Sunday, March 4, 2012

Middle-Grade/Teen Review: The Power of Six

 A few months ago, my family and I watched the movie adaptation of I Am Number Four, and we all enjoyed it very much.  My 17-year old son said it seemed like the sort of story where the book was probably even better than the movie (he is an avid reader!), so we gave him I Am Number Four and its sequel, The Power of Six, by Pittacus Lore for Christmas.  He loved them both.  Interestingly, I had tried to interest him in the audio version of The Power of Six, but he refused to listen!  He said he wanted to read it in traditional format.  Though I was frustrated by his stubbornness at the time, I have to admit now that he was right: this was a very good story but one best read rather than listened to.

This sci fi series, The Lorien Legacies, is about a dying planet (Lorien) that sent 10 of its children to Earth in an effort to someday revive their race.  Those children have been in hiding, along with their adult guardians, spread across the planet, living as humans among us for years.  In this latest book, The Power of Six, the stories of Number Four, known as John Smith, and Number Six are continued from the first book, as they go on the run to try to stay away from both the FBI and their alien enemies, the Magadorians (I won’t say much more than that in case you haven’t read the first book yet).

Readers are also introduced to a new Lorien character, Number Seven, known as Marina, who has been living in an orphanage in a monastery in Spain with her guardian.  The chapters alternate between John and Marina narrating, with lots of action, suspense, and even a bit of romance.  This book is rife with battle scenes between the Lorien teens and the fierce Magadorians who want to eradicate their race, which I found a bit tiresome but my son says were the best part of the book!  The series’ story is moved forward quite a bit with this book, as each of the kids develops his or her powers, and more back-story is explained.

Overall, I enjoyed the story and found it interesting and engaging.  My only complaint is with the audio production.  There were two narrators: a male reader, Neil Kaplan, who read the chapters from John’s perspective and a female narrator, Marisol Ramirez, who read Marina’s chapters.  Ramirez did a great job, and I enjoyed listening to Marina’s chapters; however, John’s chapters, read by Kaplan, were often cringe-worthy.  He used different voices for different characters, which just did not work.  John’s friend, Sam, who is supposed to be a bit of a geek, was voiced with an abrasive, nasally voice that just sounded ridiculous, and he didn’t do much better with the female voice used for Six.  In fact, my son overheard me listening one day, and said, “See?  I told you the audio would be no good!”  I wouldn’t go that far – I did listen to the whole thing – but this is definitely one case where I would recommend reading the book rather than listening.


NOTE: This book is recommended for ages 14 and up.  I think that older middle-grade readers would also enjoy it, though there is a lot of graphic violence during the battle scenes, so keep that in mind.


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