James Patterson’s ‘The Dangerous Days of Daniel X (Daniel X Series #1)’

A Must Read 300This week I am reviewing a book that was recommended by a friend of mine: James Patterson’s The Dangerous Days of Daniel X (Daniel X Series #1). As far as thrillers go, James Patterson is one of my absolute favorite authors, so I dove into these literary waters with some rather high expectations. While not what I initially expected, Daniel X has quite a bit to bring to the table for the superhero genre. The story revolves around, you guessed it, Daniel X. Daniel is an alien who was orphaned when a immensely powerful extraterrestrial murdered his parents for the List: a roster of every alien outlaw on earth. As is always the case with origin stories, Daniel vows vengeance and lives for the day he can avenge his parents’ death, even if he has to mow through the entire List to do so. Luckily for him, Daniel has perhaps the most useful power a person (or alien) could ask for: the power of creation.

Patterson has proven time and again that he is capable of writing a great thriller, so what makes Daniel X stand out? First and foremost, Daniel’s power is a great plot device that allows for some spectacular, and surreal, scenes. Such creative freedom also has its drawbacks, however, as there are a few moments where even I stepped back for a second and wondered what the heck was going on with the story. While the vast majority of the plot twists are well thought-out, there are some that are downright ridiculous, bordering on lamely cliché. Truthfully, the biggest flaw of this book is that it doesn’t know what it wants to be. Sometimes, often while reading a particularly gruesome death sequence, I felt as if I was in a tried-and-true Patterson adult thriller. Minutes later, a particularly strange turn of events or coincidences had me convinced that The Dangerous Days of Daniel X was a teen book. In the spirit of fair compromise, I’ll just say this book is intended for at least teen-aged readers. Hopefully this lack of identity is remedied in the next entry (which is often the case with series featuring an aging protagonist). The action is still top-notch, and Patterson manages to power through the rough patches with enough grace to keep you turning pages well into the night. Despite the flaws I found myself eager to learn what happens to young Daniel, and I am looking forward to picking up the sequel, Watch the Skies. If you are a fan of superhero novels, heroic origin stories, or just want a solid thriller with some interesting twists, then check out The Dangerous Days of Daniel X.

Source: Jake Depew, Assistant Editor