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I Am Number Four Summary
SuperSummary, a modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, offers high-quality study guides that feature detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, quotes, and essay topics. This one-page guide includes a plot summary and brief analysis of I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore.
I Am Number Four (2010) is the first of seven novels in Pittacus Lore’s young adult science fiction Lorien Legacies series. The story is about the conflict between two alien species at war with one another. Nine Loric children are sent into hiding on Earth with the hopes that they will train and return to defeat the evil Mogadorians. Three of the nine are murdered with their guardians. The novel follows Number Four as he fights to survive being the next target on the list. I Am Number Four appeared on the New York Times Bestseller List for 26 weeks, and Dreamworks released a film adaptation in 2011, starring Alex Pettyfer as John and Timothy Olyphant as Henri.
The novel begins as Number Three is murdered by a Mogadorian assassin. Fifteen-year-old Number Four, calling himself John Smith, is alerted to the death of another of his fellow Numbers by the appearance of a third charmed tattoo on his ankle. The Mogadorians hunt them in chronological order, so John knows he is next on the list. He and his guardian Henri immediately move from south Florida to Paradise, Ohio. On his very first day of his new school, he makes an enemy of Mark, the local bully who steals his phone. Making matters worse, John’s first superpower, called a “Legacy,” turns on for the first time. The Legacy is Lumen, which means he will be heat-and fire-proof.
Now that John is coming into his powers, Henri helps John open the chest that contains his inheritance and explains the cause of the war between the Loric and the Mogadorians. The Loric once polluted their planet until it started dying. They decided to change their ways to save their world, and over time the damage was reversed. However, when the Mogadorians were in the same position, their response was not to save their planet but to take over Lorien, which is the nearest habitable planet to theirs. The Loric fought back but were massacred. They developed a plan for survival: send pairs of Loric into hiding on Earth in hopes that they will be able to return someday to save their world. There are two types of Loric: the bureaucratic Cêpan (Keepers) who rule the planet and teach the Garde (Guardians). The Garde have superpowers and are charged with the planet’s defense. John is one such Guardian and Henri is his Keeper. The plot thickens when John learns that Earth, as the next closest planet and five times the size of Mogadore, is next on the list for conquest.
At school, John is befriended by Sam and Sarah, a boy who believes in alien abductions and the beautiful ex-girlfriend of John’s tormentor, Mark. John also adopts a strange dog he names “Bernie Kosar,” and begins remembering and learning more about his people, including his family. At the Halloween parade, Sam mentions that he’d read about aliens called Mogadorians and their plans for taking over Earth in a magazine. John and Henri are alarmed and decide to start paying attention to conspiracy theory magazines just in case. Afterward, during the haunted hayride, Mark and his friends ambush John in the woods with the intention of beating him up. Instead, John wins the fight and warns Mark to behave. Unfortunately, Sam saw what happened in the woods and thinks John is an alien. He also believes that his father was abducted by aliens.
Henri finds out where the conspiracy mag is published and goes to learn more. Meanwhile, John’s next Legacy activates. Henri isn’t answering his phone, and John has a bad feeling, so he and Sam follow Henri to Athens, Ohio. They discover that Henri has been kidnapped by conspiracy theorists who believe Henri and John are Mogadorians in disguise. When John rescues Henri, Sam sees John use his new telekinesis and now knows beyond all doubt that John and Henri are aliens. They talk to the magazine publisher about the Mogadorians, and John finds sticky notes about what might be other Numbers and their locations. Henri wants to leave Paradise because it is no longer safe, but John refuses.
The winter months are quiet as John trains with his new powers. In the spring, he attends a party at Mark’s, and a fire breaks out. Sarah is trapped inside the house with the dogs she went to save, but John uses his fire-resistance Legacy to rescue her and the dogs. He tells Sarah his secret, and later lies to Henri about what he told her. The lie does not last for long. Someone faxes the “true” story to John’s school and includes the question: “Are you Number Four?” What’s worse, there is a YouTube video of the entire thing and now the Mogadorians know where to find him.
Number Six appears just in time to save John, Henri, Sarah, and Mark from the Mogadorians besieging the school. Unfortunately, now that Numbers Four and Six are together, the Numbers’ protective charm breaks. Mogadorians can now kill them in any order. They manage to hide Sarah and Mark, and then Number Six, John, and Henri face the assembled Mogadorians and their beasts. Number Six is shot and stabbed. Bernie Kosar, the strange dog, turns out to be John’s shapeshifting childhood pet. The creature is grievously injured fighting the Mogadorian beasts. Henri dies in the final confrontation, after telling John about an important letter and telling him to band together with Six and the others. Everyone else survives, and John, Six, and Bernie Kosar leave Paradise to find the other Numbers who are scattered across the world.