Gwen & Kate's Library

Two sisters' reviews of Young Adult and Middle Grade books, inspired by their lovely library.

Gwen’s Summer Challenge: Dangerous by Shannon Hale (Science Fiction)

Dangerous is one of those books that leaves you sitting there, just thinking, for a very long time after reading the final page. In my case, this thinking was mostly confusion. Although I have assigned this book 3 stars, I’m not sure why I did that exactly. I think what I am trying to say is that I wanted to like this book so much that although it utterly disappointed me, I can’t help liking it a little bit nonetheless.

8585924

Series: None

Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Romance, Adventure

Rating: 3 stars

Description:

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.

From NY Times bestselling author Shannon Hale comes a novel that asks, How far would you go to save the ones you love? And how far would you go to save everyone else?

Gwen’s Book Review:

Dangerous is one of those books that leaves you sitting there, just thinking, for a very long time after reading the final page. In my case, this thinking was mostly confusion. Although I have assigned this book 3 stars, I’m not sure why I did that exactly. I think what I am trying to say is that I wanted to like this book so much that although it utterly disappointed me, I can’t help liking it a little bit nonetheless.

I know that this is mostly because the author is Shannon Hale. Shannon Hale, the author of all of my favorite middle grade/young adult books (along with Gale Carson Levine) that I have read and listened to over and over and over again and will never stop. These books include The Goose Girl and the entire Books of Bayern series, Book of a Thousand Days, Princess Academy and Palace of Stone, and Rapunzel’s Revenge and Calamity Jack, her two fantastic graphic novels. I was super excited to see that Shannon Hale was publishing a brand new book this year, that looked very different from her others. Despite this initial realization that Dangerous was not going to be another Princess Academy, I was crushed when I realized how different this book really was.

One of the reasons I didn’t adore this book is because I had expectations of Shannon Hale’s writing style, medieval and princess themes, and middle grade level. Kate read this book first, but if I had, I would not have allowed her to until she was at least 14. Dangerous is not a middle grade book, as I mistakenly assumed at first. The romance is very young adult, even more so than most, with some very teenage situations and lots of kissing. The one thing that might categorize it as less than young adult is the fact that Shannon Hale cannot help but literally “bleep” out all the swears (If she wanted to do this, I’m not sure why she included them at all).

This book is one of the most fast-paced books I have ever read. There is a change of setting on page 14, first actual “action” on page 23, and first make-out scene on page 36. However, when the entire book is paced at the same super-high level, it still begins to bore you right around the middle. Although I loved the beginning 50 pages of the book, I felt that the middle and end of Dangerous needed more slow and fast parts in order to give a little variation in the plot tempo, and spike your interest a bit.

Thank you thank you thank you Shannon Hale for writing about a disabled, half-Spanish, main character (Maisie was born without her right hand) in a science fiction book not solely about being disabled or another ethnicity. This is something the Stuff Mom Never Told You podcast discussed in my recommended The Literary Reign of YA Fiction episode. However, the mood was changed slightly when Maisie was “cured” by technology when she made herself a robot hand.

The story line in Dangerous wasn’t at all predictable, but similar to how Kate and I felt in regards to The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani, the surprising events didn’t make much sense either. For example, I was in no way expecting (small spoiler but it should be in the official description) this book to revolve around an alien token created superhero team that tries to kill each other, and this lack of expecting made me disappointed when I realized that is what I was getting out of Dangerous. What I enjoyed most about this book was before the whole alien mission dropped in, and Maisie and her friends were studying at an astronaut camp in the future when this amazing space elevator called the Beanstalk has been invented (but nothing else seems very different — no dystopian government).

Dangerous reminded me of Cinder by Melissa Meyer in many ways, and although I don’t really recommend this book in general, it might be a good way to fight off the book hangover before Winter is released in 2015. First of all, Maisie is also a limb-missing cyborg, similar to Cinder, and they both have a way with technology and mechanics. In addition, they both take place in the future, and there is an alien-like race trying to take over the world!

In summary, Dangerous was fantastic until about page 50, when I realized that it was not the Shannon Hale book I signed up for. Although I would not have read this book at all if it wasn’t written by Shannon Hale, I think I would have enjoyed it more if I wasn’t expecting something different (I wasn’t expecting Princess Academy, (semi-spoiler) but I definitely wasn’t picturing alien invasion superhero murders either). Luckily, this disappointment has in no way affected by love for Shannon Hale, and I look forward to any other books she will publish in the future (except for her Ever After High books whose existence I am conveniently ignoring)!

Kate’s Comments:

I was mostly disappointed by the fact that at astronaut camp, they go through a series of fun-sounding activities and exercises, but you don’t get to experience then along with the characters. Here is a good quote that shows what I mean:

“Finally we’d built a narrow staircase. As soon as we climbed up through the hatch and onto a ledge above a private courtyard, the man’s voice said, ‘Find the treasure.‘ A zip line, coded map, and buried chest of chocolate coins later, a buzzer went off.”

Zip lines and coded maps sound really fun! Why can’t we skip some of the robot alien superhero stuff and learn more about the fun astronaut training instead?

Another thing I didn’t like is that a lot of things didn’t make sense while you were reading it, so it kind of made you want to abandon it, but when you finish the book everything does make sense.

The rest of the book I did like, as long as I tried my best to forget the author was Shannon Hale!

Genre Review: Science Fiction

I originally listed Dangerous under dystopia, but after reading have decided this is not the case. It does take place in the future, but is definitely more of a general science fiction book, which is normally not my favorite, especially when, as I said before, (semi-spoiler) I wasn’t expecting aliens or superheroes. I am looking forward to re-reading my favorite science fiction book soon, Heir Apparent by Vivian Vande Velde. However, this is probably my favorite science fiction book because it has heavy Medieval and fantasy themes as well.

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3 comments on “Gwen’s Summer Challenge: Dangerous by Shannon Hale (Science Fiction)

  1. bookmarklit
    August 24, 2014

    Hey there, I nominated you for the Liebster Award! I thought you deserved it and wanted to give you a shout out! Here’s my post with the nomination and your questions: http://wp.me/p4pIuz-hQ

    • gwenkate
      August 24, 2014

      Thank you so much! We’re very honored! ~ Gwen & Kate

      • bookmarklit
        August 24, 2014

        Glad to hear it :) it seemed like a fun little award; looking forward to seeing your answers to my questions!!

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This entry was posted on August 24, 2014 by in Author: Gwen, Author: Kate, Gwen's Summer 2014 Genre Challenge, Review, Young Adult and tagged , .
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