THE DANGEROUS DAYS OF DANIEL X
By James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge
Published by Grand Central Publishing
Copyright © 2009 (Mass Market Paperback)
DANIEL X: WATCH THE SKIES
By James Patterson & Ned Rust
Published by Little, Brown and Company
Copyright © 2009
Let me start by saying that I am not a James Patterson fan per se. The Dangerous Days of Daniel X is the first book I have ever read by him actually. And while it wasn’t the best book I have read recently, it was enjoyable. I liked the premise. It’s about an Alien Hunter named Daniel (an alien himself) who is on a mission to kill the rogue alien who killed his parents (also alien hunters). This particular alien is #1 on the alien most wanted list. To work himself up to that Daniel takes on aliens further down the list. While there were things about the book I didn’t like, overall I liked the story and was very eager to read the second installment.
That being said, while I still like the premise of the novels there are still things about it that I just don’t like, and those problems seem to be amplified in “Watch the Skies”.
First I have to say I like comic books, and this novel reads like it should be a comic book but there are no pictures. In comic books you will rarely see a hero with limitless powers; if you do they will have an Achilles Heel, some “Kryptonite” so to speak. Daniel seems to have no kryptonite. He has the ability to do or create anything using his imagination. His only limitation then is how much he knows. In the first book of the series Daniel would get the snot kicked out of him, even with all his powers, because he was easily distracted or his enemy got the drop on him. In the second book however he does not get quite so distracted. Though aliens #5 and #21 are very powerful, they author never brings us to a point where we feel like the hero is up against insurmountable odds. With limitless power the bad guy bar has to be set really high, and it just isn’t done in this book.
Second, the narrative of this story comes from Daniel. So, it is written from the viewpoint of a 17 year old boy. James Patterson, who is nowhere near 17 anymore, tries to write Daniel and the things he says in a way that’s current and cool. Don’t get me wrong some old people are cool, and they are that without trying. But do you know how it sounds when an old person tries to sound cool and in the know, but can’t really pull it off because he is trying? The cool in this book seems way too forced to me, and it just makes reading it kind of awkward.
I still enjoyed the story, but I had to force myself to ignore a lot of things to get to that point. All in all it isn’t the worst book I’ve ever read and probably would recommend it for young adults in grades 7-9.