After the huge battle at Dulce, the five remaining Garde plus Ella take time for some R&R in Chicago. They luxuriate and train hard in the John Hancock Building’s penthouse suite, where Number Nine grew up. The six Lorien natives are accompanied by BK, the chimera who usually looks like a beagle, and Sarah – Four’s (John) human sweetie from Paradise; now forgiven for having tattled on him under coercion by Setrakus Ra. Soon, the seven are joined by John and Sarah’s friend from Paradise, Sam Goode, and his father Malcolm, who was rescued from Dulce by the “good Mogadorian” Adam.
It’s been many months since a new symbol appeared on their ankles, so the Garde – now having outlived all the adult Cêpans who came to Earth with them – begin hunting for the last of their number, the missing Five. The tracker in John’s chest shows that Five in on the move at the same time that news reports tell of a mysterious shape burned into a cornfield. The Garde recognize the symbol as a Lorien numeral five. Apparently, the missing Garde is looking for them, as well – so they go out to get him.
All of them are still teenagers, so they act their age, right down to the teenage crushes (Sam on Six, Marina on Eight, John and Sarah) and the teenage attitude. Nine’s a bit of a bully, and their newfound comrade Five presents as a sullen passive-aggressive. The clashing temperaments form a distraction… until the morning that Ella fails to awaken from one of her nightmares and sucks one the others down with her. Apparently, someone’s about to die.
The Fall of Five is the fourth novella in the Lorien Legacies series written by “Pittacus Lore” (a nom de plume for a writing team comprising James Frey and Jobie Hughes). The saga opened with I am Number Four, which then became a feature film. There are also many other short, chapters making up the “Lost Files” series, all of which fill in details and whet their fans’ appetites for more stories of the teenage alien heroes.
This time, the action (and there’s plenty of it) is narrated partially by Marina (never called “Seven” for some unknown reason), partially by Four, and the rest by Sam. The voices are pretty much identical, and there aren’t any written clues so each shift in viewpoint requires that the reader figure out which one is speaking. That’s about the only downside in what’s otherwise a pretty sweet bit of SciFi candy for teenagers.
The kind of parents who don’t mind their children reading about constant violence will be glad to know that none of the couples progresses beyond hugs and kisses. Even John and Sarah remain chaste even though they share a room. No one ever swears, either. Then again, (almost) everyone killed is Mogadorian, and their deaths don’t count.
With these series rules - neither nor swearing, beaucoup dead bad guys - this series is unlikely to run afoul of the YA parental censorship crew, though one never knows from wannabe censors. IMO, it’s rather violent for younger adolescents and I don’t recommend it for the thirteen and under crowd. For everyone else, I give The Fall of Five a 4-star thumbs-up – always assuming the readers don’t mind the classic cliff-hanger at the bottom of the last page. But then, who doesn’t like a good cliff-hanger?