Yesterday I picked up I Am Number Four, the new sci fi thriller by Pittacus Lore, whose bio identifies him as a 10,000-year-old alien from the planet Lorien. Lore is, of course, a pseudonym for James Frey and Jobie Hughes. I had been hearing a lot about the upcoming movie and wanted to read the book before the movie's release. Michael Bay brought the manuscript to Stephen Spielberg at Dreamworks, who purchased the film rights in June 2009. The book was released August 3, 2010 and the movie is set for a February 18, 2011 release. The film stars Alex Pettyfer (Alex Rider in Stormbreaker and Kyle Kingston in the upcoming Beastly), Timothy Oliphant (Deadwood) and Diana Agron (Glee).
I Am Number Four, which is the first book in the Lorien Legacies series, introduces the story of nine young alien children from the planet Lorien, who escaped with their guardians in a spaceship and came to Earth after their planet was detroyed by the Mogadorians. The Mogadorians followed them to Earth, but not before the Elders put a charm in place that determines that the children can only be killed in numerical order. As the children reach adulthood, they will develop legacies, superpowers that will allow them to stand up to the Mogadorians. They hope to defeat them, save Earth from Mogadorian destruction and return to their home planet.
As the story opens, number three meets his demise, so number four and his guardian are on high alert. They flee Florida and head for Paradise, Ohio where they assume the identities of John Smith and his father Henri. Unfortunately, on his first day of school , John alienates Mark, a football playing bully, whose ex-girlfriend Sarah is friendly to John. To make matters worse, John's legacies begin to surface and his hands begin to glow. Now in addition to his superhuman strength and speed, he is impervious to fire. Although he is supposed to keep a low profile, the bullying gets to him, and he exposes himself by fighting back. In addition to showing his fighting prowess, he allows himself to develop relationships, which he has never done in his previous homes. In addition to being smitten with Sarah, John becomes involved with Sam, a loner who is convinced aliens "walk among us," and a dog named Bernie Kosar, who always seems to have John's back. As the Mogadorians get closer and closer to finding him, John trains with Henri in order to learn to control his powers and encourage the emergence of those that have not yet surfaced. In the climactic battle, number six appears on the scene and they attempt to keep the monsters at bay.
Although I Am Number Four is not great literature, it is great fun. The PR campaign is highly organized. Just as the book was released, hype about the movie hit the internet and a complex website became available at iamnumberfourfans.com. I read all 448 pages in one day, which is testimony to its highly addictive, action packed plot. I'm looking forward to seeing Alex Pettyfrer, Timothy Oliphant and Diana Agron bring these strong likeable characters to the big screen.