Zero Hour

If you haven’t read the following books in the Lorien Legacies (I Am Number Four) series, go no further. You will be all kinds of lost if you haven’t read the entire series up to this point.

So…I guess it’s fairly obvious that I’ve been catching up on the Lorien Legacies series. The series as a whole is now complete, but I had to read the last collection of novellas before moving on to the seventh and final full-length novel, United As One. I’m hoping to conclude this series sometime in January, but let’s turn our attention to Zero Hour for now.

Zero Hour, like the collections before it, is comprised of three novellas that provide a little more insight into the Loric Garde, their allies, and the Mogadorians that seek to take over Earth. In this particular collection, we see things from the perspectives of several characters we’ve met before–some friendly, others not so much.

The first story in Zero Hour is Legacies Reborn, and readers are reintroduced to a character we met in The Fate of Ten. Dani Morales is a girl living in New York City. Her biggest concern is dealing with her horrible stepdad…until she realizes that aliens have invaded her city and seem determined to wipe out all traces of resistance. Separated from her mom, Dani tries to get across the city and reunite with the only person that really matters to her. She soon learns that this task won’t be easy, but she may get some help from some allies…and from some newfound powers of her own.

Next up, we have Last Defense. In this story, we learn a bit more about Malcolm Goode, otherwise known as Sam’s dad. Malcolm is still dealing with being held captive by the Mogadorians for years, reuniting with his son, and doing whatever he can to help in fighting this alien invasion. Malcolm has information that very few people on Earth are privy to, and that inside look at how the Mogadorians operate makes him valuable to those looking to combat this threat, particularly the President and his closest advisers. But how does Malcolm reconcile assisting the President with his need to keep his son safe?

Finally, there’s Hunt for the Garde. This novella is actually three stories in one, all from the perspectives of Mogadorians (or bad guys).

  • First, we hear from Phiri Dun-Ra, a loyal Mog officer who has messed up in the past and is looking to make up for it in the eyes of the Beloved Leader, Setrákus Ra. She now has her chance.
  • Second, we see Vintaro Üshaba, another loyal Mog who delights in war, inflicting pain, and furthering Mog Progress. Vintaro is merciless, and he will do whatever is necessary to bring in anyone believed to be a threat to Setrákus Ra’s plans. He thinks little of his targets, and that may be his ultimate undoing.
  • Third, we are reintroduced to Rexicus Saturnus. This young Mog, who grew up on Earth and once helped Adam escape from a Mog stronghold, is having doubts about everything happening around him. (Note: Read the other books if you don’t know who Adam is. He’s pretty important.) Maybe Adam was right about everything, including fighting against the Mogadorians. Maybe Setrákus Ra isn’t as all-powerful as he claims. Rex isn’t sure which way to turn, but he’ll have to decide which side he’s on very soon.

So, that’s Zero Hour. It definitely whets my appetite for United As One, and it hints that things are going to get much worse before they get better. I guess we’ll just have to see. At the very least, it should be interesting to see how the characters and storylines from Zero Hour play into the final chapter of this exciting series.

For much more information on the Lorien Legacies series, go to the I Am Number Four Fans website. Enjoy, and I’ll be back for my 2016 wrap-up in a couple of days.

Happy New Year!

The Fate of Ten

If you haven’t read the following books in the I Am Number Four series, stop reading this post. It will likely make zero sense if you’re not completely caught up.

Now, let’s turn our attention to The Fate of Ten

A few of my librarian colleagues are dismayed that I like this series and, even more, that I’ve stuck with it this long. What can I say? Once I got hooked on the first book (but not the horrible movie adaptation), it was all over. I simply had to know what happened next. I’ll admit that I’m kind of surprised that the series is still going nearly six years later, but, with this latest book, the end is at least in sight.

I read the bulk of The Fate of Ten last night. Even though I started the book about four weeks ago, I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to keep reading until yesterday. For some reason, I was in the mood for the literary equivalent of a Michael Bay film. I wanted action, conflict, destruction, and a bunch of kick-butt aliens. That’s exactly what I got.

The Fate of Ten picks up right where The Revenge of Seven left off. (It also includes a bunch of stuff from Rebel Allies, so it’s important to read those stories as well.) It is essentially a couple of huge battles, with the Garde working to make their way back to each other.

Some of the Garde we’ve come to know in previous books are fighting the Mogadorians outside the Loric Sanctuary in Mexico. Six, Marina, and Adam, a reformed Mog now helping the Garde, are wondering what power they’ve just freed and what impact it will have on the war with the Mogs. They’re also preparing for a showdown with the big bad villain himself, Setrákus Ra. What Setrákus Ra wants with the Sanctuary, they’re not sure, but they know they must do whatever they can to protect themselves and whatever’s inside. Reinforcements may be on the way, but will they get there in time…and will they be enough for the fight to come?

In New York, John and Sam are dealing with a full-scale Mogadorian invasion. They’re on the hunt for Five and Nine, but they don’t know where to begin. Surviving from minute to minute is a struggle, and they’re looking for Mogs with guns around every corner. On top of that, Sam is learning to use his brand-new Legacies, and it seems that he’s not the only one. John and Sam run into a girl who’s developing powers of her own. How is this possible? How many other humans now have Legacies, and what is their role in the war between the Mogs and the Loric Garde?

With all of this going on, there’s still the question of Ella (Ten) and what exactly the evil Setrákus Ra has planned for her. What is to be her fate in this war, and can this one girl do anything to turn the tide?

Is there any way for the Loric Garde to defeat Setrákus Ra and his Mogadorian army? What surprises are still in store for this battered–but still fighting–group of young people? And who will they lose in their quest to save the only home they have left?


If I say much more, I’m going to give too much away, so I’m going to try to wrap things up quickly.

Even with all of the surprises this book threw my way–or maybe because of them–I enjoyed The Fate of Ten. It kept my interest the whole way through, and it satisfied my need for a good “shoot-em-up” experience. I look forward to seeing how things are resolved in what should be the final novel, United As One.

United As One is set to be released on June 28th this year, so the wait is not too long. In the meantime, I know we’ve got at least a couple more Lost File novellas to get through. The Lost Files #13, Legacies Reborn, came out in November, and #14, Last Defense, was released on February 23rd. Both of these were published as ebooks. I’m not sure at this point if there will be another novella, but I’ll be on the lookout. If the series stays true to pattern, it’s probably necessary to read the novellas before picking up United As One.

If you’d like to learn even more about this series, go to the I Am Number Four Fans website. Also, take a peek at the official The Fate of Ten book trailer below. It touches on something that I just glanced over in this post. Enjoy!

 

Rocket and Groot: Stranded on Planet Strip Mall!

Marvel and Tom Angleberger, the author who brought us gems like Fake Mustache and the Origami Yoda series, have joined forces to create a new series that follows the adventures of my favorite Guardians of the Galaxy, Rocket and Groot. (For those unfamiliar with these characters, Rocket is basically a moody space raccoon, and Groot is a walking, talking tree who says just one phrase, “I am Groot.”) These new adventures are written for a young audience and are a great addition to the world of the Guardians. (Many younger readers may not be quite ready for some of the adult humor in the movies.)

The first book in a 3-book series, Rocket and Groot: Stranded on Planet Strip Mall!, comes out on March 8th, and will likely be a necessary purchase in many elementary and middle school libraries. In addition to focusing on two wildly popular comic book characters, the book is easy-to-read, entertaining, and a perfect fit for reluctant readers.

Let’s take a closer look…

After a bunch of space piranhas destroy their ship, Rocket and Groot, famed Guardians of the Galaxy, find themselves stranded on a strange planet. In an effort to find water, food, and some rich soil for Groot, the pair–accompanied by their totally awesome tape dispenser, Veronica–explore this planet that seems to be one huge strip mall.

It doesn’t take long for Rocket, Groot, and Veronica to realize that something is not quite right about this place. Is it the overly friendly robots working in each store? Is it the robots’ insistence that they use the toilet as soon as possible? Or is it the toilets that want to swallow them whole? Yeah…it’s mostly that last one.

The situation is growing desperate for our Guardians and their truly fabulous tape dispenser. Can they figure out what’s going on before they’re torn apart by robots or flushed for good? How can they possibly escape the horrible Planet Strip Mall? Find out when you read this exciting new book by Tom Angleberger!


Rocket and Groot: Stranded on Planet Strip Mall! is a super-fast read with illustrations throughout–most of them drawn by Rocket. (In the final version of the book, there are supposed to be some illustrations by Groot, but those were not included in the NetGalley copy I was fortunate enough to read.) The text in this book reads almost like a script, which will provide a very different, interesting experience for many readers.

I do think that some familiarity with Guardians of the Galaxy would be helpful before starting this book. Those who know at least a little about Rocket and Groot would at least know to expect a lot of snark from Rocket, and they would realize that the words “I am Groot” can have many, many meanings.

As for me, Rocket and Groot: Stranded on Planet Strip Mall! is going on my next book order, and I look forward to talking to many of my students about this entertaining read.

If you’d like to learn more about this book and others by Tom Angleberger, I urge you to check out his website.

Until next time, this is your friendly neighborhood Knight Reader signing out!

Rebel Allies

Turn back now if you haven’t read the following books in the I Am Number Four series:

I read I Am Number Four almost six years ago. If I had known that the series would still be going strong all these years later, would I still have picked up this book? Probably. Sometimes, I’m simply in the mood for some alien adventure, and this series definitely delivers.

This weekend, I devoted some time to reading the latest collection of novellas in the I Am Number Four (or Lorien Legacies) series. This collection, Rebel Allies, contains stories 10-12, and it really adds to the series as a whole.

The first story in this collection, The Fugitive, takes a closer look at a familiar character from this series, Mark James. You might remember Mark as the cocky football star–and Sarah’s ex-boyfriend–from the first book, but his life changed drastically when a bunch of shark-faced aliens (the Mogadorians) blew up his high school. Since then, Mark has been trying to figure out exactly what is going on with both the Mogs and the Loric Garde trying to defeat them.

Now, Sarah is missing, and Mark is determined to track her down. He’s sure that she’s either with Four and the Garde, or the Mogs have captured her. He’s not sure which, but he’ll do whatever it takes to find her…even if it means fighting evil aliens and the government agencies aiding them.

Mark, however, isn’t completely alone. A mysterious figure known only as GUARD provides assistance when Mark needs it the most. Who is this guy, and how does he know so much about Mark, the Loric, and the Mogs? Can GUARD be trusted? Well, Mark will soon find out…


The second two stories, The Navigator and The Guard, introduce a fairly new character in this series, the one known to Mark as GUARD. This person has played a part in both The Fugitive and some of the other stories in the series, but these two novellas delve a bit deeper.

Without giving too much away, I will say that GUARD is not a man as Mark assumed. She is a woman, and she is from Lorien. She was there when the Mogs attacked, and she managed to escape to Earth. Now, this brilliant hacker is doing whatever possible to protect her new home from suffering her planet’s fate.


If the series stays true to pattern, the stories of Rebel Allies lead directly into the next full-length novel, The Fate of Ten. This book was released in September, so I plan to dive right in as soon as I wrap up this post. I feel certain there will be one more novella collection* sometime this year, probably before the final book, United As One, comes out on June 28th.

*If you can’t wait for the print version of the next novellas, one of the stories is already out in ebook form, and another is coming next month. Story #13, Legacies Reborn, was released in November, and story #14, Last Defense, will be out on February 23rd. I don’t know yet if there will be a 15th story.

For much more information on this exciting series, go to the I Am Number Four Fans website. Enjoy!

The Revenge of Seven

Warning! Spoilers ahead! If you’re not totally caught up with the entire I Am Number Four (Lorien Legacies) series, you might want to go ahead and take care of that. And when I say “totally caught up,” I mean reading the four previous novels as well as all nine short stories. Here’s a reading list to get you started.

In my opinion, it is essential to read the novellas to fully understand what’s happening, particularly in The Fall of Five and The Revenge of Seven. These short stories add so much depth to the story, and they help readers really get to know the motivations that drive certain characters.

There are a few other journal entries and things that you may also want to take a look at. You can see a full list at Goodreads.com. (I plan to explore those as soon as I finish with this post.) For now, though, let’s dive into the fifth novel in the Lorien Legacies saga, The Revenge of Seven.

When last we left the remaining members of the Lorien Garde, things were looking rather bleak. An unexpected betrayal resulted in the death of one of their own. Now, the Garde is scattered and on the run. They don’t know who they can trust or how deep the Mogadorian threat has infiltrated the government, but they know they must fight, or Earth will surely fall to the Mogs.

Four, Sarah, Sam, Malcom, and Adam (a Mogadorian who sympathizes with the Loric cause) escape from the horror that befell them in Chicago and journey to the Mog stronghold in Washington, DC. Their aim is to hit the Mogs where it hurts…and hopefully learn a thing or two that will help them win this war.

Six, Seven (Marina), and Nine are in Florida, and they’ve just endured a shock to their systems. They witnessed the betrayal of Five–a betrayal that resulted in Eight’s death. They’re reeling from what has happened, but they must also prepare for the battle to come…a battle in which the Mog forces are seemingly unbeatable. In their quest to get a jump on the Mogs, however, they’ll receive help from an unlikely ally. This help gives them just enough time to flee the Mogs in Florida and join up with Four and company in their Washington stronghold.

In another turn of events, Ella (also known as Ten) has been captured by the vile Mog leader, Setrákus Ra, a sinister being who is more powerful than anyone she’s ever encountered. Setrákus Ra is bent on the domination of Earth…and he wants Ella by his side when it happens. Why? What’s so special about her? Why would Setrákus Ra want to ally himself with one of the Lorien Garde? Is there anything Ella can do to escape his clutches and warn the other members of the Garde of what is to come?

The Mogadorians are close to a full-scale invasion, and the Lorien Garde and their allies are the only beings capable of stopping them…even though the Garde is severely outnumbered. Is there any way for the Garde to claim victory, or is Setrákus Ra simply too powerful to stop?

The Loric and the Mogadorians are careening toward a war that will envelope the entire planet. Who will win? Who will lose? Well, that’s not entirely clear. One thing is certain, though…something has just been unleashed that could change everything.

_______________

If it’s not already clear, The Revenge of Seven is not the last book in this series. We’ve got one more novel to go (I think) and probably a few more novellas. Unlike The Fall of Five, though, I was at least a little prepared for the cliffhanger at the end of this book. No urges to fling the book across the room.

My mind is spinning from what happened at the end–and the implications for the next book–and I’m pretty sure that the final installment will be more action-packed than anything we’ve seen before. I doubt all of our heroes will survive until the end, but I foresee them doing a lot of damage to the hated Mogs before all is said and done.

A couple of my librarian friends actually judge me a bit for being so into this series, but I really don’t care. (I’ll never apologize for liking a book.) If you’re looking for a series with loads of action, adventure, intrigue, suspense, aliens, government conspiracies, and even a teensy bit of romance, I think you’ll enjoy the Lorien Legacies books as much as I do. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll probably be just as eager for the final installment as I am. (I just hope we get a somewhat happy ending. These kids have been through enough!)

There’s no word yet on the title or release date for the next book, but I would expect it to be out in late summer of next year. The next series of novellas will come out before then. The ebook version of novella #10, The Fugitive, will be out on December 23rd.

For much more information on this exciting series, go to the I Am Number Four Fans website. You may also want to check out the book trailer for The Revenge of Seven below.

*A word of advice from me: Avoid the movie adaptation of the first book. It doesn’t begin to compare to its source material.*

Hidden Enemy

Caution! It is absolutely necessary to read all of the I Am Number Four (aka Lorien Legacies) series if you plan to pick up Hidden Enemy, an anthology of novellas 7-9 in The Lost Files. Here’s a handy reading list for those new to the series:

Spoilers ahead! If you haven’t read through The Fall of Five, turn back now! (Also, I’m not going do much explanation of back story. If you’re not already familiar with the series, you’ll probably be lost.)

If you’ve read my post on The Fall of Five, you probably know I was a tad frustrated with how things ended. If you read the actual book, you likely share my frustration. Well, in Hidden Enemy, we get a little more information on what made Five the person he came to be.

The first story, Five’s Legacy, gives readers a look at Five’s early life. We see him with his ailing Cêpan (guardian/trainer), Rey, as they move from place to place in an effort to stay healthy and evade the Mogadorians. Five is not happy with his life of isolation, and he’s sure the other members of the Loric Garde are together and training without him. His legacies (special powers) haven’t manifested yet, and he’s getting a little tired of waiting. Finally, though, when things seem most hopeless, Five begins seeing evidence that his legacies have arrived. He’s telekinetic, and he can fly. Those powers will serve him well as he tries to make a new start. That new start will, unfortunately, deliver him right into the hands of those that Rey tried so hard to protect him from. Five is insecure and vulnerable, and certain people know just how to take advantage of that. They play on Five’s feelings of powerlessness and promise him a future that looks brighter than anything he could have imagined. The price? He’ll have to turn his back on his own people…

Return to Paradise, the second novella in this book, is told from the perspective of Mark James. You may remember him as the jock who made Four’s life miserable. He was also Sarah’s ex-boyfriend. Well, you may also remember that he had a rather huge change of heart during the battle at the end of I Am Number Four. This story picks up during the aftermath of that battle. Mark can’t really go back to how things were before. He knows too much now. How can he be expected to care about partying when evil aliens are bent on enslaving humans and destroying the planet? He knows more is going on than the public is aware of, and the only person who he can talk to is Sarah, a girl who is still maddeningly hung up on her alien boyfriend, the guy who dragged them into this mess. Mark also does some investigating of his own, and he discovers that the Mogadorian threat goes deeper than he realized. Can he, a mere human, do anything to stop this? And what will happen when Four returns to town and Sarah goes missing? Is there any way Mark can help Sarah and the Lorien cause?

Finally, in Five’s Betrayal, we return to Five’s story. He’s now in the “belly of the beast,” so to speak. He’s becoming more powerful by the day, and he’s earning the notice and respect of the very beings he was always taught to despise. Five is studying war tactics and Mogadorian history, and he knows that the Loric Garde have no chance to best their enemies. His solution? Join the enemy and gain more power than he ever thought possible. The Mogadorians have given Five more attention and freedom than he ever enjoyed as one of the precious Garde, so he’s willing to do whatever it takes to stay in their good graces. Even if that means sacrificing the only friend he has left in the world…

_______________

The highlights of this anthology were, obviously, the first and last novellas. They shed some light on the character of Five and let readers know why he made the decisions he did. I still don’t like Five, though. I think he’s a self-indulgent cry baby. (Maybe I’m being too harsh.) He allowed others to prey on his weakness, and he lost all ability to think for himself. He fell victim to Mogadorian propaganda and didn’t question the line of bull he was being fed. It was all I could do not to scream at him the entire time I was reading his story. (I may be reacting so strongly to this because I read the book during election season. It’s way too easy to see the parallels.)

At any rate, I’m now more than ready to dive into the next full-length novel in this series, The Revenge of Seven. It’s sitting on my coffee table right now, just waiting on me to pick it up. After I finish one more read-in-progress, I’ll journey once more into the fight between the Loriens and the Mogadorians. From what I’ve heard, there will be just one more book after this one, so I’m sure The Revenge of Seven will illicit the same response that The Fall of Five did. I’ll likely want to hurl it across the room at the end. I’ll let you know how it goes.

The 5th Wave

Every once in a while, I come across a book that absolutely blows my mind. Some of my favorites are: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, American Gods, Watchmen, the Harry Potter series, The Hunger Games, anything by Cassandra Clare, and a few others. Now, I can add another book to the list–The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey. I read one of Mr. Yancey’s other books, The Monstrumologist, a few years ago, so I had an inkling that I was in for quite the roller coaster. That’s an understatement. At times, The 5th Wave was absolutely excruciating to read (in a good way). It was disturbing, exciting, anxiety-inducing, and a fine example of what really good science fiction should be. Yes, the book is about an alien invasion, but, in my most humble opinion, it also forces the reader to examine his/her own humanity.

No one knew what to expect when the Others arrived. It soon became clear what they could expect–the worst.

The first wave knocked out power. The second wave brought massive tsunamis and eliminated all coastal cities. The third wave delivered disease that would wipe out most of who remained. The fourth wave silenced many of the survivors. What will the fifth wave bring?

That’s a question that plagues Cassie, a young girl who has become a warrior to survive. Just a short time ago, her only worries were getting her crush, Ben Parish, to notice her, and getting decent grades. Now, though, she’s lost nearly everything thanks to the Others…aliens who are systematically destroying her home. She doesn’t know why they’ve come–and, at first, she doesn’t really care–but she does know that she must do everything in her power to find the one person she has left. Her little brother, Sammy. But even Cassie isn’t prepared for what–or who–she’ll have to face to get back to her brother. She’ll discover just what she’s willing to do–and who she’s willing to trust–to get back to what really matters to her.

Cassie isn’t the only one asking questions about what the aliens are really after and what they have planned next. A boy nicknamed Zombie is being trained as an alien-killing soldier. He’s not the only one. Kids all over are being gathered and trained to think about nothing but killing. But why? Why kids? When Zombie, who was once a carefree kid with everything going for him, begins to question what’s going on around him, he’ll arrive at some upsetting and game-changing conclusions. It seems that the fifth wave has already begun. Is there any way to stop it…or have the Others already taken too much from humanity for any hope of its survival?

If you’re paranoid like me, The 5th Wave will make you extremely uncomfortable (like all the best books do). This disquieting story, in my opinion, is a much more realistic alien invasion tale than many of the others I’ve read. All that “We Come in Peace” crap is stupid. If aliens really came to Earth, do you really think they’d be friendly or diplomatic? Would we? I don’t think so.

Though The 5th Wave is being marketed as a young adult novel, I actually think the wider appeal will be to adults who have grown up with stories like Invasion of the Body Snatchers,  AlienIndependence DayDistrict 9Terminator, and other tales of alien invasions that aren’t even close to the loving E.T.-type stories that give us the warm fuzzies. The 5th Wave is not a happy book, and, since it is the first book in a planned trilogy, even the ending doesn’t really provide a ton of closure…but this book is an amazing work of science fiction and should be experienced by any fans of the genre.

For those that want to know more about this exhilarating book, check out the official website at http://the5thwaveiscoming.com/. The site contains loads of information on the book, including the official Facebook and Twitter pages and several book trailers that totally capture just how intense this book really is. (I’ve embedded one of them below.) If you decide to experience The 5th Wave, I hope you enjoy the ride as much as I did.

I Am Number Four

I really don’t know where to start when it comes to my latest read, I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore.  This book absolutely blew me away.  I haven’t felt like this about a book since I first read The Hunger Games.  It’s that good.  It is an awesome example of what science fiction for young adults (and even older adults) should be.  You know the book is phenomenal when the movie adaptation is in post-production before the book is even released.  (The movie comes out in February of 2011, and I can’t wait to see it!  I just hope it lives up to this wonderful book.)

In I Am Number Four, readers are introduced to a group of aliens from the planet Lorien.  Just before their planet was destroyed, a group of children and their guardians left Lorien.  Their plan was to grow, train, and prepare for the day they could fight those that destroyed their home, the evil Mogadorians, and reclaim and begin to rebuild Lorien.  These children had special gifts, or legacies, that would develop in time, and their guardians’ objectives were to train the children and keep them hidden from the Mogadorians.  There were nine children in the beginning.  Number One was killed in Malaysia.  Number Two was killed in England.  Number Three was killed in Kenya.  Number Four is next.

Number Four, or John, as he is now called, and his guardian, Henri, are on the move again.  They know that the Mogadorians are looking for them.  Their next stop is Paradise, Ohio.  It is here that John begins to develop his legacies.  It is also here that John makes a friend, has a girlfriend, and finally feels like he belongs.  Unfortunately, John is not as hidden as he had hoped.  The Mogadorians are on his trail, and he has to decide if he’s going to run again or if he’s going to stand up to the evil that destroyed his people and is trying to destroy him still.  What would you do?  Would you run and hide or stand and fight?  Find out the fate of Number Four when you read Pittacus Lore’s I Am Number Four.

I am fully aware that I have not done justice to this wonderful book in this post.  I don’t think there even are adequate words to describe it.  Just read it, and judge for yourselves.  I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

For more information on I Am Number Four, the Lorien Legacies, and the mysterious Pittacus Lore (the book’s author, who is apparently Lorien’s ruling elder and is just biding his time here on Earth), visit http://iamnumberfourfans.com/.  This is one of my new favorite websites.