Sunday, 9 September 2012

The Lorien Legacies series, by Pittacus Lore


The Lorien Legacies series by Pittacus Lore is an example of good teenage adventure. The series begins with I Am Number Four, continues with The Power of Six, and now with the latest instalment The Power of Nine.

The premise is fairly straight forward: The planet Lorien was destroyed by their great enemies the Mogadores. As disaster struck, in order to preserve their race, the Lorien leaders managed to send nine children, each with a guardian, to hide on Earth. Loriens are essentially human in form but about half of their race are born with innate powers - special abilities such as telekinesis and extreme speed that develop in their teenage years. The Mogadores followed these children to Earth, to hunt them down, but the Lorien leaders predicted this and so they placed a binding on the children to protect them until they grow into their powers, or ‘legacies’: each child has a number, one to nine, and they can only be killed in that order. So, number nine cannot be killed until all those that proceed him or her have been taken down. Each child, accompanied by their guardian, went a different way when they landed, splitting up the group in order to protect them and to help them hide from the Mogadores. But can they hide forever?

As book one opens the reader is introduced to the background of the story and to Number Four. The Mogadores have hunted down and killed numbers One, Two and Three, each death burning a scar into the other Loriens’ legs; Four knows he is next on the list. This book is the story of his fight to survive and to evade capture, but, as he nears his sixteenth birthday, it’s also the story of the discovery of his legacies, both the powers that he has inherited and the story of the world he left behind, the story of who he is. These ideas all bleed into the following books where they are consolidated and built upon, creating a bigger picture: the fight of a dying race to survive and the fight to protect their adopted home.

I Am Number Four was made into a film shortly after its release a couple of years. It sums up the book quite well: a series of small, daily battles that builds up into one big adventure, packed with adrenaline, coming-of-age issues and, of course, a girl. The book is good, it does what I expected it to, though it does do more than the film, as most books do. The Power of Six carries on where I Am Number Four left off, taking the adventure to another height, and The Rise of Nine mirrors this. I read book one when it first came out, but until this week hadn’t gotten around to book two - while book one is good, and is a great recommend, particularly for younger teenagers, it didn’t blow my mind. So I was pleasantly surprised on picking up The Power of Six as to how much I enjoyed it - more, I think, than I enjoyed I Am Number Four. In fact, I read it in a day, and then moved straight on to The Rise of Nine. And if I had book four in my possession (alas, it is yet to be written), I would have moved straight on to the one too.

I will reveal one secret to the story (though its not exactly a secret these days), and one small spoiler: the author, Pittacus Lore, is the Lorien’s greatest leader. From the reader’s point of view, this is a fun twist to the story especially given one item that is revealed in one of the later books (because I read them together, I can’t remember which one!): one of the nine will be stronger than all the others; they will inherit all of Pittacus Lore’s powers. But which one will it be? And, if it was One, Two, or Three, will those remaining still be able to defeat the Mogadorians? Although, I wonder, if the books are written by Pittacus Lore, then perhaps the one who inherits his legacies then takes the name Pittacus, and is thus writing his/her and his/her companions’ story of survival after the fact. With any luck, all will be revealed in the end.

All in all, The Lorien Legacies is a particularly good series for younger teenagers because its more about adrenaline, unwinding the mystery of the characters’ heritage and escaping the bad guys than it is about love or ‘issues’, but ultimately its perfect escapism for anyone looking for that movie-style reading experience. Each book has something different to add to the story, and book three reveals a lovely government-orientated twist; it’ll be great to find out where the story goes next.

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