Packed with aliens, battles and more teen angst than you could shake a stick at, The Power of Six follows on from where I Am Number Four left off. Charting alien John Smith’s struggle against his deadly fate, the story introduces new characters into the mix helping freshen the already lively story.
For those of you who missed the first instalment, later made into a fairly successful teen movie, the future of the planet Lorien is in jeopardy. Sending their last hope of survival, nine children, to Earth with individual protectors, or Cêpans, Lorien must trust in the legacies (or special powers) that will develop in the children to save both their planet as well as our own. Why go to such lengths? Because an increasingly formidable alien race is hot on their trail and aim to kill the garde off in sequential order. With the first three dead, John, number four, is on the run with Six and friend Sam. Their journey leads to several increasingly action-filled encounters.
Of the new characters the most prominant is Marina, number seven. Forced to live in a convent through necessity, she finds her relationship with Cêpan Adelina increasingly subdued and soon she is fighting alone. Befriending strange new orphan Ella she discovers new legacies and new foes. The townsfolk of Santa Teresa offer an interesting backdrop for her story to play out against. Notably Hector plays a strong role as friend whilst the continued bullying in the convent only helps increase her woes.
Intertwining with Marina’s plight, John’s story yoyos between tense action-packed battles with the Mogs to endless descriptions of their waiting for something to happen. The mystery of the garde’s individual chests lessens the boredom and provides an interesting sub story. Six’s flashbacks and memories help flesh out the story too.
Pittacus Lore (pseudonym for writers James Frey and Jobie Hughes) chooses to convey the story using first person present tense. Although a difficult medium at first, the narrative soon flows and, aside from a few confusing changes of perspective, the choice marks an interesting change of pace from other fiction.
The story relies heavily on convenient events that help spur the story on but the action is well paced and evocative even if the angst is a bit wearing. John’s indecisiveness between his loves for Sarah (his girlfriend) and Six (his fellow garde) is injected unnecessarily into the plot at times but the story survives despite this. The existence of the garde’s Legacies adds an interesting twist to the story and the final battles are exciting and engaging even if they leave the story open for part three.
Thanks to its action-filled pages The Power of Six will almost certainly follow suit of its predecessor into cinemas.