Unless you’ve been living under a rock — or you’re brand-new to the YA book world — chances are, you’ve heard all about I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore (the pseudonym for co-authors Jobie Hughes and James Frey). Besides lots of hype ahead of the book’s release this past summer, a movie adaptation of I Am Number Four was already in production and is now set for release in February (featuring hottie Alex Pettyfer as Number Four).
I am a strong advocate for reading a book before seeing the movie, for a number of reasons — the most paramount being that the book is almost always better than the movie.
Now, don’t get me wrong. The book is not bad — but it certainly reads with a cinematic scope and feel, and there are moments where the prose almost feels like snippets taken from a screenplay, with sentences and descriptions that are almost too simple. It sounds more like stage directions or production notes in a script, than descriptive prose. At times I even wondered which came first — the novel or the screenplay?
The strongest thing going for I Am Number Four is the story itself — which is what makes it such a good contender for the big screen. This is classic science fiction at its very best. Is it the most original story ever? No. But it’s told well — with lots of action and a touch of humanity to the main character that progresses throughout the novel.
I Am Number Four tells the story of an alien — the titular Number Four — who is running from an enemy race of aliens trying to kill him. He is one of nine aliens from his home planet sent to Earth in hopes of rebuilding their society, growing strong and defeating the enemy race. But the enemies found them first and began hunting them. However, in the midst of his attempts to survive, Number Four falls in love. With a human. And he makes a friend — his first ever. He has found a life he loves and hopes to preserve.
And that’s what makes the story so compelling — watching Number Four come into his alien powers, all while discovering a humanity that makes him want to establish a life on planet Earth; to make it his home.
I Am Number Four is the first in a series — and I’m interested to see where the story goes from here. Even more, I can’t wait to check out the movie adaptation next year and see how the story transitions to the big screen. (I’m anticipating good things — not just because the trailer is bad ass, but because there are some incredible action scenes in the book that I can’t wait to see translated visually.)
The book is in stores now. The movie hits theaters in February; here is the trailer: