Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Dangerous Days of Daniel X

The Dangerous Days of Daniel X, by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
$13.59 in the Hansisgreat Gift Shop
ISBN: 0316002925
Earth has been infiltrated by aliens on a mission of conquest in this exciting new adventure novel.
Daniel's parents were killed when he was very young, and he's spent his life on the run. Our story begins when he's fifteen years old. He has some mysterious powers: the ability to create anything he can imagine with his mind. Unfortunately, the aliens who killed his parents are in hot pursuit, determined to destroy the earth and enslave humanity.
For a while, he tries to blend in with normal society. He enrolls himself in high school, and develops a crush on a girl named Phoebe who is not quite all that she seems. With creatures from beyond the moon on his trail, however, it's hard to form meaningful relationships.
There's a heartbreaking scene in which Daniel uses his powers to reconstruct his lost parents and friends for an evening of chilling out playing board games. Sad, because none of his loved ones are real, only illusions created by his stupefying powers. While this is undoubtedly a plot-driven book, the character development is impressive as well. Poor Daniel's misfortunes are at times tragic and deeply personal.
The villain is a shapeshifting, nearly omnipotent alien overlord named Ergent Seth. Not satisfied simply to kill his prey, he has a fondness for a sort of mental torture. As it turns out, Seth is the sadistic monster who killed Daniel's parents. As showdown is obviously imminent.
Included are some outstanding scenes on an alien slave ship, visits to an extraterrestrial city, and a lot of rising and falling dynamics between the hunter and its quarry.
Patterson has written dozens of action and thriller novels, including the wildly popular Angel Experiment series, marketed to teens. Daniel X is slated to be the first in a very promising series as well. The short chapters and large type-face make it a good choice for younger and less experienced readers: it's only 238 pages, and is a breeze to finish.
It's a super-hero story with a twist: Daniel's abilities are amazing, but when he's being terrorized by creatures who are even more powerful, he gets a definite sense of his limitations and would gladly trade it all in for a normal teenage boy's life. Rather than relying on firepower, our hero prevails through a battle of wits.
There are plenty of unexpected plot twists, and action from the first page. Daniel X is the #1 thrill ride of the summer.

No comments: