Just finished reading The Power of Six which basically picks right up where I am Number Four left off (and if you haven’t read the first book this review may contain spoilers).
Rather foolishly, or rashly, after reading the first book I declared that I would not pick up the second, not because I didn’t Like I am Number Four (see review here) but just because it wasn’t really my type of thing. What did I know? Not much apparently because I’ve just read No.2 in the series and I’m quite pleased that I did. I actually think this was an improvement on the first, it’s still not going to be a breath taking classic but it is fast paced, in fact pretty much packed to the brim with action, there’s tension, a bit of fun and we have a number of new characters introduced not to mention my favourite Bernie Kosar.
I won’t go into the plot too much. John has become a fugitive since his battle with the Mogadorians at his high school in Paradise, the FBI are now searching for him and he’s on the run. Not to mention he’s still trying to come to terms with his powers and learn something more about the objects in his chest. Sam is still with him, steadfast and determined and of course they have been joined by Six – who is a pretty awesome garde with some kick ass abilities of her own.
On top of this, and what I think really makes a big difference this time around we have a different story running parallel. The story of No.7, Marina, who has been living secretly in a monastery in the Spanish mountains. Her legacies have also started to develop but the Mogadorians are now aware of her. I really liked the voice of Marina and her story just adds so much more. Both stories pick up pace and tension at the same time leading to a show down in both countries for all concerned.
The other thing with this story is a lot more of the background seems to been have cleared up for me. I was a bit puzzled with certain elements in the first installment, which may just be my own stupidity of course, but this time around I got a much better feel for what was actually happening. Although, we don’t yet know what has caused this massive altercation between the Lorien and Mogadorians and hopefully this will be further developed in the next book (which I won’t deny I will read!)
On the whole I thought this was a much more enjoyable book, it’s still simply written but I think the adventure and pace are really good. I think we’ve lost a bit of the ‘cheesy’ high school feel from I am Number Four and there was no ‘half hearted romance’ thrown in for good measure (thankfully – I was never really feeling the romance in the last book it just felt so token). We also get to see a few more of the Garde and I will just say that No.9 is pretty impressive – a total maniac in fact!
In terms of criticisms – I got a bit tired of the hoards of Mogadorians – they just kept flooding out of nooks and crannies in their hundreds and it sort of became a bit tiring – lets face it, John Smith, has a battle at his high school and becomes the FBI’s most wanted and yet hundreds of Mogs are flocking over the Spanish mountains and not a soul sees anybody – give me a break please. And, there are hints that this is nothing to what is to come next – I know the garde are pretty impressive with their superpowers but if we end up with 6/7 of them with their Chimaera beating thousands of Mogadorians then that might have to be taken with a very large, nay huge, pinch of salt. I’m just saying.
But, that’s it, I’m now in this to the end (which I’m sure wont be bitter!)
I am number four is the story of John Smith (as he is currently called). John is an alien, (from Lorien) he is hiding on the planet earth, and accompanied by his Cepan (protector or guardian type figure Henri) is constantly on the run from the Mogaridians (from now on referred to as MGs who are monsters/aliens from another planet). The MGs are basically a bit like a plague of locusts, they have completely ravaged their own planet’s natural resources, then those of Lorien and are now exploring how to take over the planet earth.
To be honest this is not the type of book that I would normally pick up – and more annoyingly I actually bought the movie tie in novel – which really annoys me. I don’t like books that have been changed to reflect a movie with the faces of actors on the front. I prefer the original – a lot of work is put into the cover of a book and I appreciate the work and effort put into the illustration and graphics (and, not only that, I want to use my own imagination). That being said, back to the book itself. This has to be one of the most cheesy, stereotyped, not totally well constructed and inconsistent novels that I have read for a while BUT it was very quick to read, the pages seemed to turn themselves, there was plenty of action and in spite of myself I actually liked it! I didn’t love it and I probably wouldn’t read the next book but it definitely had its moments.
I actually did laugh out loud on a couple of occasions. I found the relationship between the two characters enjoyable to read. And, as usual with me, I liked the introduction of the animal character in fact the little Beagle was probably my favourite character (Bernie Kosar). I think this book reads very much like a novel that has been written with a movie or series in mind and it will probably be very effective in that form – however, it lacks description – not that I’m asking for a Dickensian type affair here, but, for example, I haven’t the faintest idea what the MGs look like – they are described as monsters, 30/40 feet high in stature – but what do they look like? They could be a gigantic eye with legs and arms, they could look like a cross between a fish and a spider, who knows?? And, I don’t understand the reason for this lack of information – also, WHY are they so intent on killing the Lorien’s – what is their motivation, they’ve already raided that planet so why are they still so determined to route out the few remaining survivors. I understand that the Lorien’s will become more powerful as their legacies kick in but frankly they were only toddlers when they first came to Earch and the MGs could simply have concentrated their efforts on Earth instead?? Couldn’t they? There is a little bit of information about the soldiers, pale, wreath like forms (remind me a little of the nine in The Lord of the Rings) but really there is a definite lack of detail here. The romance feels a little bit like its been thrown in to attract or keep happy a certain type of audience and for me is a little bit unnecessary although I don’t suppose it detracts just a little bit like it’s trying to be too many things to too many people.
Basically, this isn’t going to be a classic, but I think it’s a fun adventure and it will develop further in the next series. It should be interesting to see John’s abilities develop and to discover the other hidden Loriens (they’ll be a bit like the Fantasic Four – except there’ll be six). I think this book will appeal to a certain audience, particularly the action scenes and the fact that it isn’t overly romantic.
As mentioned above, I did notice a couple of inconsistencies that I won’t elaborate on for fear of spoiling the plot but for me they didn’t sit right – although I am maybe reading it wrong (it has been known to happen!!!)
Anyway, not a great read, not a bad read but not a dull read either. Sitting on the fence over here!!!
Rating -B (Changed this rating slightly because I think I was a little unfair given how readable this book is.)