Daniel X: Watch the Skies by James Patterson and Ned Rust
One year ago, the world was introduced to Alien Hunter Daniel X in The Dangerous Days of Daniel X by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge. Daniel’s adventures now continue in Daniel X: Watch the Skies by James Patterson and Ned Rust.
Daniel may look like any other teenage boy, but do not be deceived: he can create his friends and family out of thin air, control minds, leap tall buildings in a single bound, the whole shebang-a-bang. He uses his powers to hunt alien outlaws, who are known to him via a perpetually updating list called The List of Alien Outlaws on Terra Firma.
In the first book, Daniel took on Bad Alien Number Six. In this book, he tackles Number Five, an entertainment mogul alien described as “Kind of an alien version of Aaron Spelling, if Aaron Spelling were a few degrees more bloodthirsty than Attila the Hun.” In the next Daniel X book, it looks like he’ll be fighting Bad Alien Number Three. Someday, Daniel will face Bad Alien Number One, AKA The Prayer, AKA The Alien Who Killed His Parents.
Like its predecessor, Daniel X: Watch the Skies is fast-paced, filled with smart mouth teenagers, rock ‘em sock ‘em action sequences, and grosser than gross aliens. The emphasis in these books is definitely on the gross factor: alien stench, appearance, and appetite range from gross to grosser to Paris Hilton. Which brings me to an important point about these books: never forget that they are written with the purpose of interesting boys in reading. Boys think gross is funny and/or cool, so a book full of gross aliens ought to appeal to them.
Boy readers will also respond well to the protagonist: though Daniel is an alien himself, he is still full of raging teen boy hormones, from his thoughts on his pseudo-girlfriend, Dana, to his reaction to the pretty blue-eyed girl at the diner, Judy Blue Eyes. When Judy tells him her last name is McGillicutty, his immediate reaction is “I was tempted to tell her name sounded just like a substance, magillakedi, that’s excreted by a three-hundred-pound centipede-like creature from Frizia Nine and is one of the three worst-smelling compounds ever discovered… but then I thought better of it.”
Offhand, I think a boy will find that funny.
While I don’t recommend the Daniel X series to adults or teenage girls doodling Mrs. Edward Cullen all over their notebooks, I feel safe suggesting it to boys ages 8-15, especially ones into alien stories. I also applaud Patterson and co for targeting this demographic, because it’s a hard one to tap into what with competition in the form of video games, skateboard parks, and BMX stunts.
On a final note, I’m just going to share my favorite passage from Daniel X Watch the Skies, without ruining one little bit of the book’s plot:
“You guys own both Jackass movies, don’t you?”
“Dude. And T-shirts,” he said, lifting up his buddy’s sweatshirt to show an “I (heart) Jackass” decal.
I like humans; I truly do. But, sometimes it amazes me their civilization ever got off the ground.
This book review is part of a MotherTalk blog tour.
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