My rating: 2 of 5 stars
This book harkens back to the old days of storytelling with an author working to convince the reader that the story being told is true and happening now. That the author is a refugee from another world, one of the Elders who escaped when their planet was invaded by neighboring Mogadarians and came to Earth to hide out and wait for a chance to take on the enemy. That nine children and their guardians also escaped, and are hiding on Earth, waiting for their teen years when super powers will appear so they can take vengeance and reclaim their world. I wanted to believe and be sucked in.
Too many things just didn't tie together. Apparently Mogadarians have been on Earth for some time and are planning to kill us all and take our planet. But first they have to find and kill these nine kids in numerical order thanks to a magic charm. Number Three dies in the prologue, then we switch to Number Four's POV, a boy who's now fifteen after being on Earth for over a decade and has had a ton of false identities in the effort to stay ahead of the enemy.
Number Four and his guardian move to Ohio, when Number Three dies, and immediately begin making every crazy mistake imaginable. John Smith, since that's the name number four chooses for his current identity, gains a girlfriend and a best friend who learns he's an alien and still accepts him (the friend thinks his father was abducted by aliens years earlier) and even the school bully rally's around to help when the bad guys find them because John refuses to leave his friends. I know fifteen is a time of rebellion, but the kid bears three scars on his body that represent the other three dead kids, that should remind him that the threat is real. Yet, even he discovers the enemy a mere two hour drive away from their hideout, and Number Four knows his continued presence puts himself and his friends in danger, he forces his guardian to remain until it’s too late and they are under attack.
For me the real problem was the premise: that nine kids (six now), even armed with superpowers, could defeat an enemy that defeated the combined super powers of their families and others on their planet? The author mentions things a few times, saying that something doesn't make sense, apparently in the hope that by admitting it the reader won't mind. That did not work for me. Number Four’s ability to use light and fire and his telekinesis, and Number Six's ability to become invisible aren't enough to beat the group that comes after him. So help me, they need a magic dog to help them.
I really wanted to love this book. But as number four and number six drove off into the sunset prepared to search the entire Earth for the other survivors, I was just glad this story was over.
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