If you’re into dystopian sagas like Twilight and The Hunger Games, Pittacus Lore and the I am Number Four books could be for you. Here's everything you need to know about getting started with the series.
What should I know about the series?
Pittacus Lore is both writer and character in these books, in which he tells the ‘true story’ of the Lorien survivors. He is revealed as a mysterious character tied up in the events themselves.
Part way between science fiction and fantasy, the books feature both technology and magic, with a real-world backdrop spanning several earthly continents.
What are the books about?
Number Four is a member of alien family the Garde, made up of nine royal survivors of the planet Lorien, who all have superpowers. On Earth he goes by the name of John Smith. He was raised by a protector, Henri, who pretends to be his father, and the books follow their travels - as well as the rest of the Garde - as they struggle to evade the Mogadorians, led by Setrákus Ra, who are hellbent on hunting down and killing them all.
Picking up any of the books launches you into the lives of the Lorien survivors - ensuring that, wherever you start, you’ll be hitting the ground running for your life.
The first book gives it's name to the I am Number Four series. It is the most common - but not the only - entry point' plenty of prequels and side stories to the books have now been published. Written in the first person, it gives an immediate connection to Four - or ‘John Smith’ - as he tries to settle into the town of Paradise, Ohio, where he and his mentor Henri have been forced to flee the Mogadorians following the death of Number Three.
The second book in the series picks up right where the last one left off, but it's also where we begin to hear from other members of the Garde family and their allies. We’re introduced to Seven - also known as Marina - who has grown up in a convent in Spain, and the book follows her story from there. We also meet the Mogadorian leader, Setrákus Ra, for the first time.
The third book, The Rise of Nine, gradually uncovers the mysteries of the Garde as they fight The Lord’s Resistance Front in the Himalayas, and sees our heroes scattered across the world, giving the story an international scope - a brave and unusual choice and unusual for a fantasy or science fiction series. In this book, the Garde fight The Lord’s Resistance Front in the Himalayas. The very real Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) of Uganda and South Sudan was featured in the Kony 2012 advocacy video in the same year this book was published, raising the question of whether the writers intended a parallel between the two organisations.
In this book, John Smith’s friend Sam Goode becomes the first person outside the Garde to take over the story. The series has pushed on at breakneck speed, dealing out victory and defeat in equal measure, and in this book Sam's father, a UFO conspirator named Malcolm who went missing many years ago, returns to rescue his son. Amid dissent and betrayal, the Garde’s purpose is questioned and divided, and the stakes are raised. But as loyalties shift, can anyone trust the complex Five?
And if you want to keep on reading...
For even more from the world of the Lorien, check out The Lost Files ebook series. These collected works fill in gaps between the main novels and provide some new perspectives on the story from characters who play smaler roles in the main series. They also give an insight into the pasts of some of the main characters, and take us through what happened before the events of I am Number Four.
A highlight is the secret histories, and new fans will want to read The Last Days of Lorien, which tells the story of the world before it was attacked by the Mogadorians.