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In this action-packed but formulaic novel, first in the Lorien Legacies series, John Smith appears to be a normal American teenager, living in Ohio with his father, attending high school, and falling for a local girl. But he's really something much cooler: an alien from the planet Lorien, and one of the last survivors of a race that was nearly wiped out by its enemies. And now the evil Mogadorians have traveled to Earth looking for survivors, with an eye toward wiping out this planet as well. John is destined to fight them, but will his superpowers manifest before it's too late? Lore (a Loric elder in the book, and a pseudonym for writer James Frey and a coauthor) provides a fast-moving plot and some genuinely creepy bad guys, though the basic premise is cliched and the science won't pass muster with diehard SF fans. However, a Michael Bay-produced movie is planned for 2011, and for those looking for an undemanding, popcorn-ready read, this "guy-okay, alien-gets the girl and saves the world" adventure should do the trick. Ages 14-up. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
School Library Journal
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Gr 7 Up-Despite the amazing powers that many of the people of Lorien possess, the planet was defeated and its natural resources looted by Mogadorians in a matter of days. Only nine children escaped with their guardians to Earth, where they planned to hide until they developed their powers in order to defeat their enemies and revive Lorien. The Mogadorians hunt the Nine and have already killed three of them. And that's just the backstory. When Number Four, bearing the name "John Smith," moves to Paradise, OH, he runs afoul of the school bully, falls for the most beautiful girl in town, and befriends the local alien conspiracy nerd in short order. There is plenty of great action, but the dialogue is average, as is the character development. With its interesting premises and a fast-pace telling, the story will grab readers who are willing to suspend quite a bit of disbelief. Others, who like their science fiction with a bit more science and internal logic, will have to search elsewhere.-Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids, WI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Is Pittacus Lore a pseudonym? An introduction suggests that Lore is 10,000 years old and hails from the planet Lorien, so I'm going with yes. This fun bit of business is indicative of the book's commitment to its premise: 10 years ago, nine children fled war-ravaged Lorien and landed on Earth along with their adult teachers. As they mature, each child develops powers called Legacies, which help them fight the evil Mogadarians. The Nine can only be killed in order and Number Three just bit it. That leaves Number Four: John Smith. At least, that's his latest alias, as he and his guardian, Henri, flee to a new town for the umpteenth time. There John encounters bullies, falls in love, and begins to, you know, move things with his mind. Though the finale bogs down in a cluttered monster battle, everything else is terrifically propulsive. Meanwhile, the backstory (Loriens are given credit for everything from Greek gods to the Loch Ness Monster) deserves the next story that Lore is surely concocting in his/her/its spacecraft right now.--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2010 Booklist