Some Thoughts on The Lorien Legacies

Last month I started one of my summer TBR projects, namely finishing the Lorien Legacies series by Pittacus Lore that I started a few years ago. I had already read the first four in the series as they came out but decided that I wanted to reread these and then move onto the rest. A few weeks later I have finished the series and am really glad that I decided I wanted to do this. I have really enjoyed reading the series both in terms of plot and character but, additionally, I have enjoyed the experience of reading a whole series back to back; something I am pretty sure I have not done before! A few thoughts on all of that in a moment but first a short summary of the series:

  • It follows members of an alien race from a planet called Lorien
  • These aliens are part of a group called the Garde who were sent to Earth from Lorien when it was attacked by another alien race called Mogadorians
  • The Garde have powers (including invisibility and healing) called Legacies
  • As the series progressess they go from trying to protect themselves to trying to protect Earth from the Mogodorians and their leader Setrakus Ra

Of course there is a lot more to the series than this and I feel like I am not even doing the parts I have described justice, but it is a very interesting and exciting series with a lot of interesting developments and surprises!

So, I would definitely categorise this series as sci-fi which is interesting because sci-fi is not a genre I have ever been particularly interested in. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate it and I like to think I will always give a book a go no matter the genre, sci-fi is just not one I am naturally drawn to. Despite this fact, I really enjoyed this series and I think there are two main reasons for this.

Firstly, the books build up gradually to the more sci-fi elements. Take, for example, the first novel in the series. We know from the beginning that the narrator is an alien being hunted by other aliens and he is experiencing gaining powers for the first time. But, in addition to that, he is dealing with the issues of normal teenagers such as living in a small town, fitting in at school and first love which does make it relatable. It is not until the fifth novel in the series that we get a glimpse of space and even then it is only momentary before we return to Earth. I was pleased with this development because I’m not sure I would have been as invested had the action shifted to another planet. Setting it on Earth made the stakes higher and made it seem more real and thus more exciting!

Secondly, I find the series to be very character driven. The narration of the novels actually demonstrates this quite well. The first novel in the series I Am Number Four is narrated entirely by the titular number four or John Smith as he is known. Then, in the second novel, narration is split between John and another member of the Garde, Marina. The following books contain narration from other characters too including John’s human best friend, Sam, and Six, another member of the Garde. This type of first person narration really gives an insight into lots of characters’ thoughts, feelings and motives and makes it easy for you to root for all of the protagonists.

In this vein, I would also say that I don’t think I have read a series where I genuinally liked so many of the characters! My favourite character was continuously changing from Sam to Nine (another one of the Garde) to Adam (a sympathetic Mogadorian) although ultimately I think my favourite character has to be Marina!

As well as helping you get to know the characters better, the switching narration also genuinally made the books unputdownable. Narration normally switches between chapters and excitingly (although sometimes infuriatingly!) most of these chapters end on mini cliff hangers. Of course, this could be annoying if you had to read through a boring chapter just to get to something interesting (I had this problem reading Game of Thrones) except I found all of the different character perspectives and situations they were in interesting, so it was actually a really enjoyable experience!

Of course I didn’t enjoy everything (across seven books I think that would be a minor miracle!). First, I was a bit disappointed with the character of Mark. In the first novel Mark is a stereotypical jock bully seen in many YA novels. Despite this, in subsequent novels he has a really cool character ark where he becomes a really interesting character and, based on this, without giving away any spoilers, I was really disappointed with how his story ended.

Secondly, I found the main couple in the series, John and Sarah, quite infuriating. I love them as individual characters but just felt that, for me personally, I was being told a lot why they were such a great couple but didn’t quite get it myself. Also (as I touched on in my June roundup) relationships got a bit complicated for a while. Take, for example a line from the second novel, The Power of Six where Six says:

‘You like me and Sarah. I like you and Sam.’

This is the kind of drama I am really not interested in. Luckily it sorted itself out pretty quickly so I was able to get back to enjoying the story.

Lastly, without spoiling any surprises, I was really upset about a particular character death. This, though, is not something I dislike about the series as it is actually quite refreshing to have such real stakes in this type of series, where there is the very real possibility of central characters dying and staying dead (which bizzarly has become quite a big issue in entertainment today!).

In terms of reading the majority of the books back to back, it was a really cool experience that left me hugely invested in the series (when I finished the last one I wasn’t massively sure what to do with myself to be honest!). On the topic of the last novel, I will just mention that I was very pleased with it. I love book endings anyway (especially last sentences) and I was very happy that the Lorien Legacies had a great ending after seven books worth of investment.

So there we have it, The Lorien Legacies done and dusted and all I will say now is that I thoroughly enjoyed them!

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