I don't usually post negative reviews here, but I have to admit that I just read what very quickly and easily became my LEAST favorite read of 2010. I was on my way up to Montreal for the weekend and to ensure that reading happened, I brought along only books that I had to read (i.e. Best Fiction for Young Adults nominations). And I started reading the one that looked the most exciting. Oh boy, did I make a mistake.
The book in question is I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore (a pseudonym for James Frey and a co-author). I kind of wish the book had been written by an actual alien. Because maybe then it would have been written in a language that I am not able to read. I Am Number Four has an interesting premise-- I'll give it that. Apparently Hollywood gave it that as well, because Michael Bay is producing the film version. The book supposes that when the planet Lorien was being invaded by Magadorians, nine young children escaped and made it to the United States, along with the Lorien guardians. But the children were bound together by a really stupid--if you want to know what I truly think--curse. They can only be killed in order (Two could not die before One, etc). When the book starts, Three has been killed. Number Four, or known by the citizens of a small town called Paradise, Ohio, as John Smith.
If you're thinking John Smith isn't exactly original, well, you're onto something. The whole book suffers from "isn't exactly original." While there are some truly exciting action scenes at the end around the 400 page mark, the rest is highly predictable and extremely boring. John Smith falls for the waify blonde at school and any time they speak, I felt the need to find a spoon to gag myself with. It was that bad. John Smith (Number Four) finds out that his special skill is he is essentially fireproof. So of course his girlfriend gets stuck in the basement of a house on fire.
Let it be known that I went into this book with an open mind. I wanted to be entertained on the five and a half hour drive to Montreal. I didn't think that this entertainment would come in the form my dramatic readings of many a ridiculously cliched passage. Then again, I had a niggling doubt ever since the major typo on the first page of the first chapter ("blxew" instead of "blew") that this one may not have received the editorial attention that it needed. You know, because it really should've just been a script for the movie.
This is one of those rare books where I guarantee the movie will be better the book. It cannot possibly be worse.