My feelings for this book can be summed up in one word: meh.
Actually, that's not even a word, is it? Just a sound. Yep, that's about as much as I care about I Am Number Four. I didn't hate it. But I didn't like it either. I just felt... meh.
I read this because I was kinda excited about the movie, and I have this weird obsession with reading the book versions of movie adaptations beforehand (as you can probably tell by my last two reviews). I'd been told the movie was, "like Twilight, with aliens", which sounded pretty much perfect for me. Plus, it stars Alex Pettyfer and Dianna Agron, who are both very pretty and made an incredibly cute couple (despite being an alleged PR pairing with a literally fiery breakup).
But back to the book. Our narrotor is John Smith, a.k.a Number Four, one of nine young aliens sent to Earth after their home planet, Lorien, was destroyed by the evil Mogadorians. He's spent his life on the run from these creatures along with his carer, Henri, but all he wants to do is settle down. Henri finally relents and agrees to stay for awhile in a small town called Paradise (really), despite the fact that John is next on the Mogadorians' sequential hit list. So John is at last able to make a friend and, of course, a girlfriend (yay!) - but how long can he escape the detection of the Mogadorians? (Spoilery answer: not very).
It was a struggle to get through this. For a story with a fair amount of action (both of the romantic and more violent kind), I found it incredibly boring. I think part of the problem was that it was written in the present tense - a device which, when used effectively, can really emphasise the urgency of a situation. But, when not, only works to highlight how extremely dull it is - which is exactly what most of the book felt like. Even the fight scenes had my eyes glazing over. There were certain details that seemed to come out of nowhere (for instance, Sarah returning from a trip I didn't remember her leaving for), but I can't say with certainty whether that was a flaw in the continuity or if I just zoned out in too many places. And the sad part is I didn't care enough to go back and reread to make sure. Like I said: meh.
- How lame is the name Mogadorians for a race of evil aliens? Also, their description (or lack thereof) made it really hard for me to picture what they looked like. I was confused for awhile and thought they were some kind of beasts, then I realised that the beasts were their pets. Or something.
- I liked the relationship between Sarah and John, and the fact that it wasn't all angsty and complicated. It was a pretty realistic portrayal of a teen romance (aside from, y'know, the whole alien part), and I appreciated that Sarah had her own thing going on and wasn't swooning every time John breathed. She even told him to shut up when he was being super cheesy (flirtily, it's true, but still it's something). While this was nice and refreshing, their normalcy and lack of hurdles for most of the story (even his alienness doesn't really affect their relationship) means that there was none of the intensity that really makes you root for a couple.
- My favourite character was Bernie Kosar. A dog. That says a lot about the other characters. But it really irritated me that (spoiler alert) John didn't make the connection that Bernie was an alien, too, until he literally transforms in front of his eyes. I felt it was just so obvious. But then, John doesn't seem like the brightest spark - it also took him 340-odd pages to realise he'd been able to hear the thoughts of animals all along.
- Even though I didn't particularly enjoy this book, I'll probably still read the inevitable sequels. Because it hints that a lot of back story gets explained in the next one, which I'm curious about. Then again, maybe I'll just read the Wikipedia synopsis.
In a completely unintentional pattern, I yet again saw the movie trailer before reading the book. So the cast was cemented in my head. Luckily, as I mentioned, they're very pretty:
Then there was Sam. I wasn't sure who plays him, but there's only one person who comes to mind when a sandy-haired nerd is mentioned: