The Dangerous Days of Daniel X — "Daniel X" Series
This book has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. It is the first book in the "Daniel X" series.
Crude or Profane Language
Drug and Alcohol Content
Other Negative Elements
While 3-year-old Daniel is playing in the basement of his home, he hears his parents attacked and killed by an assailant demanding "The List" from them. When the intruder comes downstairs, Daniel sees that it is not a person, but an insect-like alien who calls himself "The Prayer."
Daniel is not an ordinary human boy but a highly intelligent alien with the ability to create and transform anything into other shapes and forms. Knowing The Prayer wants to kill him, Daniel turns himself into a tick and jumps on The Prayer's head so he can escape. Daniel watches while The Prayer burns his house with the bodies of his parents.
When Daniel is 13, he returns to the ashes of his family home and digs up the alien technology that contains The List — the names of alien outlaws and their whereabouts on Earth. Daniel also finds a message from his parents telling him to take up their role as an alien hunter and a defender of the planet.
Now 15 years old, Daniel begins working his way through The List by going after the aliens on it, preparing himself to eventually confront No. 1, The Prayer. In Portland, after he fights and kills No. 19, he decides to find No. 6, an alien named Ergent Seth, who plans to destroy all life on Earth and recolonize it with aliens from his own planet.
Daniel hitchhikes from Portland to Los Angeles in search of Ergent Seth. Sent by Ergent Seth, an alien who is disguised as a trucker warns Daniel to stop what he is doing.
When Daniel is afraid or lonely, he uses his abilities to create people: his family consisting of his mother, father and younger sister; or his friends Dana, Emma, Joe and Willy. While traveling to Los Angeles, he spends a night in the woods, camping with his "friends." Once in Los Angeles, he uses his created family to help secure a house to rent. On his first night in the city, Daniel has a nightmare in which The Prayer warns him to stay away from Ergent Seth.
The next day, Daniel decides to go to school for the first time, in an attempt to blend in and not attract the attention of truant officers. He meets Phoebe Cook, another new student, and immediately likes her.
Daniel decides to do surveillance in an attempt to find Ergent Seth. According to The List, Seth's illegal activities include drug dealing, abductions and mass murder, so Daniel goes to a seedy part of the city and finds a drug-dealing operation using children to sell drugs. Daniel waits until the drug pusher in charge of the children, a man who works for Seth, shows up to collect the money. Daniel unsuccessfully questions him about Seth's whereabouts, then beats him up and erases his memories, replacing them with the belief that the drug pusher is a Pentecostal preacher.
Daniel has more dreams. This time, Ergent Seth tells Daniel that he will torture him to death. After school the next day, Daniel finds his rental house has been broken into and trashed. Ergent Seth contacts him again, this time by telephone, warning Daniel to leave Los Angeles. Daniel is now concerned that Ergent Seth not only knows who he is, but where he is.
The next day at school, Phoebe tells Daniel that her younger sister, Allison, was abducted from their driveway without a trace. That's why her family moved and she changed schools. Daniel suspects that Seth is behind this abduction and many others. Daniel decides to leave school early to investigate, but on his way, Seth's men attack him. After incapacitating them, Daniel hurries home.
Later that day, Phoebe meets Daniel at a coffee shop and gives him Allison's case file, which has details of other abductions that form a pattern. Daniel notices the disappearances occurred in a circular pattern around Malibu. Daniel returns home to find that Seth has turned his house into a graveyard. Daniel transforms the graveyard back into the house, but then goes to Phoebe's house. The two agree to skip school the next day and investigate the abductions. Phoebe makes a makeshift bed in her closet where Daniel can sleep.
After an evening filled with nightmares, Daniel wakes to find Phoebe missing. When he finds her near the school, she reveals that she is Ergent Seth in disguise. Seth incapacitates Daniel, shoots him in the stomach, neutralizes his powers and takes him aboard his spaceship. Also on the ship are numerous human children who have been abducted by Seth and his mercenaries to be sold into slavery.
As the ship approaches Alpar Nok, Daniel's home planet, Seth takes Daniel to the bridge of the ship so he can see his home world for the first time. Seth and his mercenaries have taken over the planet, killed most of the inhabitants, destroyed the cities and are draining the planet of its natural resources. After the ship lands, Daniel escapes to an area under the city where the few survivors live.
There he gets help taking care of his gunshot wound, regains his strength and meets his extended family. Daniel also learns that the friends he creates were his real childhood pals from Alpar Nok. He is told that Dana, Emma, Joe and Willy were victims of one of Seth's early attacks on the planet, but their bodies were never recovered.
After devising a plan, Daniel goes above ground to confront Seth. During their fight, Daniel turns into a tick and crawls inside Seth's head through his ear. While still inside Seth's head, Daniel transforms himself into an elephant, destroying Ergent Seth.
Although Daniel offers to stay and help rebuild Alpar Nok, his extended family urges him to return to Earth and finish the work his parents started. Afraid of Daniel, Seth's mercenaries take him and all the abducted children back to Earth.
Daniel hitchhikes and gets a ride from two nuns. He thinks they will give him a sermon, but instead, they talk to him about baseball and say, "God bless you," as they depart.
Daniel replaces the memory of one of Ergent Seth's henchmen, making him believe that he is a Pentecostal preacher. He believes he has been saved and tells Daniel to stay and hear the good Word so he can be saved as well. Daniel tells the man that he has to leave so he can do the Lord's work.
Other Belief Systems
Daniel's created mother is worried about him and tells him that she prays he is ready to face Ergent Seth. When he asks to whom she prays, she says she just prays. Daniel has supernatural powers, the ability to transform and "create" people.
Profanity used includes d--n and kiss my butt. Other words used include idiot, dork and dumb-dumb.
Daniel hears his parents getting shot to death and sees their dead bodies as he leaves the house. Later, Daniel realizes that his mother was pregnant when she was killed. Daniel has several fights with aliens that result in him hurting or killing them. The fights are often described in gory detail, but the blood is not usually depicted. Both The Prayer and Ergent Seth threaten Daniel in his dreams. Ergent Seth shoots Daniel in the stomach. In the final fight between the two, Ergent Seth gets the upper hand in the fight until Daniel transforms into a tick, crawls inside Seth's head, transforms into an elephant and kills him.
Daniel has a crush on his created friend, a girl named Dana. Daniel gets nervous around Dana, and she kisses him on the cheek. He also develops a crush on Phoebe, a girl at school. As he walks Phoebe home, he reads her mind and learns that she likes him, so he asks her out on a date. When Daniel learns that Phoebe is actually Ergent Seth in disguise, he is embarrassed that Ergent Seth tricked him.
Get free discussion questions for this book and others, at FocusOnTheFamily.com/discuss-books.
Drugs: Daniel sees kids selling drugs on Earth and on Alpar Nok. On Earth, Daniel beats up the dealer that the children work for. On Alpar Nok, he destroys the vials with the drugs.
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Readability Age Range
10 and up
James Patterson, Michael Ledwidge
Little Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group USA