Review of Dangerous by Shannon Hale

DangerousDangerous
By: Shannon Hale
Release Date: March 4, 2014
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Source: Physical ARC

A copy was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:
star

Summary:
Maisie Danger Brown just wanted to get away from home for a bit, see something new. She never intended to fall in love. And she never imagined stumbling into a frightening plot that kills her friends and just might kill her, too. A plot that is already changing life on Earth as we know it. There’s no going back. She is the only thing standing between danger and annihilation.

My Thoughts:
I knew nothing when I requested Dangerous, my interest was based on the fact that I had read Hale’s novel Book of a Thousand Days and loved it. If you’ve read the above summary you’ll agree there’s not a whole lot of information about this book in there. Just very broad strokes of a general feel of where things will go. This review will give a tad more depth about the storyline. If you are wanting to go into this one with little to no knowledge of the basic storyline then you should read no further. It is impossible to review this book without revealing more than the summary provides.

That being said this one started out on a good note for me. The beginning had a very middle-grade feel for me and I was encouraged by Hale’s writing which included beautiful sentences full of meaning. The main character was immediately interesting to me, because of her love of space and yearning to be an astronaut. See, my family has always been in love with the idea of space, exploration of our galaxy and all things related. My aunt and uncle worked at Nasa when I was a child, my father was (and is) incredibly knowledgeable about space (and everything really). He’s worked in the industry and raised my sister and I to love the mystery, beauty and science of space. My sister was adamant as a child that she would grow up to be an astronaut. So, Maisie’s love and passion was winning for me.

Another thing I loved was that her parents were scientists and both loving, caring parents that had a very positive and healthy relationship with each other and Maisie. This was very much appreciated since it is so rare in young adult fiction. Also, Maisie was born with only one arm. Yet, this missing limb gave her confidence, strength and determination.

I think you can get a feel for how well I liked where this was heading. Maisie loved space and had the chance to attend a very coveted space camp. The story continues at a good pace with Maisie getting out of her nurtured, closed in life (she was home-schooled) and meeting people, experiencing interactions that were completely new. Hale’s writing was beautiful, so much so I had to share this line,

Dreams have their own language, we decided, and you are only fluent while you’re asleep.

Such a beautiful line and the absolute truth with its simplicity yet elegance. unfortunately, about a third through the book things change, fast.

Here’s another warning for those wanting to go into this one with no clue at the plot, stop now or you might know something as to what this story is about. I’m confident once people begin to read this book it will become common knowledge but a warning nonetheless.

 

 

Still with me? Ok…so at this drastic change of tone Maisie and her team at her space camp come into contact with some ‘alien technology’ and develop super powers. This story goes from character development and growth to more action based, learning to control your abilities and scheming bad guys trying to exploit these super powered teenagers. For me personally, I began to lose some interest. There have been so many attempts and reimagining of super powers it takes a lot to really grab me. I’ve never been much of a fan of the genre so I was mildly disappointed at the development.

Things sort of just start to fall apart here for me. The pacing got slower, odd since it would make sense for it to be faster with the action-y scenes. The dialog begins to lack, the characters lost any amount of connection I felt towards them and some lines actually made me roll my eyes. I have to share this one- I couldn’t believe I’d just read it and had to take a double take (remember this is from the ARC so could be removed or altered in the final version),

Adrenaline flared in my heart. Shark! Big, toothy, scary shark! Then I remembered who I was. And I ate it.

Yes, a character eats a shark. That has to be a first for me in young adult fiction or really anything I’ve read. What’s even more shocking to me was that before this Hale’s writing was so beautifully done and this just felt so out of place. I think you get the point that the writing changed pretty drastically from the beginning of the book.

The characters started out promising. I felt that we were on the brink of getting some great input into them all and I was excited to learn more. Sadly, it never went further into character development than the initial stuff. Everyone felt narrowed down to their main interest and not rounded or fleshed out. This was the most true of the members of Maisie’s team at camp. They all became forgettable soon after reading and I never felt connected to them nor did I care about their outcome.

Final Thoughts:
Dangerous felt all over the place and never seemed to really embrace an exact atmosphere or genre. It started with a fun science fiction middle grade feel then delved into darker science fiction only to end on super heroes and action. I felt these changes in tone pulled me out of the story and made it impossible for me to connect to any of the characters.

There were some pretty fun action scenes and I loved that at the beginning Maisie was disabled yet completely capable of taking care of herself. Where this novel fell short was in character development, the romance (which I didn’t even go into), and really just the inability to ever fully grasp or connect to any real aspect of the story or characters.

Dangerous Book trailer:

Comments

  1. says

    This never seemed like something I would be interested in, so I’ve read a couple of reviews for it now. They all agree that it starts off amazing and then just turns crazy. I love the quote you shared about dreams and how cool about your family! It’s a bummer this went so downhill (I couldn’t help but laugh at the shark thing–it reminded me of “jumping the shark”). I hope your next read is much better. Great review!

    • says

      I was really drawn to the cover and ambiguity of the summary. I was so sad when it turned for the worse. I loved some of Hale’s other work but this one was just a miss. LOL at the jumping the shark.

  2. says

    Hmmmm, good to know. That description was enough for me to be skeptical because I at least want some idea of what I’m getting into with review books, haha. I think I’ll probably skip this one since it doesn’t sound like what I’m in the mood for now, but at least I have a better idea of what it is about! That cover doesn’t really give anything away either, haha.

    • says

      Yea. that part was just strange and stuck out from the rest of the story. Not a fan of that. Hoping it’ll be removed from the final version. I sort of wish you’d read it because I’d love to have that bookish discussion with you.

  3. says

    Hmm, sounds like the book suffered from an identity crisis or two. That’s disappointing, especially since I’ve heard such great things about Shannon Hale’s other work, but I can’t say I’m surprised. The synopsis never really grabbed me and, while I sometimes love “mutant” stories, they do tend toward being plot-heavy. Thanks for the nicely written, informative review!

  4. Pili says

    Damn, it sounded so promising in the beginning! It almost sounds like it was two different kinda books mashed up together! I’ll be skipping this one, I think. Thanks for a great review as always, Kristen!

  5. Alyn Y says

    I happened to read a different book summary on another blog that gave more information than the one above. It gave a little bit more information such as the NASA program but that was it. Now I’m kind of iffy on this book. I did enjoy some of Shannon Hale’s other books but this is the second review I have read on this book and neither one is very good. I guess I’ll just push this book down lower on my TBR list. I am too big of a fan to not want to read the book.

  6. says

    This sounds like a mess. I love everything about space, too, but with quotes like that second one…ugh. What is that? It sounds like it could be from a book for a small child. Imagine if you bookmarked it there, and someone picked it up thinking, “Oh, I wonder what Kristen is reading.” Yikes.

    I need to read this soon, but I’ll keep my expectations in check.

  7. says

    Aw. I’m so sorry that this book started good for you, then turned pretty awful. I hate when that happens! I don’t think I would enjoy this either :\ but I do think you are awesome for sticking with it and finishing it 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing your honest thoughts. <3

  8. says

    Oh, man. You are the second person who alluded to this book as being more MG than YA, with mixed/disappointed ratings. I’m sorry to hear that the interesting premise didn’t quite turn out to be the reading experience you’d hoped. Better off skipping this one, I think.

    Thanks for the honest review.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

    • says

      I was very disappointed because I was so excited to receive this for review. I really love the cover and have read some of Hale’s work before and thought it was very well done. Sadly, this book was a mess. As sad as it makes me I can’t recommend this one 🙁

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