Solid sci-fi teen thriller,
This review is from: The Power of Six (Lorien Legacies) (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)I loved 'I am Number 4' and was thrilled to receive this, having waited eagerly for release date. And although it was a good read and I did like it, I didn't love it. There were parts of this that were much stronger than the original, particularly the sections set in Spain with the new Lorien, Number 7.
I think this is really where Pittacus Lore (or James Frey and Jobie Hughes to give the writing duo their correct moniker) excells- recreating scenes of isolation, frustration, confusion and that particular sense of being thwarted that we all probably remember from our teens, alongside that longing to discover you are in fact unique and yet you belong. Where the first book made much of the uniqueness and burgeoning talents of John Smith, so outwardly normal yet so intrinsically other, this novel excells when describing Number Seven, Marina and her life in a convent in Spaain. Her Cepan has embraced religous fervour and is attempting to convince her all the things she remembers are not true. It lends a depth to the story in tems of Marina questionning her heritage and her sanity that felt very real.
There are still good interplays between the characters we have come to love from 'I am Number 4' and lots of story time still devoted to them. I just found the story slightly weaker when we had several Lorien (and the new, improved and buffed Sam) together, due to the loss of that wonderful sense of isolation that the authors draw so very well. My other niggle, that stops this from being a five star read for me is the strength of the foe. In the first novel the mogadorians were set up as such an overwhelming and tenacious force it made for a sense of deep tension and fear for the characters you cared for. In this novel it is surprisingly easy to defeat or outwit the enemy and there is perhaps just a whiff of convenience about the timely emergence of just the right legacy or transferable skill to save the central characters from real damage. To clarify with an example from another well loved teen/adult crossover series, what I felt made the Harry Potter novels so monumentally and overwhelmingly brilliant was that JK Rowling was not afraid to put Harry through the wringer again and again and then some more for the hell of it. Characters we loved suffered, they even died and although I hated it, it was the right decision and true to the story. In 'I am Number Four' there was loss and genuine peril. 'The Power of Six' just didn't have that fear and urgency as the characters nearly always escape in the nick of time in a convenient manner. It feels too easy and for me, that reduced the emotional impact.
That being said though, I still really enjoyed this. It is still a good read, lots of action. I would just say to Pittacus Lore/James & Joby don't keep saving you characters for the sake of it. Make them earn it and yes, if you remain true to the spirit of the story you are telling, there will be casualties on the way. Whilst I'm all for the triumph of the characters we care for, it has to be done right and should never smack of cheating and convenience, if you want to make a novel sequence that will be adored for years to come.