Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Power of Six (Book 2 of the Lorien Legacies series)

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I was drawn to I Am Number Four initially because of the attention grabbing title and its mention of humble backwater Malaysia, but I returned to grab the sequel because of the drama it introduced in the former. 

This time Pittacus Lore blessedly shed most of the mushy romance that is part of an adolescence love story, and focused more on the struggle of a displaced alien from another planet. The plot is more captivating this round, with more to offer compared to the first book. Definitely a better read in my opinion. 

One-liner intro: A superb, intense and captivating teen read on @$-kicking aliens on the run, with more dramatic powers but less mushy romance. 

Best part: Less mushy, more fighting; good contrast between 2 protagonists that allows the reader to easily shift from one perspective to the other; tying up loose ends from the first title.

Not-so-best part: Not so bright protagonist; no clever use of the available powers.

Four Plus Six Plus Seven 

While John Smith, Number Four of the Lorien Nine, was on the run after the events in I Am Number Four, Number Six was hiding in a secluded village in Spain for years without leaving the place. The reason? Her guardian no longer believed in their cause. So unlike John, Number Six had nobody but herself to teach her how to control her abilities when they manifested. She was left anchored to the village under the name of Marina. 

Even so, she was not one with a weak will. She persevered despite her situation and was on constant alert for threat as well as news of where the rest of the Garde were in the world. She knew that John Smith was one of them, and knowing that he could be on the run and hunted by Mogadorians spurred her to speed up her plan to leave Santa Teresa. Especially after she saw a being she suspected was a Mogadorian in disguise, expecting him to hunt her down anytime soon.

Convento de Santa Teresa (Convent of Saint Teresa), Avila, Spain. Maybe Pittacus Lore used this cathedral as his base for Number Seven/Marina's background story? (image taken from Sacred Destinations)

And on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, John had to face an uncertain future. A future with his Cepan, Henri’s death. Unlike Marina though, he was in the company of Number Six and his best friend, Sam Goode. 

The hunt at the end of the first book did not stop in Paradise, Ohio, as they need to fight and elude police officers and Mogadorian soldiers close on their trail. What all three Gardes had in common was their willingness to fight to the end, and to bring the war to the Mogadorians themselves. Unfortunately, none of them were ready for the day when they need to face the strongest of their enemy. 

I Am Number Four and Seven

While Lore’s first book was written from the perspective of John Smith, fourth of the Lorien Nine, and his love of Sarah Hart, this sequel is no longer about those. Enter the action and drama which should have accompanied a space battle opera brought down to Earth, with adrenaline pumping chases and discoveries of clues tying all events together, revealing answers to unanswered questions. 

Like Number Four, Marina had no impressive abilities. Or it should be said that she displayed no ingenuity in employing her abilities to get herself out of tight situations. This same trait had continued with Number Four from the previous book, but at least Number Six had more impressive abilities, presenting herself to be the eye-catching character of the story with a mysterious past, with not even her false name known until quite late into the story. 

The introduction of a few characters around the life of Marina helped evoke some sympathy towards the character, which at the same time generated respect for her when she showed great endurance towards her situation. I enjoy the process of learning the characters through the eyes of the protagonist, guessing with her who was friend and who was foe. Although I got most of them right way before they were revealed, I still appreciate how Lore tried to trick the reader into thinking who was who as well as their true intentions. 

From Two Perspectives 

While the previous book focused solely through the eyes of John Smith, the sequel began through the eyes of Marina, leaping between both perspectives throughout the story. The change in the tone, in the way their mind worked, as well as the shift from one font to another and back, helped me in detecting whose mind is working when I was reading the paragraph. 

A smooth flow of the story also scored additional points for the book. To have a story told from the two different perspectives without disrupting the reader’s focus and without the reader’s interest waning is no small feat, which Lore really did well. 

And unlike the first novel, there is more action this time. What the book lacked though was memorable scenes. Although the book ended with a few “notable” and “definitive” battle scenes, with the necessary and heart wrenching sacrifices, it is still not the memorable type which you would pin it to the story, the kind which drew your breath out and created a defining moment in the story. 

The Rise of Nine 

Despite the lack of “You shall not pass!” moments, The Power of Six successfully draw my waning interest back to the story. Combine that with Lore’s clever wordplay on the title, I would expect the next book of the series to be one whooping battle with the big boss. Already the sneak peek of the next story showed the perspective of the enigmatic Number Six, revealing what happened to harden the young lady and to push her to greater heights. If the battle in this story is going to be lame, then I will lose all faith in Lore’s ability to craft a good story. So Pittacus Lore, self-claimed Elder of Lorien, please do your best to get me a good story.




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