There's a lot of hype surrounding this novel and while it was very very good, its wasn't my favourite sci-fi/fantasy book of all time. Having said that, there is plenty to be said for it's originality.
My main complaint was the pace of the plot, especially at the beginning but it did slowly pick up, and in the last 100 pages or so, there was so much happening and so much action that i couldn't put the book down. As usual i'll start with a recap...
John is a seemingly ordinary boy at first glance but is in fact an alien from a planet called Lorien. Along with eight other talented children and there guardians, they were sent to earth to be saved from the invasion of their home planet by vicious creatures called Mogadorians. The problem is that the Mogadorians are hell bent on destroying those that escaped them, the only plus side is that they have to kill the children in the correct order because of a charm, and John (number four) is next.
I expected the this to be more tense and highly strung because of the story line, but for the first part of the novel it moved very slowly. There was a lot of scene setting and the past of Lorien, John and his guardian Henri came about steadly which admittedly was a bit of a relief in some respect because potentially this book if not done properly could have been major information overload, but as i've already mentioned, the pace was a little too slow.
The characters themselves were an interesting mix. It made a change to have a hero who was capable of making selfless and brave decisions but was also equally capable of being a bit of an idiot in some cases acting with a lack of thought.Henri, his guardian was a brilliant character and i loved the scenes between him and John, and some of them really sent the message of the importance of family and what it truly means.
As undoubtably, John considers Henri as his father, Sarah was also awesome, although i have to admit, she was guilty of what im now calling 'Irrational Acceptance Syndrome'(this means that said person hears something extraordinary about someone and just shrugs and goes ok without having an odd or otherwise weird reaction).
Her love for John was sweet and the focus, for once, was on the emotional aspect of attachment and love, as opposed to sex, which is all to often the norm in teen books at the moment.What i loved about the supporting characters such as Sam and Sarah is that they all got the chance to show how brave they were and it was nice to see the 'normal' people play a role in saving the day.
But my all time favourite character was...Bernie Kosar. That dog is so sweet and the most adorable and brave character in the book. I fell in love with that dog right at the beginning and i loved him still at the end! Never underestimate animals!
With regard to the general story, there were some amazing twists and some of the things that were revealed about Lorien and the Mogadorians were purely amazing.When the aciton really did kick off at the end of the book i have to admit i was majorly impressed and some of the events that occur had me stunned and turning the pages so fast because i was desperate to find out what happened next.That's not to say there's a lack of emotional impact because i sobbed through several pages and i'm not ashamed to admit it, as it was truly one of the most emotional endings i have ever read.
As with most good series, this one is no exception in ending in some form of cliffhanger, but not the sort that will leave you infuriated and immediately wanting to know what happens next, which i'm sure will be a relief to most people.Anyway, give this book a go, it's full of aliens, romance, snow, evil creatures and an adorable doggy!