Tag Archives: Aliens

I AM NUMBER FOUR

By Pittacus Lore

Published by Harper

Copyright © 2010

Lorien was a peaceful and progressive planet. Hundreds of years ago the Loriens were faced with the choice of changing the way they treated their environment or face eventual extinction. They decided to change, and their planet healed. Lorien decided to bless some of its people with special powers which would enable them to continue protecting their planet, and so they did. They protected it right down to the day that the Mogadorians invaded in large number with soldiers and giant beasts.

The Mogadorians faced the same decision of saving their planet and decided to use it up and then take over another thriving planet. The Loriens fought valiantly but they were caught by surprised and were outnumbered. However, they did have a contingency plan. They rounded up nine children of the Guarde and put them on a ship bound for earth to await the day that they could return and restore Lorien to its former beauty. The Lorien elders knew that the Mogadorians would try to track down these children and kill them before they developed their powers, so they were given charms that would protect them. The elders could not make them invincible but they could slow down the Mogadorian trackers; they made it so that the children each had a number and they could only be killed in numerical order.

John Smith (a.k.a. Daniel Jones, a.k.a. …) has been on the run for the last 10 years. He and his guardian try to keep a low profile so they don’t have to move so often, but they have been moving nearly every 6 months. The Mogadorians have caught up with numbers one, two, and three. They are now coming after him; he is number four. The Mogadorians are getting more frantic now though, because John is now 15 and he is starting to get his powers. The time to stand up and fight is close.

“I am Number four” is a wildly exciting teen Sci-Fi/Romance novel. When you become John you feel the anxiousness that he feels. He is constantly looking over his shoulders and thinking ever so slowly about his actions. You can feel the pent up frustration when he becomes the target of the school bully. He knows he can end the harassment quickly, but not without having to move again. The romance, while it slows the book down a little, never gets too sappy and actually helps with the drama since he is interested in the ex-girlfriend of the aforementioned bully. In addition, the tension and suspense just build as you continue to wonder when and where the Mogadorians are going to catch up to John.  When they do finally catch up the action does not disappoint with glowing swords, corkscrew daggers, laser blasters, giant man eating animals, and 9 feet tall Mogadorian soldiers. It really seems like more than John can overcome by himself. Fortunately he won’t have to.

This book is awesome! It kind of reminds you of Superman except John is not unique; there are now five others like him out there. I don’t want to give too much away, but you are also going to love Bernie Kosar in this book. That’s all I’m saying.  I am definitely ready for book two in the series “The Power of Six.” (Age 13 and up)

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Filed under Abuse/Bullying, High School, Paranormal, Romance, Science Fiction, Suspense, Young Adult Fiction

Only You Can Save Mankind

Only You Can Save Mankind

By Terry pratchett

Published by Harper Collins

Copyright © 2005

In 2005 Harper Collins introduced Terry Pratchett’s Johnny Maxwell trilogy to America. Originally released in Britain in 1994 “Only You Can Save Mankind” is the first installment in this series. As the forward acknowledges a lot has changed in the 10 years since the original release of this story, but some things are the same. There always seems to be a war going, and kids still love video games.

In this story Johnny Maxwell is playing a pirated computer game, called “Only You Can Save Mankind,” that his friend and wannabe hacker Wobbler gave him. The game is your typical space invaders type shoot ‘em up. But when Johnny plays a strange thing happens – The aliens surrender! It seems as if the game is actually talking to him and urging him to accept their surrender and escort them to the border out of game space. Soon Johnny is caught up in a battle to save the aliens rather than shoot them. Between this alternate/virtual reality gig and his “Troubled Times” at home with his parents, Johnny’s friends begin to think he is going a little crazy.

In this allegory Pratchett juxtaposes the violent nature of video games and the Gulf War (but really any war for that matter). Though not heavy handed in my estimation, there is a clear moral to this story, that violence should only be a last resort after we have listened well and tried every other alternative. This isn’t the best science fiction I’ve ever read, but it is very good. It has a plot and conflict that youths will relate to, and a while they won’t be looking for it they should find the moral in this tale.  Recommended for children ages 9 and up.

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Filed under Adventure, Families, Junior Fiction, Science Fiction

The Dangerous Days of Daniel X & Daniel X: Watch the Skies

THE DANGEROUS DAYS OF DANIEL X

By James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge

Published by Grand Central Publishing

Copyright © 2009 (Mass Market Paperback)

 

 

 

 

 

 

DANIEL X: WATCH THE SKIES

By James Patterson & Ned Rust

Published by Little, Brown and Company

Copyright © 2009

 

Let me start by saying that I am not a James Patterson fan per se. The Dangerous Days of Daniel X is the first book I have ever read by him actually. And while it wasn’t the best book I have read recently, it was enjoyable. I liked the premise. It’s about an Alien Hunter named Daniel (an alien himself) who is on a mission to kill the rogue alien who killed his parents (also alien hunters). This particular alien is #1 on the alien most wanted list. To work himself up to that Daniel takes on aliens further down the list. While there were things about the book I didn’t like, overall I liked the story and was very eager to read the second installment.

 

That being said, while I still like the premise of the novels there are still things about it that I just don’t like, and those problems seem to be amplified in “Watch the Skies”.

 

First I have to say I like comic books, and this novel reads like it should be a comic book but there are no pictures. In comic books you will rarely see a hero with limitless powers; if you do they will have an Achilles Heel, some “Kryptonite” so to speak. Daniel seems to have no kryptonite. He has the ability to do or create anything using his imagination. His only limitation then is how much he knows. In the first book of the series Daniel would get the snot kicked out of him, even with all his powers, because he was easily distracted or his enemy got the drop on him. In the second book however he does not get quite so distracted. Though aliens #5 and #21 are very powerful, they author never brings us to a point where we feel like the hero is up against insurmountable odds. With limitless power the bad guy bar has to be set really high, and it just isn’t done in this book.

 

Second, the narrative of this story comes from Daniel. So, it is written from the viewpoint of a 17 year old boy. James Patterson, who is nowhere near 17 anymore, tries to write Daniel and the things he says in a way that’s current and cool. Don’t get me wrong some old people are cool, and they are that without trying. But do you know how it sounds when an old person tries to sound cool and in the know, but can’t really pull it off because he is trying? The cool in this book seems way too forced to me, and it just makes reading it kind of awkward.

 

I still enjoyed the story, but I had to force myself to ignore a lot of things to get to that point. All in all it isn’t the worst book I’ve ever read and probably would recommend it for young adults in grades 7-9.

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Filed under Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult Fiction