Copy received for review from UK Book Tours. Thank you!
"In the beginning we were nine.We left when we were very young, almost too young to remember. Almost. And now...
Three are gone.
We are here to keep our race alive, which was almost entirely obliterated. We're just trying to survive.
Six are left.
But we are hunted, and the hunters won't stop until they've killed us all.
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."
I am not usually a sci-fi fan. Aliens are something I very rarely read. But this book has got a bit of hype around it, what with it being made in to a film and everything. So when it went up on UK Book Tours, I decided it would be a good chance to give it a try when normally I wouldn't have bothered. I'm glad I did because I really enjoyed it.
Four, who for the majority of the book goes by 'John', is from the planet Lorien. He along with 8 others, who each have a guardian, travelled to earth about 10 years previous after their planet was attacked and destroyed by the Mogadorians. Four and his guardian Henri have been moving all over the US in that time, never staying in one place long, never making friends or attachments and leaving at a moments notice. Four knows, from scars branded in to his ankle, that he is number Four, and that Three is now dead. Three's death triggers their latest move from Florida to small town Paradise, Ohio. Four is fifteen, and his powers 'legacies' are just beginning to show themselves. It's a dangerous time for him and being next in line for death means he has to be more careful than ever. But his first day at his new high school introduces him to Sarah, and her ex, jock Mark. Hard to fly under the radar when one of the popular guys wants him gone too.
From the start I found Four easy to like, and oddly easy to relate to as well. I really liked getting to know him better and seeing how he changed over the course of the book with the new things thrown his way. The story itself isn't anything really new or stunning, but it is enjoyable all the same. It's got a few bits that reminded me strongly of the TV show Roswell (which, despite knowing its not great, I love) but enough is different to get me past that. Aside from Four, most of the characters aren't that well developed, and two in particular had far too small a reaction to learning the truth which annoyed me a fair bit. Even so, I liked most of the characters and enjoyed reading how they all affected Four in different ways, changing how he saw things.
I found it fairly engrossing and read the majority of the book in a day. I did have to consciously force myself through some of the descriptions of the other planets and life on them, but that's my lack of love for sci-fi showing, a personal taste rather than a specific flaw to the writing. The plot flows well, and whilst there isn't very much immediate action until the end of the book, I never found it got too dull. There were some twists I didn't see coming, though others were a bit predictable. The end was fairly intense and that's when Four's emotions really came though, oddly when some of the others were at their weakest. Lots of unanswered questions for the next book, which I hope does answer some of them, because there weren't a lot here.
Overall it's a fun read. Nothing spectacular about it in my opinion, but seeing as I didn't expect to like it at all, I'm pretty impressed. I really enjoyed it and I'm very much looking forward to book 2 (The Power of Six, 2011) and the film as well.