Top positive review
Dramatic and compelling, a solid thriller told from several perspectives
Reviewed in the United States on June 7, 2021
The President's Daughter is a compelling, action-packed thriller from James Patterson and former President Bill Clinton. Here are my thoughts immediately after reading, with no spoilers:
The book is divided into five parts and an epilogue, with a total of 136 chapters, and just under 600 pages of story. As you can imagine with that many chapters, each one is pretty short, at just a few pages. The setting or perspective often changes with a new chapter, so the story is slowly built up from different angles.
The book starts out right away with descriptions of some brutal and dramatic events in the first chapter. The extreme nature of the antagonist is established, and some gruesome details are used to really portray him as a terrible enemy.
Starting with Chapter 4 we get some chapters that are written in the first person from our protagonist President Matt Keating's perspective. There are a few details that I noticed right away that showed the possible influences of President Clinton on the story; including that President Keating's daughter attending Sidwell Friends School, the same school that President Clinton's daughter Chelsea actually attended when he was in office. The first person perspective of these chapters serves to really put the reader in President Keating's shoes, and made it easier to feel invested in the story. Part One does a good job of setting up the characters, as you also see the early tension between Keating and his successor, the new President Pamela Barnes, who had been previously been his Vice President.
In Part Two the pace seemed to slow down a bit, even though this is where the former President’s daughter Mel is actually kidnapped. There are many chapters from her perspective, so her character's competent but frightened nature is well established. You get to see the situation from several different character's perspectives as the chapters switch back and forth, and the scope of the situation is fleshed out.
The pace picks back up toward the end of the second part, and there is a ton of action and compelling scenes that made it hard to put the book down. I felt like the main characters were given just enough background and detail for the interactions to seem realistic, even with this plot that might initially seem somewhat unlikely. The authors really create an environment that sets up clear heroes and villains, and makes it easy to root for the protagonist.
Overall I enjoyed this book. Even though it was pretty long at 600 pages, the shorter chapters and the constant switching of perspectives prevented it from ever getting too boring or tedious. It might not have been the most amazing or mind-blowing story I've ever read, but anything that can keep me interested for that long and come to a satisfying conclusion is a pretty good book in my opinion. 4.5/5