Book Review: Dangerous by Shannon Hale

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He’s dangerous, I reminded myself.

I was very excited to read this book because way back when, I had read Hale’s The Princess Academy, which I thoroughly liked. I wanted to see how she would handle a futuristic science fiction novel. Unfortunately, I can’t say I like this book anywhere near as much as her other works. My overall opinion of the book is that it’s an okay read. It is pretty much a romance in the guise of a science-fiction.

Plot: Dangerous is about a disabled one-armed girl named Maisie Danger Brown (yes, her middle name is literally Danger) who dreams of being an astronaut. She gets her chance when she wins a sweepstake and is allowed to go to space boot camp. In a turn of events, she comes into contact with alien technology, and everyone seems to be in danger from an unknown force.

One of the main problems I had with this book is the plot. It is very much filled with holes that left me questioning the author’s research because some parts are pretty detailed and scientific, so I’m confused as why there are so many holes in the story. For one thing, a bunch of eleven to eighteen year olds are sent into space on what seems to be a mere whim. There is no clearance needed – no signatures from parents for these minors.

“The container held several items of different shape but similar substances,” said Howell. “They are the first proof of alien life ever discovered. And you are about to become five of only about thirty human beings to see them and touch them.

On top of sending them to space, they let these minors touch alien technology. What the hell? Why? How did this happen?

Maisie: I’m pretty disappointed with how the book treated Maisie’s disability. Aside from comments and insults from the people around her, you wouldn’t know she is disabled. It’s a shame because you don’t get to read many books with a disabled main character, so I was really looking forward to seeing her overcome her challenges. The problem? Before you know it, Maisie gets a brilliantly functioning arm that looks real, so the disability now becomes an advantage. I wish that the book explored Maisie’s difficulties with her disability. Ultimately, it just felt like an add-on.

Also, becoming an astronaut is Maisie’s dream. This boot camp is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Instead of focusing on the prize, Maisie’s attention is occupied by a boy she meets on the first day. Screw using this opportunity to the fullest. Let’s just think about how handsome Wilder is and how his kisses feel.

So I laughed again. “I’m pretty sure there are rules against this sort of thing at astronaut boot camp.”

“I sure hope so,” said Wilder, “or it wouldn’t be nearly as fun.”

So being kicked out of this amazing astronaut boot camp is worth some fling that you’re pretty sure is not going to last? Come on, Maisie. You’re supposed to be smart.

My heart revved like a lawn mower. It was supposed to be a joke. But speaking those words made me feel them, believe them. I missed him, as if he were Luther or my family, someone I cared for who was far away.

This is about 7% into the story. Apparently, Wilder is as important as her family now.

I glanced up to see if he was bored. Instead I felt his hand on my cheek and his lips on mine. Just a touch, a softness, a greeting. One kiss that lasted seven rapid heartbeats.

We’re barely into the book, and they’re already making out.

However, I must say that I do like that Maisie grows as a person throughout the book, and I’m really glad she was able to see that her feelings were not as strong as she had thought it to be. It showed a lot of growth and maturity on her part. I also like the fact that she’s a geek. I’m a geek. I relate.

Romance:The romance is incredibly cheesy and the least interesting part of this book. There’s a love triangle and instalove. The love triangle is predictable: the best friend or a new, smooth (sometimes jerky) guy. The best friend love interest is barely even in the book, and once again, it felt like an add-on. The book could have done without it, so I don’t see the point. In addition, Maisie and Wilder’s relationship goes way too fast for it to be believable, and there are a lot of cheesy lines. Here are some examples:

“A homeschooled, black-eyed Latina.” He whistled. “You are turning into a very ripe fruit for the plucking.”

“You be Europa, and I’ll be your Jupiter.”

“You’d better not talk about microscopes anymore,” he whispered, “or I don’t know if I can control myself.”

Finishing Thoughts: Overall, this book is okay. I’m not too happy with the plot, but it does get better toward the end. There are a lot of missed opportunities in this book which is very disappointing. If you liked Hale’s earlier works, I’m not quite sure you would like this one. I wish that it focused more on the plot rather than the romance which ended up being a very weak aspect for me. This book held a lot of promise, but ultimately, it fell short.

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