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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

"The Dangerous Days of Daniel X" by James Patterson + Michael Ledwidge

Official James Patterson Website
Order “The Dangerous Days of Daniel X
Read An Excerpt HERE

AUTHOR INFORMATION: In 2007, multiple award-winning James Patterson was the bestselling author of the year, with more than 16 million books sold in North America alone. In total, James' books have sold an estimated 150 million copies worldwide. He is the first author to have #1 new titles simultaneously on the New York Times adult & children's lists, and is the only author to have five new hardcover novels debut at #1 on the list in one year—a record-breaking feat he’s accomplished every year since 2005. To date, James Patterson has had nineteen consecutive #1 New York Times Bestselling Novels, and holds the New York Times record (forty) for most bestselling titles by a single author.

Patterson is the creator of the bestselling Alex Cross detective series which includes the Hollywood-adapted “Along Came a Spider” and “Kiss the Girls”, starring Academy Award-winning actor Morgan Freeman; the
Women’s Murder Club featuring Lindsay Boxer from which the ABC television drama series is adapted; and the SF/fantasy YA series, Maximum Ride, which is currently being adapted into a movie by Avi Arad, the producer of X-Men and Spider-Man. Patterson has also authored books behind five other films on the Hollywood fast-track, included “The Dangerous Days of Daniel X”, which was optioned by New Regency Pictures.

Michael Ledwidge is an author of crime thrillers including “The Narrowback”, “Bad Connection” and “Before the Devil Knows You're Dead”. He also collaborated with James Patterson on “The Quickie”, the Michael Bennett series, and “The Dangerous Days of Daniel X”.

PLOT SUMMARY: From the day that his parents were brutally murdered at the age of three, Daniel X has been forced to make his own way in a dark and unforgiving world with little knowledge about his family or where he came from, and faced with an uncertain future and a mission beyond anyone’s imagining. You see, Daniel’s mother and father were actually Alien Hunters, working their way through The List of Alien Outlaws hiding on Earth.

Blessed with super abilities—like being able to manipulate objects and animals with his mind or to recreate himself in any shape he chooses—Daniel has taken up the mantle of his parents, and has dedicated his life to eradicating the Alien Outlaws. His ultimate aim is to exact revenge against the number one alien on The List—his parents’ murderer. But first he must target the others, each more sinister and gruesome than the last…

CLASSIFICATION:The Dangerous Days of Daniel X” is described as ‘Spider-Man meets Men in Black’, but a more accurate description would be Superman—or Smallville—meets Men in Black. Like Patterson’s
Maximum Ride series, the book is aimed at a younger audience, although in this case the novel is probably suited more for readers under the age of twelve, because of the ultra-safe content and language. In other words, don’t expect “The Dangerous Days of Daniel X” to be on the same level as Harry Potter or His Dark Materials, but more in line with R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps or the Hardy Boys.

FORMAT/INFO: Page count is 256 pages divided over the opening “True Confessions”, a four-part Prologue, ninety chapters, and a two-part Epilogue. Narration is in the first-person, past-tense exclusively via the protagonist Daniel X who occasionally breaks the fourth wall and addresses the reader. Story is self-contained, but is part of an ongoing series and includes an excerpt from the next Daniel X adventure. July 21, 2008 marks the North American Hardcover Publication via
Little, Brown and Company. The UK version was released by Random House UK on July 3, 2008 and comes in two different editions (see insets).

Also continuing the story of Daniel X is the “Daniel X: Alien Hunter” graphic novel—written by James Patterson and Leopoldo Gout (Ghost Radio) with art by
Klaus Lyngeled and Jonathan Girin—which is due out December 1, 2008 via Little, Brown and Company.

ANALYSIS: I’ve only read a few James Patterson novels before “The Dangerous Days of Daniel X”— “Along Came a Spider” and “Kiss the Girls” because of the movies, both of which I enjoyed; and “When the Wind Blows” and “The Lake House”, which I did not enjoy. In fact, I stopped reading Patterson novels after “The Lake House”, but when I heard about “The Dangerous Days of Daniel X”, I was intrigued…

Like the tagline implies—Spider-Man meets Men in Black—“The Dangerous Days of Daniel X” is an exciting blend of superhero comic book, and comedic science fiction. So on the one hand, you have fifteen-year-old Daniel X who possesses such super powers as Level 3 strength, somewhat super speed, levitation, hypnosis, a super IQ, sometimes knowing the immediate future, and having the ability to rearrange matter on a subatomic level—includes transforming into different creatures like a tick, recreating his parents, and creating his buddies (Willy, Joe, Emma & Dana) who help him out in tight spots. Additionally, the plot is straight out of a superhero story line—Daniel wants revenge against the alien who killed his parents, world domination, etc—while the ultra-short chapters (normally two to three pages long) makes it feel like you’re reading an actual comic book, just without the illustrations :)

As far as the science fiction elements, not only are there legions of aliens hiding amongst humans on our planet, but Daniel X himself is an alien—which is why I thought of Superman. On top of that, there are alien weapons like the 24/24 Opus Magnum, alien spaceships, and readers get to visit Daniel’s alien homeworld, Alpar Nok. Comedy meanwhile, is ever-present, but family-oriented, including humorous observations, and corny one-liners and comebacks like “Kiss my butt!”

Writing-wise, “The Dangerous Days of Daniel X” is polished, entertaining, and fashionable—expect plenty of pop culture references to iPods, Playstation 3s, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, the Simpsons, Star Trek, Spielberg, et cetera—all qualities one would expect from a James Patterson novel. But because the book is aimed at a younger audience, the writing is also noticeably lighthearted, clean, and sometimes illogical which is the main issue I had with the novel. Specifically, the book is plagued with numerous coincidences and inconsistencies—like why The List was so important to The Prayer in the first place—which may not bother someone twelve or younger, but to mature readers can be quite annoying. Aside from this one issue though, “The Dangerous Days of Daniel X” is a fun little book, and one that I will be sharing with my son when he’s old enough :)

CONCLUSION: When readers pick up a James Patterson novel, it’s not for in-depth characterization, detailed worldbuilding, poetic prose, or thought-provoking examinations. They pick up a James Patterson novel because they are accessible, fun to read, and above all, entertaining. In “The Dangerous Days of Daniel X”, the author continues his winning formula, and even though the book is tailored more to the preteen crowd, I have no doubt that James Patterson’s latest will be another runaway success…


Angela/SciFiChick said...

I just read the graphic novel of this due out in December. (Why it's available in ARC format so many months early, I'm not sure.)
Anyway, it was definitely geared for younger than I thought too, but it sounds like it's a bit better than the original novel.

reanimated said...

Sounds like a fun summer day book. Probably pick it up.

Thanks for the review!

ps tell the fam i said "hi!"

Robert said...

Angela, I have a copy of the graphic novel too! It is pretty fun and I was going to do a double review with it and the book, but just didn't have enough time. I'll probably wait until December now :)

Reanimated, thanks! I'll let the family know :)

Anonymous said...

Hey I can't figure out what the main setting is could you help me out?

Ondrej from James Patterson Book List said...

The book is great as always; I've just been always wondering how much work does Patterson himself and how much does he just buy under his brand for his co-authors.

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