June 19, 2014
Dangerous by Shannon Hale
by Shannon Hale
Maisie Danger Brown can’t believe her luck when she manages to snag a spot at astronaut camp. All her life, Maisie has dreamed of being an astronaut. Home schooled, her parents have never put limits on her in spite of the fact that she only has one arm. She expects comments about it, but the childishness still surprises her.
Then she catches the attention of a good-looking boy who is always the center of a flock of “popular kids.” She’s not sure how she pulls it off but soon she’s Wilder’s girlfriend. For the first time in her life, she ‘s breaking rules and taking chances for no reason other than to have fun.
And camp is fun in addition to being hard work, but the work is worth it. Maisie loves all things astronaut. And her team is good, solving problems quicker than anyone else. Of course, this is what gives them the special opportunity that leads to them all being infected with nanomites — tiny computers that give each of them a special power — super intelligence (Wilder), techno intelligence (Maisie), strength, the ability to generate armor and the ability to fire small items like bullets. Their abilities are so specific; there must be a reason behind it all.
But not everyone handles their powers equally well. Some team members become emotionally unstable. Will they figure it out before the group falls apart?
Admittedly, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Dangerous. I’m a huge Shannon Hale fan but I admittedly prefer her fantasy Goose Girl, Edna Burning, and The Book of a Thousand Days. The characters in Dangerous are just as complex and well drawn as her fantasy characters. Because they populate the near future, the world building isn’t as difficult but I wish Hale had spent a bit more time setting things up.
Still, when things get moving, they get moving and the plot quickly builds. Readers will find themselves rooting for Maisie as they try to sort the good guys from the bad — never an easy task in one of Hale’s books. That said, I think that’s one of her greatest strengths. She shows the fine line between hero and villain and makes it clear that no one, but no one, is without flaw.
Readers who like light science fiction should pick this one up. It isn’t too techno for those who don’t want that aspect and the setting is, for the most part, recognizably Earth and the near-future U.S.