I really liked I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore, or the ever-mysterious-but-quite-likely-James-Frey. It was the next step for me and shallowly filled the Harry Potter void in my life. A teenage boy who is really one of nine aliens with super powers residing on Earth while their planet Lorien lies dormant after a war with another alien race called the Mogadorians? Yes please.
The Power of Six is the follow up to that novel and follows on directly from the events of the previous book. John Smith AKA Number Four is on the run with Number Six and his best friend Sam n tow. Their plan? To hide out, train and fight the Mogs to take back Lorien. The only issue is that the Mogadorians are becoming more powerful and desperate while John and Six are still just finding their feet.
But that’s only one half of the book as we’re also introduced to Marina, known to us as Number Seven. Marina’s story is actually the strongest part of the book. Johns half struggles from an overly sappy love story and overly bombastic action while Marina’s story holds the suspense of the first novel. There’s nothing wrong with sappy and bombastic, but it just doesn’t carry the same weight as Number Seven’s struggle.
In fact, after the great opening part, John Smith becomes a little dull with this iteration. We learn more about Six and her past, we meet Seven and learn about her secluded world and we even hear other secrets and twists, but John just doesn’t grow as a character. If anything he becomes very dislikeable with his stubbornness and fawning over Six despite his undying love for Sarah who he left behind when going on the run. In other words, he is overshadowed by his accompanying cast.
Marina is an interesting addition. Her upbringing in a convent adds a new layer to the story, particularly in terms of personality and identity. Due to her Cepan’s (guardian) neglect after entering the convent, marina has little to no knowledge of her own plight and of course, her life is on the line as well as the remaining Lorien survivors.
Six swiftly became my favourite character, however, due to her badassery and deeply emotional backstory. She is exactly what you want from a character in a Young Adult novel like this, strong, confident and despite her being an alien, her human qualities. She adds so much to the plot that I was utterly grateful she was present.
Thankfully we learn a great deal about the core plot and the war on Lorien through key characters and the pace is still as thrilling. The author leaves enough of the plot dangling in front of you to push the need for a third part, particularly shown in the cliffhanger that left me tearing my hair out. One has to wonder how this story will be dragged out over the rumoured six parts, though. The Power of Six reads as if it’s the middle of a trilogy, so I’ll be interested to see where it goes from here.
In terms of quality, The Power of Six grows from I Am Number Four and raises the bar, which is a relief. I only hope the quality continues to grow so that we can have another great Young Adult series.