Ten years ago on the planet Lorien as the evil race of Mogadarians annihilated all life, a ship shot into space toward the nearest sustainable planet, Earth. Aboard that vessel were nine young children and their guardians. These children were the planet's gifted Garde; their mentors, the Cepan. A protective charm was placed on the children giving them a chance to survive and grow into their powers, Legacies. As long as they stayed apart the charm would hold and they could only be destroyed in numerical order. As the cover of this newest SF states: Three Are Dead I Am Number Four.
Only adding to the book's appeal is the author's name, Pittacus Lore, an alias for the collaboration of James Frey (of "fictionalized" memoir fame) and Jobie Hughes. The jacket flap indicates that Lore,the oldest Elder of Lorien, has been living here on Earth awaiting a final battle; a battle with the stakes so high life on Earth might cease to exist.
Setting the stage for what can only be described as a thrilling page turner is a prologue describing the death of Number Three. When the third ring appears on his leg signifying the death of Three, Four and his mentor flee the state of Florida to the peace and hopefully quiet town of Paradise, Ohio. Never being able to live anywhere for more than a few months, at their new home with new identities, 15 year old John Smith and his "Dad" Henri try to blend in while constantly being on alert for the appearance of the Mogadarians. It seems that constantly being hunted and on the run has finally taken its toll on the pair. Henri, ever the protector, is increasingly anxious about John's Legacy appearing. All John wants to do at this point is be a normal teenager. But how can you be normal when you have powers like Superman and your Legacy hasn't even revealed itself yet? The truth is...you can't.
From his first day at school normal is just not part of John's life. The plot begins to quicken and thicken as the additional characters are introduced: Mark James, football star, bully and former beau of Sarah, Sarah Hart, daughter of the Smith's realtor who captures John's heart at first sight, Sam Goode, a withdrawn teen with an over-the-top interest in aliens who becomes the first real friend John has ever had and Bernie Kosar, a stray dog that looks like a beagle but promises to be more than meets the eye.
As I continued to read this story I became attached to the world of the Loriens, their history and the mystery of their destruction. I found myself caught up in the day to day stress and mess of teens and high school life. When one of John's Legacies appears and his training begins in earnest I cheered for Henri's persistence and John's determination. What's not to like about non-stop action, teen romance, an unbreakable bond between a mentor and his child, deadly, dark aliens that will reach their goal by any means necessary or heart-pumping battle scenes of supernatural proportion?
This is going to be one science fiction tale that is going to soar off the shelves. (Note: I just ordered additional copies for our school.) At the I Am Number Four web site readers can feast on facts about all things Lorien.
Not to be forgotten is the up coming movie that at this writing is in post production and set to be released in early spring of 2011. Given the cast, director, writers and producers it should light up the silver screen. It's mind-boggling that with a book publication date of August 2010 the movie will be available that quickly. But nonetheless, save a seat for me...I'll be there with all the rest of the fans. And look for me at the head of the line when the next book of the proposed six hits the stores.