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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Book Review: The Dangerous Days of Daniel X

In James Patterson’s The Dangerous Days of Daniel X, fifteen-year-old Daniel is earth’s resident alien hunter and an alien immigrant himself. After his parents are murdered, Daniel is left on his own to defend the planet from its evil galactic foes.

This action-adventure book is aimed at boys aged around ten to twelve, and Patterson wrote it in an effort to get youngsters like his son reading more.

It adequately accomplishes the objective. My son, who is twelve, says and I quote “I like it. It’s very twelve-year-old boyish. There’s guns and explosions and aliens." Would he recommend it to a friend? “Probably.”

For him this is a glowing recommendation. He’s only ever been fanatical about one book series, (Rick Riordan’s Olympians books), so though his praise may sound lukewarm, it’s not a bad review.

My fifteen-year-old daughter started reading it when she ran out of books one day, but had the same complaint I did. All the characters sound like twelve-year-old boys, including the evil aliens who want to take over Earth. In fact Daniel at three (though he’s advanced for a toddler) sounds a lot like Daniel at fifteen. I thought the villains were clichés, but it didn’t seem to bother my son. I wasn’t the target audience, so I kept that in mind.

There’s plenty of gross out factor for the boys, including a trip through an alien’s ear canal and lots of generally slimy descriptions of off-world foes. Daniel also has some amazing powers that would be the envy of any kid.
The novel does an okay job, but I’m hoping the series improves a bit as it goes a long. I think Patterson’s Maximum Ride Series is edgier and does a better job sounding realistic. The bad guys are much scarier in those books because they seem real.

I love that they have a book trailer for the novel. Sometimes it's a hard campaign to get my son reading and the trailer could be a way for me to entice him into trying a book. Unfortunately my son said this video doesn't really do anything for him. He would have preferred they use the opening scene of the novel were Daniel's parents are killed. The pink elephant in this one put him off.

Boys nine to eleven would probably appreciate The Dangerous Days of Daniel X the most. Overall I’d give it a thumbs sideways. It’s not classic young adult literature, but it’s not bad brain candy for young boys looking for a light read.

This review is sponsored by MotherTalk.com.

2 comments:

roller coaster teacher said...

Good review! Thanks, as I probably would not read it myself...

Tricia Grissom said...

Yep. It's best suited for kiddos. I'm sure a lot of young boys will like it and it's an easy read.