Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Review - The Dangerous Days of Daniel X

The Dangerous Days of Daniel X
Author: James Patterson, Michael Ledwidge
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

The greatest superpower of all isn’t to be part spider, part man, or to cast magic spells–the greatest power is the power to create.

Daniel X has that power.

Daniel’s secret abilities — like being able to manipulate objects and animals with his mind or to recreate himself in any shape he chooses — have helped him survive. But Daniel doesn’t have a normal life. He is the protector of the earth, the Alien Hunter, with a mission beyond what anyone’s imagining.

From the day that his parents were brutally murdered before of his very eyes, Daniel has used his unique gifts to hunt down their assassin. Finally, with the help of The List, bequeathed to him in his parents’ dying breath, he is closing in on the killer. Now, on his own, he vows to take on his father’s mission – and to take vengeance in the process.


While reading this book, I couldn't help but be reminded of two other famous series: X-Men and Harry Potter (with a bit of Men in Black thrown in action-wise). Like them, Daniel too has supernatural powers. There's even a similarity in the names, if you notice. And like Harry Potter, Daniel too is an orphan and he's on a quest to destroy his parents' killer. But that's where the similarity ends.

Aimed at younger readers, this book is a quick read, with fast-paced action, some light romance and fantastical elements mixed in. Although Daniel is a 15 year old teen, his thoughts and actions often read like that of someone much younger. Perhaps this could be attributed to him growing up without any adult guidance (which in itself is cause for disbelief). But the end result is that the book may impress a younger audience rather than today's teens who're used to more maturity and depth in their books.

Patterson is an author I've long liked, despite the fact that I've noticed a deterioration in his writing recently. I had heard a lot about this book and the hype had me expecting something quite wonderful. I was disappointed, to tell the truth. Very frequently while reading this book, I was forced to remind myself that this book was not written for adults and this in turn had me thinking that I had never felt this way while reading Harry Potter. As is typical of Patterson's novels, the chapters are absurdly small. But it doesn't glaringly distract in this 272 page YA book as it often does in his longer novels. Still, the over-the-top plotting, the theatrical shenanigans and the general air of immature gleefulness without depth or substance to balance it out does not make me recommend this book to any but a reading audience of 8 to 11 year olds. In turn, this reading audience may fail to grasp some of the references and terms used in the course of this novel that are directed towards a more mature reader.

In Short

The book is the first in a series and younger readers will probably look forward to reading more Daniel's action-oriented and fantasy-filled hijinks. Unlike Harry Potter, adults (and teens) are sure to find this book a fluffy read that's too simplistic at times for any lasting enjoyment.

This book was received for review via Mother Talk (now part of Mom Central).

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  1. Glad to know I'm not the only one who's witnessed a decline in Patterson's writing. I skipped this one. Have you read Sail? That was his best as of late, in my opinion.

    --Anna (Diary of an Eccentric)

  2. No, I haven't yet. What's different about this one?

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