Empress of a Thousand Skies || Review

Initial Thoughts: 

For something that’s set up for a duology, there is much to tie up plot-wise. Not surprising for a space opera per se, but I thought a few things could have been resolved already. Also, way too many random coincidences used to move the plot. Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world…anyway, some good parts, some bad, I’m still on the fence mostly on this book.


by Rhoda Belleza
Razorbill, February 2017
Young adult, science fiction
Rated: 3 / 5 cookies

The only surviving heir to an ancient Kalusian dynasty, Rhee has spent her life training to destroy the people who killed her family. Now, on the eve of her coronation, the time has finally come for Rhee to claim her throne – and her revenge.

Alyosha is a Wraetan who has risen above his war refugee origins to find fame as the dashing star of a DroneVision show. Despite his popularity, Aly struggles with anti-Wraetan prejudices and the pressure of being perfect in the public eye.

Their paths collide with one brutal act of violence: Rhee is attacked, barely escaping with her life. Aly is blamed for her presumed murder.

The princess and her accused killer are forced to go into hiding – even as a war between planets is waged in Rhee’s name. But soon, Rhee and Aly discover that the assassination attempt is just one part of a sinister plot. Bound together by an evil that only they can stop, the two fugitives must join forces to save the galaxy.

In a galaxy far, far away…

Cue the whole Star Wars opening sequence for when you read the book jacket summary. I swear to you the overall effect makes it even more dramatic. And, believe you me, this entire thing takes a turn for the drama. But such is a space opera, amiright?

But seriously, can we talk about this whole memory cube business first?

So in this world/galaxy, er, thing, most people are wired into a memory cube, which pretty much holds what I’m assuming is a database of their personal experiences. Because of Rhee’s flashbacks, it seems like an equivalent of a perfect recollection, one which she could go back to over and over again. So when that gets unplugged, most memories are essentially wiped out. And this is a universal thing. I wonder how much of this is hackable and easily attained/rewritten because the whole thing is largely online…

I shudder to think.

Having perfect recall and being able to go back to a memory over and over again is both a blessing and a curse, imo.

But I digress. My point is there’s a lot about this technology that was interesting to me, and I would have loved to have seen it unfold. In fact, Alyosha and Kara’s subplot kind of touches on this conspiracy about the memory cubes, which is probably why I found their POV the second most enjoyable scenes to listen to, the first being the fast-paced, high-risk chase taking place with Vin and Aly.

That being said, a lot of the story hinged on kismet and character ignorance. Several times, Aly and Rhee escape their conflicts unscathed because of a set of coincidences that were set in motion before they even entered the scene. Several times, the characters do stupid things and they still manage to survive (Aly crashing in a spaceship after a high-risk chase, Rhee dropping a pill and getting herself and Dahlen nearly killed). In one particular scene, it just so happens that both characters meet eye-to-eye for a hot second and then suddenly, everything escalates. I just…where’s the buildup? Where’s the danger? Why are the characters so. frelling. dumb?!

No, seriously. These characters had way too many issues that could have been solved if they weren’t so stupid and self-obsessed. The main villain was predictable, boring, and honestly, sounded like the equivalent of a Mary Sue if villains could be characterized as Mary Sues. Rhee, as the only survivor of the Kalusian dynasty, is supposed to have been taught to take over the throne of an empire, yet I in no way thought of her as anyone who would be fitting to take over a throne. The beginning of the book pretty much starts a few days before her coronation, and yeah, okay, shit happens, and we have explosions and death, and mo’ money, mo’ problems, but from the get-go, Rhiannon was the most aggravatingly ignorant girl ever. She reminded me of another YA girl-ruler who I completely despised because all that education and preparation amounted to absolutely nadand in the end do we really want to trust someone like that in a seat of power?

You’d think perfect recall would allow Rhee to dwell on memories and analyze the minutiae of human interaction and facial expressions. You’d think she’d pick up on facial cues through that recall. Instead, she spends the entire last few years thinking about shanking the guy she THINKS killed her family. Without proof. Without any other evidence other than the fact that she has a memory of her father’s adviser arguing vehemently against peace. And because the guy was so against her father’s policies, it’s clear that he TOTALLY DID IT.

Spoilers, he didn’t. Oopsie daisy? And does Rhee learn? Not in the slightest.

I could probably list a few other things that bothered me about this so-called empress, but I’m so over it, and I want to move on to better things.

Alyosha’s arc was definitely the most interesting to read. While Rhee’s journey was focused on the overarching galactic politics (peace versus war, an empire in arrears, a princess looking for revenge, and a madman trying to frame the wrong person), Aly’s had the most human-interest. Besides the memory cube technology, what I thought Belleza did well on was her touching upon race and racism in the galaxy. The Wraetan are looked down upon, and it mostly has to do with the coloring of their skin. When Rhee’s ship explodes before reaching her coronation ceremony, all the blame goes to Aly, a Wraetan who is blamed because of course it would be a dark-skinned Wraetan who would want to kill off Kalusian royalty. This aspect continues to be brought up throughout the book, and Aly has to constantly deal with not only escape, but survival. Easier said than done when most of the empire is out there to kill him…

Overall, a lot of what the characters did bugged me. A lot of the events made me roll my eyes because of course it would happen that way. I did greatly appreciate the interesting twist with the technology, and I liked the inclusion of different race dynamics in the story. I also liked that this was a space opera, because then lots of different characters and plots within plots within plots. There were a lot of loose ends that still needed to be tied up, however, and Belleza could have kept her story a little less convoluted. That said, I actually am keen to read the next book, if only to find out more on the whole memory cube plot.

3 out of 5 cookies! And honestly, this whole “the two fugitives must join together” thing on Goodreads is another blurb gone wrong. The two main characters never actually meet each other in the book, so um. Yeah.

Did you read this book? What did you think?


Peter Peter and Sky Eater || Tiger Lily Review

Initial Thoughts: 

For a retelling based off a children’s adventure story, this was kind of a snorefest. Kudos for the transgender Tik Tok at least?


by Jodi Lynn Anderson
HarperCollins, July 2012
YA fantasy, retelling, romance
Rated: 2 / 5 cookies

Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair. . . .

Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn’t believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell.

Peter is unlike anyone she’s ever known. Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthralls her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland’s inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything—her family, her future—to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she’s always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter.

With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it’s the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who’s everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart.

Okay, so I admit I expected to be writing a very squee-ful review of A Conjuring of Light by now, but my commitment issues got in the way and I’ve been refusing to read the last two hundred pages of Schwab’s book because I DO NOT WANT IT TO END. So I picked up this book that I’d stopped reading in the middle of February for various reasons, and I finally finished it in one sitting.

Unfortunately, the feeling I had for the entire book was really just…meh?

(I’ve tried real hard not to turn this into a rant, but I swear my fingers have a mind of their own…)

So Tiger Lily is a retelling of J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, a story about a flying boy who never grows up. In the original source, Peter takes the Darling siblings on a grand adventure in Neverland, only to find themselves in trouble with Captain Hook and his band of pirates. There’s a lot of shenanigans happening, and in the end, the story takes a cyclical turn, staying true to Peter’s everlasting boyish persona: that everything goes round and round, and will always stay the same where Neverland is concerned.

One of the secondary characters that show up in Barrie’s work happens to be Tiger Lily, the daughter of a tribal chief in Neverland. She is often pitted as the foil to Wendy, because she, too, loves Peter, and has eyes for no one else. Now, the Barrie original has an image of Tiger Lily walking onto Captain Hook’s ship with a knife in her mouth. And honestly, that image alone made this girl the most interesting character in Neverland to date. That’s saying much, considering there are mermaids and pirates and fairies to contend with!

I won’t get into an argument about the depiction of the Piccaninny tribe in the Disney movie, but honestly, I do remember loving what glimpse I had of this feisty little girl!

A lot of the book blurb hinted at some fast-paced, love-at-first-sight adventure romance. I mean, it’s a retelling of Peter Pan, and what wouldn’t be a retelling of Peter Pan if it didn’t have a magical Neverland brimming with mermaids and dangerous pirates and its indigenous, non-colonized people? The entire selling point was that the focus would be on Tiger Lily, one of the most interesting characters in the stories.

Here’s the problem with the blurb, though: it’s another unfortunate, inaccurate write-up. The most accurate it could have gotten was that the focus is on Tiger Lily. However, insta-love doesn’t happen (thank goodness). Tiger Lily is her own character for a majority of the book, and she does fall in love with Peter Pan, but her realization doesn’t even come about until halfway through the book.

Here’s the other problem: there wasn’t much “risk” involved on Tiger Lily’s part. Not once did I feel the need to worry about how the Sky Eaters would react to Tiger Lily’s involvement with the Lost Boys. There was clear and present danger, yes, but nothing immediate, and when dealing with a story where most people already know the ending (heck, the friggin’ fairy already prefaced the story as something that would not end happily for the two lovebirds), it was already predictable that Tiger Lily and Peter would come out unscathed. Probably heartbroken, but largely whole.

And to top it off, meeting Wendy Darling was pretty much the last fifty pages of the book. Honestly, I was half-hoping the entire scene had gone the pirates’ way in the end, because at least that would have been a trifle more exciting. Also, I didn’t think Wendy could get even more boring than the usual persona she is often depicted as, but she did. She got even less interesting in this book, and frankly, even Tinker Bell had developed more personality within the last fifty pages than Wendy did (and that’s saying something, because I swear Tink didn’t have an opinion in her little fairy body either).

It’s gotta be said, Wendy.

My biggest gripe of the story was probably the narration itself. It was hard trying to sympathize with any of the characters when the storyteller kept changing tenses and perspectives on me. The whole book is seen in the eyes of Tinker Bell, a mute fairy whose sole purpose in the book was really just to watch and observe things unravel before her. While I do not mind plot-driven books, the addition of Tink as the unreliable narrator made the storytelling clunky. There were too many POV changes in one scene, and it was sometimes difficult to determine whether or not it was Tink thinking some things or if it was Tiger Lily or another character whose mind Tink can view.

And honestly, Tinker Bell’s limited, single-minded view pretty much distorted the story to revolve around what she wanted to see. Everything else was white noise for her, and unless it dealt with the well-being of Tiger Lily and Peter Pan, Tink pretty much just glazed over things. This in itself is irritating when there were darker, grimmer issues surrounding the story that had nothing to do with Tiger Lily and Peter’s doomed romance. At one point, a rape took place, and Tink’s narration of it lasted a couple paragraphs, like it was just some sort of pitiable thing she happened to have come across. Instead of feeling any sorts of disgusted or worried, she doesn’t even bring this shit up to Tiger Lily. Oh, but Tink has time to prank Wendy Darling, though!

(In Tink’s defense, I doubt she would have been able to say much to Tiger Lily, who was also unfortunately too wrapped up in her own miseries to be paying attention to what was happening to her own damn friends. Ugh, shame on you, Tiger Lily!)

That said, it could have been worse. Tink could have had a voice…

That all said, there were a few things I liked about Tiger Lily.

The writing had its moments, for sure. I thought the prologue and the first few chapters were the best parts to read, because it had a poetic feel to them, and it was easy to forget that Tinker Bell was narrating the story for the most part. The letter at the end was probably one of my favorite bits, too, it was bittersweet and a bit sad. If I sympathized with the relationship more, I might have cared more, but Peter was kind of a jerk for the most part, and only the letter really indicated how much he changed when he got older.

Tik Tok, Pine Sap, and Moon Eye. Honestly, there were some really good characters written into the story. I thought Smee was characterized rather well, though I found this an interesting take on Hook’s most notorious lackey. Pine Sap and Moon Eye were great secondary characters, though I will say that Tik Tok was my absolute favorite. Honestly, Tik Tok’s and Moon Eye’s storylines were the most compelling for me in Tiger Lily, both of which dealt with darker issues. Hell, I was sad for Tik Tok. I was not sad that Peter chose the other woman.

2 out of 5 cookies! It got one extra cookie for Tik Tok and the conclusive situation with Giant. Yeah.

This counts as #6 of my Flights of Fantasy Challenge.

Have you read this book? What did you think?

Review: And I Darken by Kiersten White

I think I saw this on Netgalley and was immediately pressing the “Request” button on the sole fact that the story followed a speculative telling of the life and times of Vlad Dracul, the Impaler.

Only, this particular Vlad is a girl.


Of course I had to read it.


by Kiersten White
Delacorte Press, June 2016
Historical fiction, speculative, young adult
Rated: cookieratingcookieratingcookierating / 5 cookies
e-ARC provided by NetGalley

andidarkenNo one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwyla likes it that way.

Ever since she and her brother were abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman sultan’s courts, Lada has known that ruthlessness is the key to survival. For the lineage that makes her and her brother special also makes them targets.

Lada hones her skills as a warrior as she nurtures plans to wreak revenge on the empire that holds her captive. Then she and Radu meet the sultan’s son, Mehmed, and everything changes. Now Mehmed unwittingly stands between Lada and Radu as they transform from siblings to rivals, and the ties of love and loyalty that bind them together are stretched to breaking point.

The first of an epic new trilogy starring the ultimate anti-princess who does not have a gentle heart. Lada knows how to wield a sword, and she’ll stop at nothing to keep herself and her brother alive.

Gifly Thoughts

Once upon a time, I had this crazy obsession regarding Hungarian and Romanian history. Mostly about the fight against the Ottomans in the 1400s-1500s. Mostly about the Hunyadis and Vlad the Impaler. Mostly about the Impaler himself. Mostly about his crazy-ass siege tactics and how the medievalers waged war. I mean, what’s not to be interested about all this chicanery?

And, I mean, come on, the main character in this instance was a GIRL. Who was supposed to be a GUY. And, erm, HIJINKS. Things obviously change, because medieval outlook on a girl doing all these guy-things and making no attempts to compromise her beliefs–for the most part–is pretty dismal. Lada sets out to prove that she can do whatever she needs to do for her country. And do so as a person of the fairer sex. Does she get to her goals immediately and from the get-go? No. Does she do so using her cunning, physical prowess, and sheer force of will much later? Hell yes she does.

“We have nothing. Can you not see that?”

“We have Mehmed!”

Lada looked up. The stars were static, still and cold in the night, all the fire gone from the sky.

“It is not enough,” she said.

As a character, I love Lada. She is, in all sense of the word, fierce. She has one goal which she finds pretty early on in the book, and while many variables are thrown in her way that distracts her from said goal (like hormones and boys), she eventually decides “Screw you guys, I’m going home.” in the most effective way ever. Often within the book, she yearns for more, and it kind of made me smile that as the main character, she strove for a love so much greater than one man.

Unfortunately, I read this under a biased view of the history revolving Vlad the Impaler. Which means I had to turn my brain off regarding historical accuracy of the time period. Also, my opinion on the famous figures of Radu and Mehmed were pretty damn low from the get-go. As a fictional depiction of both Radu and Mehmed become prominent in the story, I found myself at odds with my vision of Mehmed, who seemed like a decent sort of fellow in And I Darken, though he was a rather monstrous man in history (he’s pretty much done his fair share of rape, sodomy, and fratricide, so uh, yeah). As for Radu…well.

I still fucking hate the kid.

Just about every other chapter with Radu in it I almost skipped. I mean, I tried to like him. I thought, “Gee, well, maybe he grows a spine and becomes this really well-spoken, sly, crafty gentleman working up the Ottoman court. Maybe I’ll like him then.” So yeah, he kind of does become rather formidable in his own way, and like his sister, he becomes a bigger player in the Ottoman court and worms his way into the trust of many a politician.

He’s also got the hots for Mehmed. And his pining over this wonderfully godlike specimen of a prince just never. fucking. ends. Radu’s love for Mehmed is intense like the fire of a thousand suns. It is as fierce as a tsunami. As boundless as the skies. Hell, it was a rarity to find a page or two in Radu’s chapter where he doesn’t think about Mehmed or mention him in a conversation. It was an effing miracle to find any mention of Mehmed in Radu’s chapter that wasn’t cream-filled, double-coated, and bubble-wrapped in unrequited angst.

Which is probably what drove me nuts over this so-called “toxic love triangle” I keep reading about. Yeah, I would say it’s toxic. I’m not sure it’s much of a love triangle, though, considering Lada wasn’t really sure about her feelings (but she did like being snogged), Radu has way too many feelings (which he will continually bombard the readers with in his POV), and Mehmed is pretty singular in his feelings (which are clearly not for Radu). Nobody really emerges the winner here in the first book, so I mostly just shrugged it off in the end and continued to follow Lada without any other care in the world.

That being said, I do want to pick up the next book after this, if only to see how things turn out. I am seriously curious over how Lada will interact with the Hunyadis and whether her dealings with the Ottomans remain as is. I totally want to see more of Nicolae because he’s awesome. And while Huma did get a bit annoying later on in the book, I’d love to see more of the harem females find their own bearings in the political atmosphere of the Ottoman Empire. I also would love to read about Lada’s continual growth as she begins to gain the notoriety of being Ladislav Dracul. I do hope she gets the moniker of Lada the Impaler. I mean, she is an anti-hero, right? So she has to at least show some brutality.

3 out of 5 cookies! Worth the read. Though be warned: the historical aspects of this is pretty damn warped and utterly speculative.


On a different note, Lada is a prime example of gender-bending characters in history and changing the story as is. Do you have a particular historical figure you’d be interested to see a gender-bent story of?

Personally, I’d like to see what happens if Genghis Khan was female. But that’s just me and the fact that my head went straight to Mulan, lmao.


Review: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

I have mixed feelings about YA urban fantasy and the faerie. Always have. It’s probably why when I read Holly Black’s Tithe I wasn’t falling head over heels in love over it. But I’ve also just thought about the fact that, at the end of it all, I actually liked Tithe, even when I thought most of the mortal–or, erm, in Kaye’s case, half-fae–characters annoyed me (though in Kaye’s case, I came to respect her by the end of the book). Also, Roiben (who’s the male faery equivalent of Ash in this case) was pretty cool.

The Iron King, however, is definitely NOT Tithe. I wanted it to be, I really, really did. But it really, really isn’t.

Warning: This review is pretty much a rant. With words that go past a “mild swearing” rating. Though I offer no apology, I should at least let you know. Don’t read if you’re squeamish against expletives and full-blown ranting!


by Julie Kagawa
Harlequin Teen, February 2010
YA urban fantasy
Rated: cookieratingcookierating / 5 cookies

ironkingMeghan Chase has a secret destiny; one she could never have imagined.

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan’s life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she’s known is about to change.

But she could never have guessed the truth – that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she’ll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil, no faery creature dare face; and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

Gifly Thoughts

I love the world of the Fae, and I love seeing it in fiction. When I finally picked The Iron King up, I was a little wary over the reviews. People either loved it or hated it and from what my friend had said about the book, it was something I might not be interested in reading at all.

Still, it’s the Fae, dammit. And they’re meant to be read about. And I had the hope that the book would surprise me.

The obstacle came in the form of Meghan Chase, the main character. I am aware that there is room for growth, especially when this youngster is sixteen and pretty much clueless to everything that goes on around her. She’s a normal teenager with normal teenage problems, even though Meghan herself seems to think she’s NOT a normal teen. She’s awkward, wiry, tomboyish. Basically a teenage girl with low self-esteem and isn’t exactly noticeable as far as the high school hierarchy goes.

She is, of course, correct. She’s not a normal teen. Turns out she’s half-fae. Huh. Well, that’s cool, right?

Only about as cool as somebody’s ice cream dropping and melting on a sidewalk. In the sweltering summer heat. I’ll elaborate further.

Ways Meghan Chase Loses Points As A Heroine

(-1) She doesn’t look past petty issues. A lot of the beginning is Meghan in denial, Meghan caring only about herself, Meghan resenting her mother, her stepfather, her astute younger brother. When she finally does find out she has some innate talent in seeing the Fae, she backs away and tries to deny it. She denies it when she sees the changeling. She denies it when Puck tells her. She denies it even when Oberon, the motherfucking King of the Summer Fae, tells her. And when she finally does realize she’s something more special than a normal teenager, all she wants is to go back home to her normal life. She has every advantage of a Fae with the added immunity to iron because of her human blood, and the minute she walks into the Nevernever, she’s all:

“Faeries?! Ugh!”

Meanwhile, if I’m walking into the world of the Fae, I’d be all:


(-1) She lacks gumption. For a half-fae with untapped potential, she’s not using any of it at all. The story would not have even progressed if Puck hadn’t told her that her brother was kidnapped, because Meghan wouldn’t have tried to look at the wrongness that was the changeling.

(-1) She has no interest in curing her ignorance. There are many instances where if Meghan only bothered to learn about her surroundings and the people in those surroundings, she could have avoided the shitstorm that she got into. Numerous characters in the book warn her about thanking Fae and making deals with them. Does she listen to these warnings? Nope. There was one instance where Grimalkin tells her to be careful with Faery fruit, and Meghan still eats it and doesn’t stop to think maybe it’s a bad idea to keep having more. The worst part about this scene was that nobody even blamed this idiot for her actions. The characters scratched it off as somebody else’s fault and coddled the goddamn heroine. No, seriously. They fucken put her to bed, held her hand and everything.

Meghan, woman the fuck up.

(-1) She has a sucky sense of self-preservation. For all that this girl works on a farm, has some sort of Faery sight, and a few other skills that are vaguely mentioned, she has no survival skill. Time and time again somebody is saving her ass from getting mauled by a beast coming at her. She’s a deer in the damn headlights, practically a Damsel in Distress, and this goes on and on and on throughout the whole book. I keep hoping she’ll eventually save herself, but then nope, 250-something pages later, one of her Knights in Faery Armor sacrifices himself to save her ass. AGAIN.

(-1) She has a superficial view of her love life. Oh, of course she’s going to crush on the hottest boy in her high school. Nevermind he comes off as a ginormous douchebag bully from the getgo. Yet Meghan doesn’t seem to learn her lesson that beauty is not only skin deep. Enter Prince Ash, and suddenly Meghan can’t get enough of this “devastatingly handsome” Prince of the Winter Court. Even when the first thing he does is try to kill her best friend–and her. I could have forgiven this fatal attraction and chalked it up to hormones–and well, eye-candy, duh–but even I have a limit. That limit comes along the lines of the hottie telling me he’s going to kill me next time we met. Um. No thanks.

Meanwhile there’s a perfectly awesome–yet friendzoned–character in Puck that makes me think of Ducky in Pretty in Pink. Nevermind that I’m not altogether happy about THE Robin Goodfellow being reduced to a potential, smouldery love interest, but that’s besides the point.

So if I was rating Meghan Chase as a character on a 1-5 rating, she pretty much fails altogether.

As Far As The Rest Of The Book Goes…

It was hard to enjoy much of the book because the main character ruins things, and the story is largely character-driven. I mean, I can say I got excited over the image of the Winter and Summer Courts. I did find it amusing that one of the faery portals was found beneath a dance club. I didn’t actually mind Ash as a character, because he’s a Winter Fae, and I expected him to act like a self-entitled ass. He has redeeming qualities, I suppose, but I would have probably liked him even more if he’d been a villain throughout. For all that I whined about Puck being given such a demeaning role (I mean he’s the TRICKSTER FAE for chrissakes), I liked him. Frankly, the love interests deserve better than the main character.

“I am a cat.”

Can I just get Grimalkin as the main character? Best. Character. Ever.

2 out of 5 cookies! Honestly, the only reason why I didn’t rate this any lower was because I actually bothered to finish it.


Review: I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

Hnnggrrrr. I’ve been trying to avoid reviewing this because I feared the spewing rant that would take over the moment I typed up my thoughts. So instead, I took a deep, seven-day breath (because I am obviously supernatural), researched the “author”, tried to put things in perspective.

I don’t think the researching helped much in my opinion of the book, but at least putting things in perspective gave me less urge to bulldoze a harmless kitten over with a firetruck on acid. That is a good sign.


by Pittacus Lore
HarperCollins, 2010
YA science fiction
Rated: cookieratingcookierating / 5 cookies

iamnofourIn the beginning they were a group of nine. Nine aliens who left their home planet of Lorien when it fell under attack by the evil Mogadorian. Nine aliens who scattered on Earth. Nine aliens who look like ordinary teenagers living ordinary lives, but who have extraordinary, paranormal skills. Nine aliens who might be sitting next to you now. The Nine had to separate and go into hiding.

The Mogadorian caught Number One in Malaysia, Number Two in England, and Number Three in Kenya. All of them were killed. John Smith, of Paradise, Ohio, is Number Four. He knows that he is next.

Gifly Thoughts

Disclaimer: It was probably a bad idea to have read into the pseudonym and the sweatshop controversy that surrounds this series, but in spite of bias, I’m reviewing the book as it is.

I saw the movie first, and seeing Ryan “Pretty”fer play the lead role of Four was like watching this:

Pettyfer WAS in Magic Mike, so this little parody is appropriate.

And alright, the movie wasn’t super amazing or anything special, and the damsel-in-distress was pretty much a cookie cutter damsel/romantic-interest, but I thought it was just because they cast Diana Agron, who is pretty much typecast into the same damn roles over and over (granted, I did like her psychotic side in The Family). I was, overall, entertained, and I figure, maybe the book gave more depth that the movie couldn’t really encompass due to limited time, etc.

Nope. No. Now that I think about it, Diana Agron was pretty spot on, because whatsherface-romanticinterest (whose name I can no longer remember because she wasn’t at all very memorable) was as uninteresting as a brownie container that no longer holds brownies. At least watching Agron in the role wasn’t too bad, because I actually like the actress.

That is not my full problem with the book, though.

I thought I Am Number Four had a pretty good premise, kind of Superman-y with Lorien being the series’ Krypton, what with Legacies and some such used as superpowers. If that wasn’t all, there’s a charm on each Lorien Gard: they have to be killed in numerical order, otherwise any attacks rebound on the jerkwads–the villainous, planet-conquering Magadorians–hunting the endangered aliens. Pretty cool, albeit I’m not sure where the science fiction stopped and the fantasy began. I say this because there are a lot of questions I could ask about how the Legacies are inherited. Actually, I’m still pretty confused over how each Gard inherits his/her Legacy, and why it takes time for Legacies to unlock. Plus a hundred experience points maybe?

Also, lots of incompetence all around. I liked the resident Nerd, he was cool (also another plain name I didn’t bother to remember…Sam maybe? I know too many other cool Sams in other cool books, so I’m just flailing here). And Henri was pretty decent as far as non-superpowered aliens went, up until he decided it was a good idea to go “check out a lead” in some shady place without ANY BACKUP. Oh, and Six! Six was totally not incompetent. The rest of the time, I mostly shook my head wondering why people were doing stupid things.

And then there was the romance, which dragged on the plot for OVER HALF THE FRELLING BOOK. Yes, I’m aware Loriens mate for life once they find their “soul mates.” Okay, kind of like werewolves imprinting on mates, right? Or, well, I suppose, swans are the best examples. In any case, the romance was boring. The dialogue for the romance was boring. Even the concept of the cookie-cutter romance was boring. I was BORED.

And when things finally did start happening, the book was pretty much over within fifty or so pages. And I sat there at the end going: “Um. Well, the purpose was clearly to draw out the series to a gazillion books later.”

Not compelled to complete the series. But at least the movie entertained me?

2 out of 5 cookies!