Tuesday, August 19, 2008
I was excited to review this book because I worked in the education system for a long time and found it very frustrating finding books that boys would want to read. I have always been a bookworm and was relentless in seeking out "beyond the Potter" as I called it for my male readers. I worked hard to show my male students that reading could be pleasure and it could be a wonderful escape. I tried to recommend lots of genres and authors to them, yet often felt guilty because just until recently rarely ventured into the trade/mass publications and fiction bestseller lists myself. I was a canon snob, a voracious reader of the classics and up and coming creative nonfiction and poetry. I just hadn't let myself fall right into book club mania or Barnes&Noble list of what's hot. I had never read James Patterson and was interested in reading something as many friends loved his work.
I loved The Dangerous Days of Daniel X! The book is very well set up for a young reader with super short chapters that can be a great aid in allowing readers to feel like they are "doing well" and reading a book quickly. In my experience, reluctant readers need this as they start to pleasure read so as they do not get lost or bogged down with the feeling of "never being able to finish" a chapter. Readers cultivate the craft of reading and through quick paced YA novels like this one they gain the confidence that they are good readers.
Daniel X is a pretty amazing and sad little dude. It felt like the weight of the world was on his shoulders as he set off to seek revenge upon his slain family. A boy who is gifted with super powers goes out on this amazing archetypal quest for revenge and vision quest. The journey is cool and imaginative. His character is so very likable and the writing is quick and speedy enough to keep the interest easily. I like the way that Daniel can conjure up people when he needs them and his shape shifting abilities are awesome and no doubt very appealing to kids. Daniel X who is stronger than a typical human, and wicked smart has problems when up against the list aliens who are vastly more superior even to him- but in the novel he shows the reader how he taps into his intellect to solve problems- not a bad lesson to be learned here.
The only issue I had with the book was the pop culture references and this is most likely because I am an old lady. I know it is hip and cool and a nice "buy in" for the young readers to be able to relate to these references, but I feel like it may date the books if they are to become an iconic series. It was really my only beef with this gem.
My husband who is a Sci-Fi reader himself adored the book too. We sat and chatted about how no matter what adults or Patterson fans might say-we loved the book for what it is. A new series of books that may do something to bring the kids back to the paper. To bring the noses into a new world, a world where they can believe again.
Book website here
Mothertalk review here
Amazon page here