Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Daniel X: Watch The Skies review

Daniel X: Watch the Skies

James Patterson

Ned Rust
young adult/sci-fi

251 pages

available now

I'm not sure who sent me the book, if I won it in a contest, or if it was a gift. If I knew, I would send a thank you note. I do appreciate it. This book is now going to be donated to the school library for the 6th, 7th and 8th grade section.

I was all ready to do to bed. I went to bed, and decided to read a bit before I turned out the light (it was already very late). I kept reading until I was finished, so now here I am at the computer again, to post this. Might as well finish up now. : )

I believe that this is the first in a series of books about Daniel X. Daniel X is a teen-age alien hunter with some special powers of his own. He rides a motorbike and can do wheelies on his front tire. He has four imaginary friends, but unlike most kids, he can materialize them and they often help him out when he needs help, or just keep him company when he needs company.

The town of Holliswood is being taken over by aliens - from outer-space. These particular aliens are able to manipulate the radio waves, and t.v. stations to control humans. They also like to eat humans, after they make them dance around, filming them for entertainment. The head alien is a director. Even though there are some horrific things that happen to humans, the way it's written it's not very graphic or gross. Most teens have watched plenty of movies and shows that contain much worse than is shown in this book.

Daniel X needs to find a way to stop the aliens from taking over the town, and eventually the whole world for the purpose of filming, eating and using the world and it's inhabitants as entertainment for the rest of the universe. But the alien in charge of this epic project, (alien no. 5) seems to always be one step ahead of Daniel X, and in fact is planning to use Daniel in the finale of the series that he's filming. Daniel X meets a young girl and her strange parents. He is has quite a challenge solving this crisis, things go wrong but he perseveres.

I found the narrative of this book interesting, and the dialogue between characters was pretty good. There's some snarky dialogue between aliens and Daniel X, and intelligent dialogue between Daniel X and his friends/family. Though gross things are happening, there isn't over the top descriptions, but there is enough to keep a teen or tween interested in the story. Daniel X also is not a do it yourself type of hero, he takes advice and help from his friends...although they are a product of his imagination. Maybe because it's written from the pov of a teenage boy, one who has been hunting aliens, but there doesn't seem to be much to his personality - there's a little history we learn as we read, and little things he quips. He seems to care about animals and humans. It's just not very in depth - the presenting of his personality.

This was a cute, light/horror sci-fi book. The only thing that kind of got to me, was more the set up of the book. There are 91 chapters in this 251 page book. How can that be, do you wonder? most of these chapters are two pages long. As in half of one page (the beginning of the chapter) and half or a little over half of the second page (that would be the ending of this epic chapter). So really, I believe this book could have been condensed into 125 pages (approximately). I don't know if the authors meant for the book to be set up this way as a dramatic way of separating scenes, or if this was done to "flesh out" the book. There were quite a few of the 2-page chapters that could have been combined. A few of the chapters were really a continuation of the previous chapter. That's my only complaint of the book, and it's not anything to do with content or writing talent.

Overall this is a entertaining book, a light read even with the horror aspects; but because of the way the chapters are split up, I might wait for the paperback if I were to buy the book. I was fortunate, though to receive it for free, and am passing it forward to my school library. I would be interested in reading more of James Patterson/Ned Rust novels or James Patterson novels. A student at my school said that his Maximum Ride series is pretty good, and I did buy the first book in that series.

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