While most book to film adaptations occur from a best-seller, it seems producer Michael Bay (Transformers) and director D.J. Caruso (Disturbia) felt it necessary to take a big leap and take a chance on making the movie “I Am Number Four” a book no one had heard about because it hadn’t even been released when they started production. The book was released on the 23rd of August and is currently on the top of the book charts, and now with a cast of promise from British up comer Alex Pettyfer and Glee Star Dianna argon take on the lead roles.
I can certainly see what was appealing to them. The books basic plot is a sci-fi thriller, nine children and their guardians escaped from their home planet due to a nasty and unexpected war from a harsh and desperate race. They reached the closest life-sustaining planet, Earth and each child and their guardian had split up across earth in hiding. 15 years later, what Number Four and his guardian Henri had feared the most is now gaining closer, Number Three had been killed which means Number Four is next. They go into hiding in the fictional small town of Paradise Ohio where Number Four (Alias: John) tries his best to blend in and make friends despite Henri’s warning. It’s not long before John develops a loyal friendship with geek Sam and a love interest in Sarah. But it only makes it worse as the threat dawns nearer.
This book is certainly your next Harry Potter or Twilight, to the point that it probably brings them together plus more, a prominent love story with a heavy fantasy action topping. The book itself is definitely a thrilling read, there were not many chapters that I thought were boring, each chapter contains something that makes it worth your while. And the Pittacus Lore, the nom de plume of the authors Jobie Hughs and James Frey, really does add to the story giving it a sense of realism.
The high-school parts are some what cliche, you have the ‘jocks’ and cheerleaders and what have you, it kind of grates on you the over use of the cliche’s because we all know that they are not that clear-cut, however it didn’t prove a main concept in the book although it definitely sends off that vibe in the first two chapters. Number Four/John is the main character and is written in his first person narrative, you did not really feel as an alien but rather a troubled teenager which again adds to the realism of the character, he spent from the age 5 on earth so his character has seemed to fully adopt Earth culture and human interactions which differ from his guardian’s which is a nice touch and adds to a satisfying depth. Sarah is also a breath of fresh of air, she is neither a bullied-suffering-geek or a your popular-cheerleader-bitch she is a keen photographer and a friends-with-everyone nice girl with a sense of independence.
The book leads to average predictions, and whilst some of them may be true, they don’t pan out how you think they do. Needless to say, the climax is extremely appeasing and will completely have you hooked until it’s over. However there were minute parts of it that I found slightly hard to visualise and didn’t understand what the authors were trying to describe.
There was one small thing bothering me, the lack of closure. The book had sprouted so many questions with very little answers, with a sequel planned for 2011 I didn’t expect full closure, but it did leave an annoying personal craving which will sure be the one thing driving me to click ‘pre-order’
Overall I highly recommend giving it a ‘Chicken & Bacon Mayo Melt Panini Rating’ (9/10). I actually can not wait to see the film adaptation with a schedule release of February 2011.
Click here to see some early behind the scenes footage with a message from the cast.