The Power of Six by
Pittacus Lore (Harper
Young adult novels have sure come a long way since The Hardy Boys and
Go Ask Alice. Teen books are big business now – see the Twilight
series or The Vampire Diaries if you have any doubt.
Perhaps the most scrutinized new series of books (six are planned) are “The
Lorien Legacy” novels. The first novel I Am Number Four became a
best-seller last year and spawned a moderately successful film adaptation.
was the story of John Smith, an alien being living on Earth after his home
planet was destroyed. He is one of nine surviving young warriors from his
planet who are to be trained to fight the Mogadorians – an enemy race that
is determined to kill the remaining survivors. The warriors, only known by
numbers, can only be killed in numerical order. Therefore, when the first
three are killed, it falls to Number 4 (using the name John Smith) to
survive, all the while finding puppy love with Sarah, a beautiful outcast
local photographer at his new high school. He also finally meets up with
another of his kind – a kick-ass girl warrior who is Number 6. When the
Mogadorians find them and together they trash the local high school, Number
4 is forced to disappear again, going on the lam with Number 6 and his nerdy
but brave new Earth friend Sam.
certainly wasn’t high art, but I Am Number Four was a rather exciting
and swift-moving novel.
The Power of Six
picks up right where the
original ended. It also takes us deeper into the story of Number 4’s
world. In fact, about half of the book is narrated by Number 7 – a new
character who was not introduced in the first book. Living at a Spanish
orphanage, Number 7 (using the name Marina) has been searching for
information on other survivors and becomes sure that John Smith must be one
– but she has no way to reach him.
the meantime, Smith must deal with life on the run, missing his human
girlfriend, a growing attraction to Number 6, his guilt about putting Sam in
danger – oh and of course the crazy aliens looking to kill him.
the first, it moves swiftly, is rather well-written and is mostly rather
imaginative. Once again it goes a bit overboard in the climax, and the book
leaves you in a cliffhanger towards the end, the better to get return
readers for the next volume.
books were “written” by Pittacus Lore – who wins a special award for the
most unlikely pseudonym in modern literature. (Even if you couldn’t guess
that Pittacus Lore was a fake name, the book also names a distant planet the
same thing.) Actually Lore is two writers, Jobie Hughes and James Frey (who
is probably best known for being castigated by Oprah Winfrey on her show for
fabricating part of his memoir A Million Little Pieces. Winfrey
apparently apologized years later).
Lorien books are light-years from where Frey’s career seemed to be headed
about 5-10 years ago, however in his new mission to make family friendly
adventure novels, The Power of Six is a pretty impressive success
artistically, and undoubtedly will be in popularity as well.
Jay S. Jacobs
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Posted: August 23, 2011.