By: Cynthia Ayala
In Return To Paradise Pittacus Lore goes back to reinvent a character from I am Number Four, the first book in the saga. What he does is give the character a depth that was not seen in the first book and presents readers with a new suspenseful tell in the I am Number Four series.
Author: Pittacus Lore
Published: April 15, 2014
Series: Lorien Legacies: The Lost Files
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Coming-of-Age
Mark used to be the all-star quarterback before the Mogadorians attacked. Before his ex-girlfriend decided to begin a relationship with a Loric alien, before his school was destroyed in an alien fight. Now, that’s all over. Sara is the only person who knows the same truths that he does, but even he doesn’t tell her all the digging he’s doing. Mark is preparing for the war…but first he has to survive.
Return to Paradise, written by Pittacus Lore, is the eight eBook in Lorien Legacies: The Lost Files, the companion series to the Lorien Legacies. Published in April 15, 2014 by HarperCollins, the novella combines science fiction and the coming-of-age genres into the young adult genres.
This novel takes a step and goes back to the events before Sara was kidnapped, taken by the FBI but follows Mark, a character from the first novel in the Lorien Legacies I Am Number Four, who was, like Sarah and Sam, thrown into this unseen war with the Mogadorians and the Loriens. That makes the story itself incredibly interesting because it takes on the focal point and takes the time to go back and evaluate old characters and the circumstances after the initial novel. This gives readers answers as to what happened with Sarah, how she became kidnapped, how she and Mark were able to cope with the events of the past. It also takes a focus on a character that has been forgotten for the most part.
Lore takes the time and the effort to not only explore the past but also takes the time to develop Mark who is the main protagonist in the novella. Readers can actually see how much he has changed since the last appearance. He’s just a scared kid who wants answers, a kid who wants to help the human race survive and help the Loriens win the battle and protect his ex-girlfriend. The thought behind his characterization is incredibly evident as readers see the character go from being the jock to the science fiction nerd who is being trailed by the FBI and CIA. Those scenes, when he interacts with the law highlight both his strength and his fear not for his life, but for those around him.
The journey this character takes and the story as a whole adds a lot to the Lorien Legacies realm. While the aliens are here, they are the back-story to the characterization. Return to Paradise is more about reintroducing readers to a forgotten character while at the same time reintroducing him into the series. It’s more down to earth (forgive the pun) than the rest of the novels and a bit more realistic as it follows one kids search for the truth amidst all the lies and secrecy around him.
Overall, this very good read gives readers a breath of fresh air as it focuses on the humans rather than the aliens. ★★★☆☆ (B-)