Penguin: paperback published 2011: 374 pages
They killed Number One in Malaysia.
Number Two in England.
And Number Three in Kenya.
John Smith is not your average teenager. He regularly moves from small town to small town. He changes his name and identity. He does not put down roots. He cannot tell anyone who or what he really is. If he stops moving those who hunt him will find him and killed him.
But you can’t run forever.
So when he stops in Paradise, Ohio, John decides to try and settle down.. To fit in. And for the first time he makes some real friends. People he cares about – and who care about him. Never in John’s short life has there been space for friendship, or even love.
But it’s just a matter of time before John’s secret is revealed.
He was once one of nine. Three of them have been killed.
John is Number Four. He knows that he is next…
Well, it didn’t take me long to read. For a teenage-adult crossover novel, it was still distinctly teen-flavoured. But I do love reading Young Adult, and this was no different. Fast-paced and action-driven, I can certainly see why it was chosen for a film. There were certain bits that lacked depth, and others that I imagine would have worked better on-screen. But John Smith is loveable, and the motivation behind each of the characters is good. The only bit that lets the strength of the characters down is the fact that Lore seems to tell and not show – a lot is given away in big bursts of info-dumps, and although useful, I wonder if they could have been worked into the plotline a little more; the characters could have had more of a hand in telling the story. The angst and atmosphere of small-town teens certainly was believable, and I will say again that it is the characters that made this book readable. The faster the pace, the faster I read, just to make sure the characters were safe at the end of it.
For those keen to keep going with Number Four and his team, read The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore, the next in the Lorien Legacies series.
Next book: Storm Front by Jim Butcher.
The first in the Dresden Files series, I have been told a zillion times to read it by a number of sources, all of whom I trust implicitly when it comes to literary opinion. So. Here goes…