cover image The Dangerous Days of Daniel X

The Dangerous Days of Daniel X

James Patterson, Michael Ledwidge. Little, Brown, $19.99 (238pp) ISBN 978-0-316-00292-9

Billed as a story ""for readers from ten to a hundred and ten,"" this YA novel from bestseller Patterson (Maximum Ride) and collaborator Ledwidge (The Quickie), the fifth entry in the James Patterson Pageturners series, blends Harry Potter and Men in Black with results likely to please only die-hard Patterson fans. In the beginning, an alien six-and-a-half-foot-tall praying mantis known as ""The Prayer"" kills the parents of Daniel X, the titular hero, in the course of its search for ""The List,"" a catalogue of ""Alien Outlaws"" plaguing Earth. Daniel, who can transform himself and alter reality, escapes by assuming the form of a tick, and succeeds in retrieving the list. A dozen years later, as a full-fledged ""Alien Hunter,"" Daniel is traveling around the U.S., supporting himself and his gourmet appetites in an unspecified manner (""I didn't want to go crazy, so I settled on a rosemary-crusted rack of lamb with truffle-spiked potato puree""). Working his way up the list, Daniel prepares to take on ""Number 6,"" Ergent Seth, before that monster can destroy Earth. Their climactic battle is as derivative as the rest of the book. Those used to a richly-imagined alternate world, developed characters and sophisticated plotting may have trouble getting past the first few chapters. Ages 8-up