The Power of Six
Lorien Legacies series
By Pittacus Lore
Hardcover | Kindle
Release date: August 23, 2011
I Am Number Four was an entertaining bit of young adult sci-fi in theaters last year. It did make money, but it was mostly overlooked even though the book on which the movie was based was a bestseller. The book series continues even if the movie franchise is shelved.
The latest book in the series, The Power of Six, picks up after I Am Number Four with Four and Number Six still on the run. In case you’re unfamiliar with the mythology of the book series it goes like this: a group of powerful alien youths were sent to Earth with protectors to hide until the day comes that they can return home and use their abilities to save their home world that’s currently under attack by another vicious alien race. The children are numbered and the evil aliens can only kill them in numerical order (yes, the reason for this is explained in the books). So, on Earth they are constantly on the run, hiding, trying to survive until the time comes for them to return home and carry out their mission of saving their race.
This story deepens the mythology of the aliens and finally offers up more detail on why they’ve come to hide on Earth. Like I Am Number Four, this story is action-packed from beginning to end and it’s a quick fast-paced read. The fast pace may also be part of the problem with the book. Character development is quite inconsistent with some characters getting great development and getting more weight in the story and others getting almost no attention at all. For example, the book is called The Power of Six, but the majority of the book is written from the perspective of Four and Seven.
That leads also to the awkward writing style of the book. The story is told almost entirely from first person which just feels a little amateurish in execution. There are also other story threads that are introduced and then just left hanging with no more attention or reason for being. Now these could be setups for future books, but again this sort of “look at this potentially cool thing” and then never mentioning it again feels amateurish. These setups should have been made smaller story elements that possibly don’t even seem important in the book but come to mean something in future books.
There are two other negatives to this book. The first one is the extremely predictable and overdone love triangle that forms in the book. This is a young adult book, but that doesn’t mean that there shouldn’t be more complex and unpredictable human emotion and storytelling. The other issue is that one of the elders in the story is named after the author of the book. You’d think he’d have learned not to do this from M. Night Shyamalon’s Lady in the Water. So the author’s name is a pen name supposedly developed to make the books feel as though they are written by the elder. If that were the case, shouldn’t the actual writing and perspective of the book feel as though it were written by him? It just doesn’t feel that way at all when you read the book.
Complaints aside though, the action is exciting and well rendered in the book and the characters that do get developed are interesting and highly entertaining. Literally the power of Si is also quite exciting and opens doors to some intriguing storytelling in future installments of the series. Sam, a smaller character from the first book, becomes important in this sequel, and the answers to his father’s disappearance add an element that connects humans and Lorians.
There is also plenty of great chemistry and character interaction in the book and even a little humor, which is nice in such a dark story. There’s a new story element involving chests that each child has that offers some cool story twists and turns too. We are introduced to Number 7 and Number 9 adding to the excitement and building anticipation for future story arcs.
Without spoiling the story, I have to say that one additional character introduction left this reader riveted. Finally, there’s a gutsy sort of ending to this book that’s either going to infuriate readers or enthrall them. This series offers a nice switch for Harry Potter fans with a cross of both fantasy and science fiction. Sure, it’s not as well written but it’s still one of the stronger series in a sea of Harry Potter wannabe franchises.