Friday, October 26, 2012

Young Adult: The Rise of Nine by Pittacus Lore

It seems ironic that the author who suffered a scandal for weaving too much fiction into his memoir should come back as part of a writing team that claims no earthly connection. Some would say there is room for scandal at the heart of Full Fathom Five, the writer’s factory Frey set up to create new projects. We won’t go into that here, as it’s been well covered in the press and may, in any case, be old news. The new news is the master creation: under the pseudonym of Pittacus Lore, Frey and other of his factory writers recreated themselves as the author of the bestselling Lorien Legacies. The author’s bio looks like this:
Pittacus Lore is Lorien’s ruling Elder. He had been on Earth preparing for the war that will decide Earth’s fate. His whereabouts are unknown.
Which, of course, does not even play at truth, or even reality, but rather enhances the story that Frey and company have come to tell. Fair ball? I’m not really sure, but if the wildfire sales that have driven this series for the past few years are any evidence, Frey is onto something here. After all, everyone knows: kids dig pretend.

The Rise of the Nine (HarperCollins) is the third book in what is being forecast as a six book series. Readers who have been following the exploits of Number Four are in for a shock about Sarah and will get to finally uncover the identity of Number Eight.

Science fiction at its finest is spirit lifting and mind-expanding. This isn’t that. The Rise of Nine is both compelling and contrived: an odd combination that apparently works for a large number of readers. In fact, over 1.25 million readers have tuned into this exciting series already, a number no doubt fueled by the 2011 Michael Bay film based on the first book, I Am Number Four. While the film made bags of money, the critics heaped it with vitriol and the books are somewhat like that: forgettable, overwrought space schmaltz that, nonetheless, have a huge following.

If you take all of that as read, we’ll be hearing a lot more from Pittacus Lore as time moves on. ◊

Linda L. Richards is the editor of January Magazine and the author of several books.

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