Thursday, October 6, 2011
Review of I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore
Published: August 2010
In the beginning they were a group of nine. Nine aliens who left their home planet of Lorien when it fell under attack by the evil Mogadorian. Nine aliens who scattered on Earth. Nine aliens who look like ordinary teenagers living ordinary lives, but who have extraordinary, paranormal skills. Nine aliens who might be sitting next to you now.
The Nine had to separate and go into hiding. The Mogadorian caught Number One in Malaysia, Number Two in England, and Number Three in Kenya. All of them were killed. John Smith, of Paradise, Ohio, is Number Four. He knows that he is next.
I Am Number Four is the thrilling launch of a series about an exceptional group of teens as they struggle to outrun their past, discover their future—and live a normal life on Earth.
So, this was an interesting one to review. I probably never would have picked it up if it hadn't been for the movie. When I did finally, I went for the audio book. Well, that was just a plain disaster (see my post titled Audio Hell). Since I've had the pleasure (and suffering) of watching, listening and reading this book, I figured I would review all three.
I think the casting directors made an excellent choice in casting Alex Pettyfer. Not that he's am amazing actor, but he's definitely not hard to look at :) I also think that in order to appeal to a larger teen audience they had to made him a bit older. Having a main character of fifteen is much less appealing to teen viewers than one of seventeen or eighteen. The effects were good and they kept the story moving at a clear and quick pace. Things move a bit faster than in the book, but the story doesn't feel lacking with parts of the book missing. The Mogadorians also look much cooler than they sound in the book, and I love the way the movie shows how they are able to conceal themselves within the human population.
The audio book:
Avoid this at all costs! It was absolutely dreadful. I've only listened to one other audio book, but if they are all like this one I don't think I'll ever like them. The narrator sounded like a middle-aged man and when it came time for the female characters to speak, it was the same middle-aged man suddenly trying to sound like a fifteen-year-old girl. The voices continued to go down hill from there and it didn't help matters that the narrator sounded like he was reading the book for the first time, pausing in the wrong spots, weird intonation. I made it to chapter seven before I couldn't handle any more, and I almost didn't go for the print version.
This was much better than I thought it would be after suffering through part of the audio book. There were certain elements in the book that I liked much better than the movie, such as Henri having an accent. In the movie there wouldn't have been a natural way of explaining why he portrayed himself as French, but in the book we get the background. That is really what made me like the book and movie equally. The book's pace was a bit too slow for me, while the movie missed some of the depth in the world building.
My recommendation would be to read the book, then see the movie and don't even bother with the audio book.