Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Dangerous Days of Daniel X

As I sit in the epicenter of the gusting winds and driving rain of Tropical Storm Fay, it seems only fitting that I should be reviewing James Patterson's latest title, The Dangerous Days of Daniel X.

Written especially for the teen market, this rich adventure novel is the first in a new series Patterson is writing in an effort to reach out to a difficult subset, people who normally classify themselves as "non-readers, " those who don't usually even pick up a novel, let alone finish it.

A subset which most Moms will immediately recognize simply as, "boys."

As a father of a ten-year-old boy himself, Patterson wanted to write a work that would be engaging to boys who may normally consider reading, "boring" or "no fun." So the author amped up the excitement factor in The Dangerous Days of Daniel X. Action-packed and adrenaline-filled, this adventure novel reads more like an action-hero movie, so hot on the screens these days (just look at the box-office success of Ironman and The Dark Knight), than a novel, and as such will surely appeal to young boys, who spend so much of their time wishing they had super-powers themselves and creating imaginary matches in their heads ("Who would win if Ironman went up against the Incredible Hulk in a fight?*").

As many of us fans know, Patterson is also the author of the incredibly popular Maximum Ride teen series, which, while geared towards teenagers, I found hard to put down myself. He's already shown himself capable of appealing to that hard-to-reach teen audience. His newest protagonist, Daniel X, is even more likely to appeal to boys, who will identify with his sense of estrangement from others his age (something all kids go through as they grow up and find their own identities), while sympathizing with his self-imposed mission: to hunt down the assassin who brutally murdered his parents. Armed only with "The List," and the friends he has, ahem, "made," Daniel realizes that unless he finds his parents' killer, there is much more at stake than his own need for revenge: the Earth itself faces destruction.

Despite the very mature subject matter (an orphaned son facing his future after his parents are ripped from his life in the most violent way imaginable), my youngest son, the Rhino, did have one reservation about the book that he wanted me to pass on. As a precocious thirteen-year-old who actually likes to read (for which I am eternally grateful, believe me!), and who thoroughly enjoyed Patterson's earlier Maximum Ride series, he found The Dangerous Days of Daniel X a little too "kiddish" for his taste.

That being said, his interests have always veered towards more adult works (sometimes more than his Mom would like. Think zombies and post-apocalypse horror. *Shudder.*) However, even the Rhino felt that younger boys, especially those in the age range of Patterson's son, ten years old or so, would really enjoy the book.

*Ironman would win. Obviously.

No comments:

Cool Moms Rule! is in full compliance of the new FTC rules concerning Bloggers. I disclose on all posts where a product was received for free and/or if there was any kind of financial compensation involved.