As both a bestselling author and the father of an eleven-year-old son, James Patterson believes that the best way to get people excited about reading is to give them books they'll love. To help create a lifelong appreciation for books in kids everywhere, James Patterson has recently added young adult series to his repertoire, including, as many of you know, Daniel X. The first book in the series, The Dangerous Days of Daniel X, told the story of a teen with secret powers who hunts aliens and protects the Earth.
Now, Patterson introduces his second novel in the series, Daniel X: Watch the Skies. In this story, an evil outer-space outlaw named Number Five comes to a small town on Earth intending to produce an intergalactic version of "Survivor," with a twist: every human in the town will be eliminated. Daniel finds himself on a quest to stop Number Five and his alien crew, not just to save the world, but to save himself.
As you may remember from my review last year, the first Daniel X book didn't impress me a lot (in fact, not at all). To quote myself, I'd found it quite "over-the-top". This book is even more "over-the-top" than the first one, but amazingly enough I wasn't turned off by it. Perhaps because this book is quite fun in its Hollywood-style plotting and cgi-inspired quicksilver actions sequences.
As a reader I was held engrossed as Daniel gets his heinie kicked again and again in a battle of electronic wits with Number 5 who gives new definition to the term "reality tv". The absurd atrocities Number 5 commits are so hilarious as to keep me engaged even as Daniel struggles to keep up with him (or should I say "it", as Number 5 is sort of a catfish/electric eel like creature). It's also refreshing to see Daniel exhibiting some normal teenage behavior like getting a crush on a girl his age, instead of forever going about with an imaginary girlfriend. At once Robin Hood and Dennis the Menace, Daniel's yearning for a normal life comes through loud and clear as he time and again conjures up his family and friends out of his very imagination (just one of the cool powers he has). The part where his imaginary Mom comes up with unbelievable sounding but true excuses for Daniel being unable to attend school had me laughing out loud!
Despite the ridiculously short chapters (a James Patterson trademark I love to hate) and a predictable storyline, this 288 page book is entertaining and I'm saying this not just from the perspective of the destined audience. The underlying, often self-deprecating humor comes across refreshingly as do many other noble concepts such as friendship, importance of family and studying, taking care of pets etc.
In short, despite a dismal beginning, this series is now truly taking off and I really look forward to reading how Daniel X goes about crossing off the other villains in his list.
* This book was received for review via Mom Central. *
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