Book: Rebel Allies (I Am Number Four, The Lost Files)

"Rebel Allies"

You know the invasion has begun.
You know we are all that stands in their way.
You think we are alone.
You will see we have hidden allies.
They think they have won.
They are wrong.
They do not have our power.
They do not know the truth.
We have a secret weapon.

I enjoy the Lorien Legacies novels for being book-equivalents of summer blockbuster films, and I don’t really look at them for anything more than entertainment. So it’s always a pleasant surprise when I read The Lost Files novellas because they’re so much better than their main series counterparts.

Probably because they’re so short and they stick to one character’s point of view. The shorter format of the novellas make sure that the action is tight, and the pace is slow enough to allow readers to breathe. But it’s really the singular perspective that elevates the novellas from the main Lorien Legacies series. Because we don’t juggle multiple characters vying for their time in the spotlight, we can actually see the characters deal with their actions and develop into becoming more fully-realized.

In Rebel Allies, the three novellas feature former antagonist Mark James, new character Lexa, and how they teamed up to become an auxiliary team in the fight against the Mogadorians.

Mark James is one of my least favorite characters in the main series. He didn’t really serve a purpose before, other than be the third party to the romance angle of I Am Number Four. When they turned him into a supporting protagonist, he kind of lost his point. And I didn’t really know why there was a need to keep him around, when you already had humans in the main group who served a better purpose than he does, story-telling-wise.

Return to Paradise, his previous novella from a previous The Lost Files collection, further cemented the fact that he no longer had a purpose. And then the people behind the Lorien Legacies series wrote The Fugitive. And suddenly Mark James has direction again.

Unlike the humans in the main group, Mark James is the actual substitute for the majority of the human race. He who wants to do something to help against the alien threat, but is in actuality in over his head. And he doesn’t have an alien best friend who can bust him out of tight spots.

Mark James is painfully human, and that’s what makes his journey resonate more. His humanity. His vulnerability. And his realization that he is not the main character in this story.

Which serves as great foil for new character Lexa who doesn’t give a damn about the other characters. She is in this war for revenge. And it is very refreshing to see another alien character who isn’t extolling the good virtues of the Lorien people.

As the sidelined characters, Mark and Lexa are just the perspective the Lorien Legacies series needed. An outside view of the war that seems to be the be-all and end-all for the characters in the main series. They work well in the outskirts.

Which is why, although I loved them in these novellas, the two kind of felt like a deus-ex-machina device when they appeared in The Fate of Ten. Obviously there was a plan to bring them in the main series, after all, Mark James did come from the very first book– But I also really liked the idea of there being other stories that, although they are affected by the events of the main series, they exist only in the periphery.

It makes the world of Lorien Legacies bigger. More believable. Because not everyone crosses paths.

The series is ending with United As One coming out this year. There’s another The Lost Files collection coming out as well. But I hope the writers of this series still come up with more novellas featuring characters that don’t play major parts in the main series. Because the mythology they built is too amazing to waste in just one linear narrative.

Give your readers more than just the usual.


Book: The Revenge of Seven

They will not rest until we are dead. They will not stop until your planet is theirs.

We are all that stands in their way. We know secrets they thought hidden. We have power they never expected.

The time has come for them to fall.

I would say the I Am Number Four series of books is my guilty pleasure, but you don’t really admit to a guilty pleasure, do you? Unless you’re anonymous, but in this case, I’m not. So I will proclaim that– Yes, I enjoy reading the I Am Number Four series, and I really, really had a wild ride reading its latest installment, The Revenge of Seven.

You know what the best part of this books are? It’s that they are fast reads. You don’t need a whole lot of time to absorb what you’re reading, things just happen: action upon action, reaction upon reaction– I’ve said it before, the I Am Number Four series is the book equivalent of a movie blockbuster–and, hey, it’s released during the American Summer season too.

Now, I’m not throwing shade at the book. The Revenge of Seven is unapologetic in being fluff. Sure, we get introspection about forgiveness and redemption, but let’s be real; these books are all about the forward momentum. The quiet moments are few and far in between, and before you know it, you’ve already devoured the whole book.

And then comes the one thing I really don’t like about this series: the wait. Because I don’t need the time to contemplate on the things happening, I go through the whole thing in a flash, and I’m already wanting to read what happens next. I already want to get my hands on the next book.

I want this series to end so bad. Just because I really, really want to know what happens in the end.

But wait, I must.

In the meantime, let’s check out what other people are saying about the book:
My Book Musings
Lunch Break Adventures

Book: The Fall of Five

"The Fall of Five"

They brought in their leader. They thought they could defeat us. They thought they had won. They were wrong.

We have finally come together. We will be more powerful than ever. We have lost battles. We will not lose this war.

Lorien will rise again.

What do you do when the title of the book you’re reading is a giant spoiler? You choose to ignore the fact that you know where the story is going, that’s what. And then, you just enjoy the ride.

At least, that’s what I did when I read The Fall of Five.

In the latest release from the Lorien Legacies series, we finally meet all of the Gardes. And we get a new Cepan in the form of… well, that’s a spoiler I think I can hold off on. Because unlike the first two books of the series, the fourth book holds up well in terms of quality. And I really would want for you to read it. And be surprised by it.

Well, be surprised if you haven’t read any of the novellas. Which you can live without anyway. They’re supplementary reading at best.

But this is not about that. This is about The Fall of Five, and the writer’s (or writers’?) amazing ability to give a different voice for each one of the ten characters. Eleven if you count the cameos of… Oh, wait. That’s a spoiler too.

What isn’t a spoiler though is the bad-ass action sequences we get in the book. Seriously. Action sequences that take you into the heat of the battle. In a book. Who needs 3D when you can be right in the middle of the action? Oh, wait, you need an active imagination to do that. Fortunately, it’s not prerequisite for The Fall of Five. The descriptions, the whole lot of them, paint very vivid pictures. That move.

If there’s one thing you can really sell about The Fall of Five is that it never wants in the description department. But it doesn’t go overboard with it too–which is great. Come to think of it, this series is basically a script for a movie that’s just waiting to be made.

There are a bunch of lessons about confidence, team work, and treating people right–but they take on the after-school special approach, and they’re not really mind-blowingly original. But they’re there, and they don’t detract from the overall experience. Adds to it, maybe.

The only thing I don’t like is the fact that we have to wait for the next book. I want it now.

I can’t believe that, after being ambivalent about the first two books, I’m actually looking forward now to when the next book’s going to drop. Excited even. This further cements my learning that you never should judge a series by its first book.

And seeing as I completely lost it, not really saying anything much of import, I’ll turn you over to other book blogs who’ve already written their piece on The Fall of Five. Enjoy!

My Book Musings
TF Geek Girl
Book Probe

Book: I Am Number Four The Lost Files, The Legacies

"The Lost Files"

Talk about a mouthful. I am at an actual loss as to what to call this book. Should I call it The Legacies? The Lost Files? Or the really long I Am Number Four The Lost Files: The Legacies? Anyway–

You know we’re out there, living among you. You know we’re waiting for our day to come. You have seen the power of our legacies. You know this is why they hunt us. You may think you know our stories. You are wrong. We each have our own story. We know the time has come to share them with you. Our legacies are your only hope.

This book collects three novellas that is supposed to, I guess, bridge one Lorien Legacy book to the next. In it we have a back stories for Six and Nine, as well as a story that tackles the coming war from the other side of the fence. Now, if I hadn’t already read The Power of Six and The Rise of Nine, this book would’ve been much more valued. But I have read Books 2 and 3 of the Lorien Legacies–and that makes the novellas Six’s Legacy and Nine’s Legacy sort of obsolete. Both get tackled in the second and third book, respectively, and in a more succinct manner.

What does make this book a gem though is the last novella: The Fallen Legacies.

I mentioned, while writing about The Rise of Nine, that me reading the series has now veered away from being a guilty pleasure to actual enjoyment. That’s how I felt, reading The Fallen Legacies. It’s something that was enjoyable to read–and not because I was treating it as an action-adventure summer blockbuster film turned into a book. As I have already said, it tackles the coming war between the good guys and the bad guys–from the perspective of the bad guys. And, for the first time, we get a main character that we can empathize with.

Notice how I said main character and not protagonist?

Another thing that I enjoyed about The Fallen Legacies is the fact that while it retells a couple of stories that were already referred to in the three published books from the series, it manages to do so in a fresh way–with new information. The opening of I Am Number Four gets explored further, and we get to meet the characters that fell before the series even began.

Reading this last novella, I felt disappointed that the author hadn’t decided to write it into a full-fledged novel instead. I think that would’ve been more interesting to read than the rehash of what happened to both Six and Nine prior to them meeting Four.

But that’s just me. Let’s see how other people reacted to this collection:
Teen Reads
The World of Argon
Tales of the Ravenous Reader