Friday, February 18, 2011

Review: I Am Number Four

I'll try to keep this book review spoiler free, folks. I'm going to dive right into this one, so here we go!
Ok, so I heard about this book in November some time when I went to Borders with my dad. He had heard about it somehow and suggested it to me, so I grabbed it off the shelf and read a few chapters while we were there. I mean, how could I not want to read it? Just check out that cover! "Three are dead. I am number four." If that's not compelling, I don't know what is. I was pretty taken with it right away, but I was still in the middle of the semester and I don't buy books unless A) they are Star Wars books or B) I can convince my parents to buy it for me if I'm fairly sure I'll enjoy it enough to make it worth the money. I didn't bother with this one, though, since I've lately gotten into the habit of ordering books from my library. I'd much rather have them spend the money on a book. That's why my parents pay taxes.

Anyway, like I said, I was pretty taken with the first few chapters and it held my attention well. I've been a fan of first person perspective stories since I was a kid and reading Animorphs but I Am Number Four uses present tense first person which took a little bit of getting used to, but not much. In the end I felt it suited the story even if I'm still not sure how that fits with it being written by a guy named Pittacus Lore since I'm fairly sure this Pittacus dude isn't actually Four. (That will make more sense after you read the book, I'm sure)

I started to have a few issues with the story about half-way through the book so I had to put it down for a little while and take a break. I tend to just plow my way through books and if I'm given enough free time without too many belly-rub interruptions from Kara it usually takes me only a day or two to finish a novel. My brain appreciated the break because when I picked up the book again a few hours later the nit-picky plot stuff that had bothered me wasn't bothering me anymore and I continued on my merry reading way. It started to get harder to ignore the fact that they're making a movie out of this story, but more on that later.

Towards the end I started to have a problem with it because it read more like how I would expect a video game to be played out and it started to feel repetitive, but with only about 50 pages left I pushed myself to just finish. Overall I enjoyed the story well enough, but somehow not as much as I thought I was going to, given the slightly cryptic and luring nature of the cover. There's very little mystery in the book and things get explained to the reader pretty easily, even if they are not always obvious to the actual character or characters. One of the things that bothered me while reading was the fact that I was picking up on things that Four, who is the narrator of the story, didn't notice or seemed bewildered by some of the things around him that I think he should have picked up on earlier.

Now, on to the movie aspect. While reading it was hard to forget that this is being made into a movie (that is being released today) and I think that might have added to the list of things that kept bothering me in the story. Some aspects of this book will translate very well into computer graphics and the other flashy things Hollywood likes to do with it's movies. Other things, not so much. I am already certain (without having seen the movie) that the obnoxious high school kids angle will be overplayed in the movie, and in the book it was already bordering on the cliche to me. The other thing that I'm afraid of in the movie is that they will be tempted to wrap the story up in one film (similar to how the movie Eragon was handled) while it is very clear to readers that this is meant to be a series. How many books I'm not sure, but at least one more, if not more than that.

That's about all I've got on the book for now. If I gather together some coins and search the couch cushions and go see the movie, expect another review on the movie. In the meantime, go to the library or your local bookstore and sit down with the book. It's an enjoyable and fun read if nothing else!

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