I’d watched this film last year, ashamedly for no other reason than I liked the main actor, Alex Pettyfer. But when I watched it with my brother and my dad, I realised that I really liked it and I wanted to read the book it was based on. Admittedly it has taken me quite a while to get round to it, but I’m glad that I finally did!
The book is about a race of people from the planet Lorien. When their planet is invaded and destroyed by the Mogadorians, they send a ship with nine children to earth to wait it out and return to re-populate the planet. Unfortunately, the mogadorians have followed them to Earth and are now hunting down the nine. Before they left, one of the Loric elders put a charm on them which means that as long as they are never in the same place, they can only be killed in the correct order.
‘John Smith’, as he is currently known, finds out that number three is dead, he is number four. He’s been on the run with Henri, his cepan (guardian) since he arrived on earth, and he’s now ended up in Paradise, Ohio. He has been warned by Henri not to get too attached to a place or too close to a person, but in Paradise he meets a girl called Sarah, who he quickly falls in love with.
As luck would have it, the place he finally wants to stay is the place where it is most dangerous, the mogadorians are getting closer and putting John and his friends in danger.
Throughout the book, John is developing his Legacies, a unique set of skills that will help him in his battles. It almost looks like they won’t come through in time, but with help from Henri, he grows into the skills that he will need very shortly to save all those dear to him.
The book concludes with a 70+ page battle between John and his friends and the Mogadorian soldiers. He’s aided by the appearance of Number Six, which is a help, but also a dangerous hinderance, breaking the charm that protects the other Loriens. I won’t spoil the ending too much, but I cried, and I’m definitely looking forward to reading the sequel to tie up all the loose ends of the story.
I loved the pace of the story and the never ending (and sometimes frenetic) action that kept me turning the pages so I almost couldn’t put the book down.
But I found the ‘romance’ between John and Sarah quite distracting from the story. I can see why it was needed, but it all felt quite superificial and immature. But then with the terrible things that were happening, it was easy to forget that John is only 15. And I guess the book is really aimed at young teenagers, so the romance is aimed at that age too.
My favourite quote from the book is this:
“It’s the last thing to go, when you have lost hope, you have lost everything. And when you think all is lost, when all is dire and bleak, there is always hope”