Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Book Review: Daniel X

By Aubri Juhasz

In James Patterson’s novel, Daniel X Demons and Druids co written with Adam Sadler, it is hard to draw the line between imagination and reality. Throughout this tale, Patterson seeks to weave his own fantasy into history to explain the unexplainable. His plot fills the missing chinks in the chain of the past, shedding light on the paranormal that modern society has no explanation for. He does this all through sixteen year-old protagonist Daniel X, an alien and alien hunter.

In this third installment of the Daniel X series, preceding The Dangerous Days of Daniel X and Daniel X Watch the Skies, world renowned author James Patterson writes yet another book that can be enjoyed by not just one audience, but many. James Patterson, author of over seventy novels, turns to co-writing to satisfy his many ongoing series and standalone novels. Daniel X is one of his three young adult series, and is not just enjoyed by high school students but readers of all ages. I strongly recommend reading the two preceding novels, though it is not necessary. In the beginning of the story, most of the characters and their affiliation are explained, but for those interested in a little catching up, I would suggest reading the following.

On planet earth, there is one simple explanation for everything that goes wrong. Murder, theft, disease, kidnapping, and so-called natural disasters are all the work of aliens. Aliens have inhabited the earth for centuries, changing their physical form to blend in, or using human beings as their puppets, all unnoticed by humans. But not all aliens are malicious, conniving, extraterrestrial bandits. Protagonist Daniel Hopper X from the planet Terra Firma belongs to a planet bent on the opposite. Their mission is to preserve the beauty of the earth and its people while ridding it of the aliens that plague it. Throughout history, certain people from Daniel X’s home planet have always been positioned to inhabit earth, while serving as the “Alien Hunter” or more formally referred to as “The Defender of Earth”. This was the sole purpose of Daniel X’s existence on earth along with his parents. But at the age of three, their typical American alien life was shattered.

While performing his duties on Earth, the Alien Hunter has only one source of information, as to who, what, where, and how the scum of the earth conduct their everyday lives. Referred to as “the list,” what appears to be a very thin laptop is really the most high tech, frequently updated alien database in the world. The aliens are ranked in order of increasing number from least dangerous to the most, and it is Daniel X’s ultimate goal to find and destroy the Prayer, who happens to be number one. However, his motives are not purely humanitarian, for the Prayer is not only behind some of the most gruesome crimes on earth, but also the murders of Daniel’s mother, father, and unborn sister Brenda, A.K.A Pork Chop. Daniel was able to save himself, from the invasion by exercising one of his many alien powers for the first time, the power to create. He transformed himself into a tick and escaped attached to the dreadlock of the praying-mantis like creature that is the Prayer. At the young age of three years old, Daniel was alone on planet earth. But his family was not gone forever. Daniel’s power to create allows him to create his dead parents and his old friends from the planet Terra Firm, to assist him at his will. He may have control over when and where they appear and disappear, but as for everything else, they are one hundred percent free-thinking humans. Willy, Dana, Joe and Emma serve not only as his friends and confidants but his team in his crusade for revenge.

Daniel is incapable of taking on the Prayer right from the start and seeks to hone his skill by working up the list. Through his encounters with the many different alien species that inhabit earth, Daniel gains more knowledge while discovering new powers and secrets about his family’s past. At the opening of Daniel X Demons and Druids, Daniel’s quest has brought him and his friends to the countryside of England, where they are on the hunt for a pyromaniac alien known as Phosphorius Beta, an alien responsible for almost every fire known to man. He is ranked as number three, and before Daniel can ever come close to avenging his parent’s death, he must fight fire with time travel.

This novel is clearly written and uses fairly simple language and terms to express its ideas. Furthermore the short chapters and large font size make it a fast and easy weekend read. Throughout the story, the author uses unexpected events to fill plot gaps that make for a riveting and enthralling read. There are really no other books out there exactly like it making the experience and story truly unique. In my opinion, the best feature of the book is how James Patterson creates interesting answers for the questions of life. Daniel’s ability to summon back those of the dead in their original form makes for interesting characters that experience unique situations and conflicts. I also enjoyed how the author incorporated historical and mythical events into the story through Daniel’s power of time travel.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for something a little different from the norm. If you are tired of romances and sparkly vampires, give aliens a try. They do not all bite.

No comments:

Post a Comment