Nine of us came here, but sometimes I wonder if time has changed us–if we all still believe in our mission. How can I know? There are six of us left. We’re hiding, blending in, avoiding contact with one another… but our Legacies are developing, and soon we’ll be equipped to fight. Is John Number Four, and is his appearance the sign I’ve been waiting for? And what about Number Five and Six? Could one of them be the raven-haried girl with the stormy eyes from my dreams? The girl with powers that are beyond anything I could ever imagine? The girl who may be strong enough to bring the six of us together?
They caught Number One in Malaysia.
Number Two in England.
And Number Three in Kenya.
They tried to catch Number Four in Ohio–and failed.
I am Number Seven. One of six still alive.
And I’m ready to fight.”
The problem with not reading the synopsis prior to reading, especially with sequels, is that there’s a possibility of getting lost.
Having read I Am Number Four, when I started reading The Power of Six, I thought events would once again be told through the eyes of John Smith, or Four. Instead, we get saddled with the thoughts of Marina, aka Number Seven. Yes, I say saddled. That’s because we’ve already touched base with the problems of aliens fitting in with regular folks in the first book. I understand that Seven did get a different upbringing, seeing as she’s stayed in an orphanage run by nuns for around seven years–but her thoughts aren’t really new to us. Only the circumstances. Now, had Seven exhibited different thoughts from the ones Four had in the first book, I wouldn’t be reacting this way. But her first few chapters felt like a retread–that, or it was a very clever way of encapsulating what the first book was about without actually giving us a summary.
The first time the book jumps to Four’s consciousness, I admit that I was a bit caught off-guard. The Power of Six employs cliffhangers similar to the ones used in Rick Riordan’s Kane Chronicles. When something big happens to one side of the story, we quickly jump to the other side. And while Rick Riordan starts his jump-to’s by reintroducing the speaker/personna, authors James Frey and Jobie Hughes doesn’t do this. Instead, you’re left disoriented for the first paragraph as you try to figure out which story you’re now following.
Well, until you realize that the book is employing two fonts, one for each personna. And then, if you’re like me, you feel a little foolish for getting annoyed at the lack of reintroduction.
Story-wise, The Power of Six is just as action-packed as the first book was. Except, instead of making a detour through high school problems, we begin at the height of the action. Well, with Four anyway. He’s still on the run with Number Six, and best friend Sam. After the events of I Am Number Four, the three are now being considered as terrorists. And as soon as we jump into Four’s consciousness, we see how life on the run has been like for our three protagonists–and it hasn’t been very bad. None of them are fighting, and they’re only about to encounter their first problem with a cop. Oh, and considering the fact that they don’t really have a lot of money, none of them are hungry.
Logic aside though, Four’s side of the story is a page-turner–a summer blockbuster. You really do get sucked into the action.
Compared to that, Seven’s story is like a thriller. Or a mainstream art film. We get a lot of set-up, we see a lot of foreshadowing. But until things get really hairy for Four and Six, nothing big really happens in Seven’s world. And when things start getting rough for Seven, Six conveniently decides to head off to her part of the story.
I guess it comes to no surprise that I found the book uneven. On the other hand, my main beef with the first book, the emotional outpourings of Four, was absent for the most part in The Power of Six. He does go emo in the latter part of the book, but it’s actually warranted this time–and it doesn’t distract from the action.
All in all, The Power of Six was a quick read–if a bit lacking in substance.