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?
◆ A copy was provided by Bloomsbury for review ◆
A strong plot, relatable characters, mind-numbing action, and questionable villains... Dangerous has most everything I like to see in a good YA novel.
I love how intelligent Maisie and her friends are. They make a lot of scientific references, and they also quote famous writers. I can't even begin to think about the last time I saw a teen, much less the main character, with such a voice in a YA novel. Plus, Maisie is half Latina and has a physical disability, and neither of these are made out to be a big deal in the novel, which I really appreciate. I actually wouldn't have paid half as much attention to these traits if Maisie didn't pull out some Spanish here and there or give her fake arm a name.
It's not just Maisie. The side characters have their own unique features and diversity, and they are well characterized—with some being more memorable than others, which is to be expected. I especially love Maisie's parents and the funniness that they are. You have to have a sense of humor to give your child the opportunity to say "Danger is my middle name" and speak the literal truth. I also love how her parents are very present and involved throughout the entire story. It's another thing missing from a lot of YA novels today. I'd talk about some of the other characters that I love, but I don't want to go into too many details because I'm afraid that I'll give spoilers. As for the romance, it's realistically portrayed. It's sweet but also angsty, and it develops alongside the plot without overtaking it or falling off the radar for long periods of time.
Dangerous makes you question the loyalties of many characters. There are high stakes involved in the plot, and there are a lot of twists and turns. Even though I wanted to place my faith in some characters, even though I was pretty sure they were on the "good" side, I still found myself questioning their motives. I even began having some dark feelings for those I wanted to love. That's what makes this such a powerful novel. You never know what to expect, feelings or plot wise. Just when you think you know what this is about, another surprise comes right at you. Admittedly, it would have been interesting to develop a few plot points some more, but Maisie isn't really in a position to learn some things, not unless her character were to be changed, and then she wouldn't be the Maisie that I love.
I could totally see this having been expanded into a series that delves more into the power play and scheming going on behind the scenes and filling the pages with mind-numbing action and terror. However, I love this book as a standalone written the way it was. I have nothing against series in general, especially a well-written series. However, it's also good to have books like Dangerous out there. Not everything needs to be an epic adventure or filled with intrigue around every corner. As Maisie reminds us, the process of saving the world isn't always on par with the big bang. Though she goes through a lot of bad things and has to make a lot of important decisions, Maisie is still a teenage girl at heart and needs the support of her friends and family.
More than a high stakes sci-fi fantasy adventure, Dangerous is a coming-of-age story about making potentially life-altering decision, learning to trust our instincts and others, and falling in love for the first time. Shannon Hale is an amazing writer, and with Dangerous, she's shown her ability to branch out into other genres. I'm looking forward to seeing what she'll bring to us next!
with much Love!
On another note
I can't begin to talk about how much I love this book! It has so many elements that I've wanted to see more in YA lit. There's the family being present and involved. It's unrealistic that so many families drop of the radar in YA fantasy/paranormal/mystery/thriller books. I mean, in a messed-up situation that's bigger than life I'd be sorely tempted to turn to my family for help. . . unless I was seriously afraid for them, then I'd come up with some reason for them not to worry, and Maisie takes a shot at both of these things. There's also the diversity being well handled, the scientific angles, and the nicely done romance. And all the other super cool plot twists that I can't talk about, so I'm going to stop here before I start giving spoilers. If anyone's read the book (or after you've read the book), I'd love to talk about it with you! If Shannon Hale wasn't already one of my favorite authors, she'd be on my list now after Dangerous!
On a safer note, I love the symbolic cover! Not only is it perfect for a sci-fi fantasy, it's different from what's starting to become the norm of models posing in pretty dresses. As much as I like looking at pretty dresses, I typically do that on shopping sites, not staring at book covers. And it would have been weird to see Maisie posing prettily for the cover. It doesn't seem like her style.