That’s what ran through my head the moment I spotted I Am Number Four at the local Target (YES, ninjas do shop at Tar-jay from time to time) Anyway, I resolutely turned my back and walked out without giving the book a second glance. Besides nearly always disliking stories written from the male POV, I’ve never been a huge fan of aliens, so the book was a definite no for me. Then Christmas rolled around, and I was searching for a book for one of my male cousins, and there it was again. Same dumb title with the pretty cool cover. This time I decided to give it a shot. I picked it up, read the inside cover and that was it. I was hooked. The voice struck me right away, the stakes were appropriately high, and I finally understood the reason for the lame name on the book jacket.
The opening pages were stellar. I loved the quick pacing, the short. choppy. sentences. The action was there, the game was on, Number Three was running for his life, and then…things changed.
The main character John (Number Four) and his guardian Henry stepped onto the scene, and I was underwhelmed. Yes, I know that’s not a word, doesn’t change the way I felt. There was the male voice I can’t stand: flat, stagnant, almost painfully normal in tone despite the war that was heading his way. That’s one of the reasons I don’t do aliens. They’re usually just too blah, too blank-slate. It’s almost like authors are afraid to give them a personality because it would make them too human.
But that could just be me.
The characters were…fine, I guess. I didn’t love or hate them, which for me was a problem because I want to root for the MCs and boo the bad guys till I’m writhing on the edge of my seat, waiting impatiently to see what’s going to come next. The love interest was, like John, flat, that average, forgettable girl character you might find in any YA. In fact, just now I can’t recall her name. Henry seemed a little too much like Giles from BtVS for my tastes, and Sam was my favorite human (or alien) in the book. My favorite character overall was Bernie Kosar, the dog. The scenes with him were my favorite, and John’s thoughts toward him made me like him a little more.
All in all, the book was okay. Like I said neither good nor bad, VERY wordy--especially toward the end--but the story wasn’t terrible. Far as aliens go, I prefer
over Number Four, but maybe that’s because it was a TV show. (Yes, yes, I know it was a book series first, but I watched it on the WB before it became the CW) Max and Michael (especially Michael) had it all over John, and Liz showed more backbone than what’s-her-name in every scene. Roswell
That being said: Will I be at the movie? Heck yeah! I think one of the trailers featured a song by Adele (love, love, love her), and there’s a kid/alien with superpowers. How could a ninja resist?