, that this book is picked up.

From Reading List: The Way It Could Be (Science Fiction or Fantasy)


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    Word Within a Word! #7 In this teaser you have two tasks. First, you need to fill in the correct blank letter of each word. Second, when you have done this, each letter then needs to be transferred to the numbered blanks in order to discover the keyword. 1. _ AINT 2. TIME _ 3. B _ AST 4. MI _ ER 5. ST _ LL 6. BRI _ E 7. PLAN _ 8. _ IFTY 9. RE _ AP 10. DIAR _ […]
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