Monday, May 30, 2011

I am Number Four (Book 1 of The Lorien Legacies series)

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by Pittacus Lore
The Lorien Legacies series (Book 1)

"In the beginning we were nine.
Three are gone.
Six are left.

They caught Number One in Malaysia.
Number Two in England.
And Number Three in Kenya.
I am Number Four.
I know that I am next."

With a title and summary like that, and with puny Malaysia (pardon my opinion) included, you will need a chain to hold me from flipping through those pages. It has been a long time since I came across another intriguing title and summary like this one, with rhyming passages to go with as well, so I expected that this would be a story with a nice plot in it.

This story focused on a teenager from another world who goes by the name (you guessed it) Number Four.  A team of beings came to our nice little planet to escape from the massacre of their planet by invaders from their neighboring planet. Nine of them came, and since they knew the oppressors will finish the job by looking for them on Earth, a spell was cast so that they could not be killed except in the order of their numbers, hence the numbers in lieu of their names. Since three of them were killed in the beginning of the story, the protagonist became the next in line to be exterminated. 

By now you would have expected that this will be a very interesting story. With first person narrative and powers that materialize within Number Four with each passing moment, the author has a very solid ground for making this story into a fast-paced action thriller. Unfortunately it reads more like the love story of a hormone raging teenager instead of a super-powered face-off.

The story is not half as bad as I wanted to sound, just that the mushy part that goes between Number Four and his crush went way too far in the story. Reading this book made me realized that Pittacus Lore is very good in promoting his story but not in advancing it. His title and summary were written to intrigue, and he built up the suspense early in the story; unfortunately that is the best part. While the reader goes on to decipher the exact event which happened on Lorien (the protagonist's homeworld), the suspense suddenly drops, with whole passages devoted to exploring the raging hormones of a teenager towards the opposite sex and bullying rival. There were moments meant to build up suspense again, but it just did not did a very good job of it.

The characters were nicely built up though, and through first person narrative the reader gets to know more of Number Four's thoughts. For a protagonist with superhuman feat, he sure was not impressive enough when it came to critical thinking. In situations when you expected an ingenious way to escape or settle the situation, the whole thing just played out in the usual way - it was solved either through blind luck or with his hormone-boosted will for love. I had read 'The Da Vinci Code' numerous times, and Number Four sure did not strike me as the clever type, just a guy who punched through with help. Even in the final moment, the fight was not won with any clever strategy.

Still, the story warrants reading, if just to kill time. I hope that the second installment will work out more interesting than this first one, which is quite a disappointment for me. Since Pittacus Lore made a cameo appearance as one of those magical Elders in the book, maybe he can change a little on the intelligence of the rest of the surviving Loriens.

By the way, if you were looking for Malaysia in the book, then forget it. Our puny country only appeared in the summary. Guess the Elder, Pittacus Lore, did fool this Earthling into buying his book, not that I am complaining...

Extra materials related to the story can be obtained in the below site. As I said, quite a promoter of his story.



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