Book Review: I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

I Am Number Four is a book I’ve had on my Kindle for quite some time and I was in the mood for a short read. I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore is the book I chose to pick up. The idea had me quite intrigued too.  A cracking premise doesn’t always result in the most entertaining book though.

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore book review
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I Am Number Four focuses on one 14-year-old boy who comes from another planet and his guardian. There are nine who came to earth and they’re being hunted in order. Number 1-3 have been hunted and killed and Number Four is next. All fairly obvious.

Plot – 3/5

As mentioned above, the premise for this book sounds quite neat. There’s the potential to introduce a new civilisation, new ideas and a much larger world. However, I feel if you’re going to do this, you need to do it a lot deeper than Lore does here or you need to simply write a longer book to be able to fill out more detail.

The plot for I Am Number Four focuses on John Smith (he changes his name everywhere he goes) and his struggles with trying to be a normal 14-year-old boy whilst also knowing he has abilities far beyond that of a boy his age and also knowing that at some point he will have to leave as he’ll be found and hunted.

I really struggle with YA because it’s just so unrelatable and feels like I’m living out a child’s dream of some sort. There are some great YA novels I’ve reviewed on this blog, such as Divergent, Skyward, obviously Northern Lights and so many more. Unfortunately, I just wasn’t gripped enough by this story to consider it up there with those.

Characters – 3.5/5

The very first thing I must mention here is the interaction between John Smith and his love interest, Sarah. The whole thing had me cringing the whole way through. Additionally, she is unbelievably nice throughout the whole novel. She’s kind, caring, instantly understanding, forgiving and gets on with everything that moves – no human being is that perfect. It took away the feeling of there being any real challenge or battle for the love story. Love stories are most interesting when there’s doubt it’ll ever happen.

I enjoyed the character of Sam, John Smith’s best friend. He’s an ultra nerd (even the narrator of the audiobook gave him a blocked nose and winey tone) who believes in aliens and is awful at sports. He’s a bit of a cliche but I’ve always got time for the geek who has kind of given up on caring what others think of him. Other than this there’s the usual bully, the aforementioned love interest and the great guardian, Henri. Henri is supposed to be this unflappable father figure who is always there for John and he does do this, however, he’s a little too quick to forgive and falls into the same problem as Sarah where he just seems to be constantly nice. Not a problem initially but in retrospect seems very unlikely.

I Am Number Four summary – 3/5

I wasn’t impressed with I Am Number Four at all. I read it as a quick read and it only took me a few days, so this is OK. However, the amount of potential here that wasn’t fulfilled and the lack of any conflict between any of the characters made this feel like it lacked any real depth.

I’m not saying this is a bad book by any means, Lore has great ideas here, some that I imagine are explored much more in the follow-up books that I hope to read. But in this book alone, I left felt wanting more and that’s never great when it’s YA as they’re never written in particularly fancy prose either.

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