Book Review: The Revenge of Seven

The Revenge of Seven is one of the four books I got at the YA Book Swap at the Melbourne Writers Festival on Sunday. The Lorien Legacies, by the pseudonymous author Pittacus Lore (who is not as much a character in the series as Lemony Snickett), is a series that is entertaining even if it isn’t necessarily well written. It’s not quite Zoo (I’ve become a really strong advocate for that show), but the dialogue is terrible, the characters are barely characters, and it prioritises plot. I bought the first book in the series, I am Number Four on my Kindle, and The Power of Six not long after. They’re page turners in the vein of Dan Brown but for Young Adults, and they have a place in the world. The problem with these books is that they’re good for a reading marathon, but I don’t really care about them when I’m not reading them. The third and fourth books continued the plot of getting the remaining Legacies together, which became a slight drag, but The Revenge of Seven finally moves the story along.

When I was describing the plot of I am Number Four to my ex-boyfriend about four years ago, he said “Oh, so it’s like Superman.” I am not well versed in the Superman canon, so maybe! Basically there are aliens with superpowers, and their planet was all but wiped out by another alien race called the Mogadorians. Nine of the Garde (not everyone on Lorien is born with superpowers) manage to escape to Earth, and hide in plain sight. The Mogadorians hunt them down, but there was a special charm that meant they could only be killed in a specific order. The first book begins when Number Three is killed, and is told from the perspective of Number Four, pseudonym John Smith, as he and his guardian Henri move from Florida to Ohio, knowing that they’ll be the next ones to die. Over the course of the series, the remaining Garde all meet up, just as the Mogadorian Emperor lands on Earth.

I took way too long a break (I was supposed to publish this yesterday) writing this, and now I have no idea what I was going to say doesn’t really work about the show. One of those things is the romance. These kids are sixteen or seventeen at most. Sure, they may think they’re in love, but the way it’s written doesn’t really make me believe that. Romance is a really tricky thing to write for young adults: I don’t think it’s written particularly well in the Percy Jackson books, either. I think Rainbow Rowell and John Green are some of the better Young Adult authors writing romance right now, but then again I don’t really read that much romance in the first place. In this particular series, it felt like the romance was overtaking the plot, which seemed to be really stretched out. I felt like the third and fourth books could have just been one. Furthermore, the characters don’t have enough depth to make me care whether or not they’re all going to live happily ever after. Sarah doesn’t have a personality outside of being John’s pretty girlfriend. Why is he in love with her, is it because she’s pretty? I have no idea. The Garde and Sam at least have hints of personality, but as the number of characters grew (and we knew they must), there was less time for character development. In cases like this, just focus on the plot and forget about the romance because there wasn’t any character development to begin with.

The sixth book in The Lorien Legacies is going to be released next week, and I’m looking forward to it (although it’s coming out the same day as the next Throne of Glass book, so I know what I’m reading first). Now that the plot is moving further along (Earth has finally been invaded!) and we can see an endpoint (Earth is going to become the new Lorien, and Sam has powers), I’m much more interested in this series than I was two years ago. I’m not sure whether or not we really need another two books in the series – I think one would probably be enough, but at least I’m looking forward to reading them again.

Other thoughts:

  • I think that this book was better because it was told from the perspectives of John, Six and Ella. These are the characters who have been around since the beginning of the series and have had the most development. It also helped that we weren’t getting the same events from different characters’ points of view.

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