Mini Review: Dangerous by Shannon Hale

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Title: Dangerous
Author: Shannon Hale (Twitter)
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publish Date: March 4, 2014
Genre: YA, Sci-Fi
Pages: 400
Source: Publisher

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?
Readers of my blog know that science fiction is my thing. It's the bread and butter of this blog these days, so you'd better believe that Dangerous had me wondering why in the heck I'd waited so very long to read it. However, upon reading past the premise and actually opening the novel, I believe it's fair to say that I understood why the hype was so very little for this novel. Shannon Hale is a best-selling author in her own right and, having read some of her work and enjoyed it in the past, I must say that I simply believe that this is a case of an author stepping a bit too far from her comfort zone. It's the type of novel that offers you perfection with a powerful and enticing premise, but only delivers a fairly mediocre result.

Dangerous gives readers a strong and straight science-fiction direction from the start, offering our characters the chance to go to space. Maisie has always dreamed of going to space and doing something more important than she might otherwise accomplish here on Earth. With her best friend Luther, she is determined to make something of herself. This, in and of itself, sounds like a great setup, and I was thrilled that we were going to be offered a strong protagonist with a male best friend. The only problem is that we soon realize Luther's only purpose is to become the third corner of a love triangle that is weighted far heavier than the actual plot points of the novel. Furthermore, our third love interest, Jonathan Wilder, simply enters to fill that void for a "bad boy," and readers are forced to watch as science-fiction melts down into a sort of syrupy romance.

Being a fan of Ms. Hale's, I read the full novel, hoping to see that the character tropes, which are extremely overabundant, relationship drama and  teenage lingo would settle and make way for the actual meat of the plot. Unfortunately, however, I found that Dangerous actually fell a bit more flat as time went on. Though readers anticipate danger and intrigue, the novel falls flat in that aspect, giving us little more than moody teenagers and hints at powerful science fiction plot lines. Maisie, though I desperately wanted to love her, could have been a stronger character due to her disability. Born with one arm, she had the chance to be strong, and empowering and sure. Instead, I felt as though her disability was merely a crutch for some teenage cruelty throughout.

I mean this sincerely when I say that I really wanted to love Dangerous. Ms. Hale is author to some of the most enjoyable books, including the Princess Academy and The Books of Bayern series. I wanted to love this one, but I couldn't get over the fact that so much of the novel felt trite and cliche. I give it a 2 out of 5, and I urge you to try the author's other titles, but if you enjoy science fiction lite, this is for you.

I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.


  1. I have this book sitting on my shelf and I tried reading it a couple times, but it just never grabbed my attention. Now I know why. =/ Such a shame because it does sound like a great premise.

  2. Oh bummer! I just read a similar book, Control, that really grated on my nerves. I was so looking forward to this one! I was really excited when I saw it at the ALA conference this past summer. Oh well, I'll have to approach it with low expectations and hope that would make my reading experience a bit more tolerable. Sorry this one didn't work out for you, Melissa.

  3. Good on you for finishing this one Melissa! I made it to about page 60 and simply couldn't work up the enthusiasm to continue. I don't even think the love triangle had been formed yet by the time I stopped, and that would have driven me crazy so I'm glad I decided not to feel too guilty and just set this book aside. I haven't read any other books by her, but it's good to know you're a fan of her other works, I'll have to check those out instead:)

  4. I'm a sci-fi fan like you, Melissa, but I think I'm going to skip this one. I've heard similar statements that Hale has stepped too far out of her comfort zone with this, so your review has only cemented the fact that this isn't for me. Wonderful, concise review dear! :)

  5. The premise sounds wonderful and I am sorry it fell flat. Some author's easily move from one genre to the next, and like you I have enjoyed other books by her. Thanks for sharing Melissa :)

  6. Eh, I can't say this is the book for me :/

  7. Oh, thank God I didn't fall for the name on the book! I thought surely this author couldn't go wrong, but maybe some authors can't switch from their genre to something completely foreign. And some can. I'm glad you read this. I would have been wondering if this was good. I'm sorry it was not a win for you. But nice job reviewing it!

  8. I'm sorry to see this didn't live up to your expectations, Melissa! The words "love triangle" usually has me running the other way, but I did just enjoy a series where it didn't diminish my enjoyment. Sounds like this is not the case here. Great honest review. :)

  9. " triangle that is weighted far heavier than the actual plot points of the novel"

    Ah, the dreaded love triangle! That's a shame. It can be tolerated, when well written, but I tend to be one of those readers who needs more plot, less love triangles.

    Nice honest review :)

  10. I've had this sitting on my Kindle for months, just calling my name. And then some reviews like yours have popped up, making me slightly hesitant. I want so badly to love it because it's Shannon Freaking Hale, but I'm scared. Hopefully it won't disappoint to badly. Thanks for the honest review.

  11. Agreed. Sadly, it did fall flat. It didn't help that I had relatively high expectations but still. Flat.


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