"Nine of us came here. We look like you. We talk like you, But we are not you. We can do things you can only dream of doing. We have powers you dream of having. We are stronger and faster then anyone you have ever seen. We are the superheros you worship in movies and comic books-but we are real.
Our plan was to grow, and train, and become strong, and become one, and to fight them. But they found us and started hunting us first. Now all of us are running. Spending our lives in shadows, in places no one would look, blending in. We have lived among you without you knowing.
But they know.
They caught Number One in Malaysia.
Number Two in England.
And Number Three in England.
They killed them all.
I am Number Four.
I am next. "
-Description from the book jacket
Number Four a.k.a "John Smith" is a 15-year old alien from the planet Lorien, he lives with his guardian (or Cêpan), Henri. They have spent the last 10 years here on Earth, on the run from the Mogadorians, another race of aliens that are hunting down the nine teenagers from Lorien that are part of a group called the Garde, who have special powers and abilities. The nine Garde are protected by a charm that protects them from the Mogadorians, long as they are apart, they can only be killed in numbered order. The book begins with the murder of Number Three, which signals to Number Four that he is next...
I'll tell it to you straight, this book is formulaic and typical. It's about a planet called "Lorien" for goodness sake (though I guess if you're going to blatantly steel stuff, do it from the best, and fantasy doesn't get much better than Tolkien). More specifically, the love interest is lacking in personality and is pretty generic. The school bully who makes trouble for the protagonist is also pretty generic and predictable.
Let's face it, there aren't that many ideas out there, everything borrows from everything else. Sometimes it's nice to just sit back and be entertained, to not have to concentrate on advanced plot lines and just enjoy the ride. This is a great book for that. It's got a great protagonist who seems like a real teenage kid. The relationship he has with his father-like mentor is heart felt and moving, as is his relationship with his best friend. There is also a helpful and loyal dog, and I love dogs, so definite plus. There are a lot of young adult books out there, most are unoriginal, not all are entertaining, this one definitely is.
Bottom line: A fun, fast, and entertaining read. Good characters that the reader can root for and get behind. I'd give it a B+.