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D is for Dangerous

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“And then,” Shannon leaned in close, her voice hardly more than a whisper, “they kissed.”

“Oho, Ms. Hale!” I exclaimed, clapping my hands together. “I see what you did there. That was rather clever, really.”

The woman leaned back in her seat, taking a sip from her steaming mug of cocoa to hide her smile. “Well, I do pride myself on my rapier wit.”

I reached for the crusty bear-shaped bottle of honey set on the kitchen table, scraping some of the crystallized sugary goodness out and stirring it into my tea. The secret to the perfect brew is to use old, nearly solid honey. That way, it melts slowly and you get to suck the little leftover bits off of the spoon. “I am simply adoring all of these science jokes,” I continued. “Warms me right down to my nerdy bones.”

“Oh, it’s just too much fun,” Shannon said. “But what do you think of Dragon?”

“Well, the name did catch my attention,” I said, nodding thoughtfully. “Though I did think for a moment he was a transgender. Weird misunderstanding there.”

Shannon laughed, nearly snorting hot chocolate all over the table. “Really?” she said. “Oh, goodness!”

I giggled. “I know! Not to mention–” I cut off, a strange, high-pitched whistling noise ringing in my ears.

Then the kitchen exploded.


The above excerpt accurately represents my reaction to Shannon Hale’sd most recent novel, Dangerous. (Which, for my fellow A to Z challengers, is my D for today.)

Before I get into the nitty-gritty of this review, however, I would like to offer the following disclaimer: I am a huge fan of Shannon Hale. I adore her books. I read her blog. I wish she was my next door neighbor so we could talk books and writing and political issues and how gosh darn cute her kids are. As such, I might be slightly biased in my review. But that’s okay, because I’ll try to be entertaining while I’m about it.

Dangerous is a book about super heroes. It’s also a book about first love, about trusting your family, about doing what’s right even when you’re scared out of your mind, and also just how awesome(ly fun) it is to be a science nerd. If you like science fiction, or super heroes, or Shannon Hale, I highly recommend this book.

To be completely honest, though, the first section of the book might feel a little bit…meh. Mediocre? No, not exactly — more distant, really. The entire first part of the book I got this surreal sensation that I was simply skimming the book, pausing to snicker at a few well-placed jokes. I understand now that this first section is not the story Hale was setting out to tell, but it was necessary background for the rest of the book to make sense. I kind of wish she’d told it in flashbacks rather than skimping on the details, but I had fun with it either way — even if only because it felt like a fantastic little tea party with one of my favorite authors.

And then the first character died, which basically dropped a nuclear bomb on my tea party.

But in a good way.


For a science fiction novel splattered with super heroes, aliens, alien technology, space elevators, and mutant diseases, Dangerous felt like a strangely realistic book to me. The danger feels real, the emotions feel real, but more than anything, the world feels real. I can’t really figure out how to explain this. For example, when Maisie, our main character, gets herself into trouble, she actually involves her parents. Which I can never, in the history of ever, recall reading in a YA novel before.

I don’t know what else to say but read this book. I loved the characters. I loved the story. Sure, there were places where the distant, skimming-writing pulled me out, but the humor more than made up for it. It’s a fun read, and I can (almost) guarantee you’ll love it as much as I did.

And now, in closing (and since I promised Sabrina A. Fish more corny puns), what do you call a dangerous precipitation? A rain of terror.


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14 responses »

  1. That intro really pulled me. When the kitchen exploded, my first thought was “oh h***! What now?” Then I reread the intro to find out if I missed some potentially exploding things. There were none. Then I wondered who can make things explode and how… ja, I want to know more. and I can see why you like shannon hale.

    • This book was actually quite a deviation from Hale’s usual writing. The voice is similar to works she has done before, but the plot is drastically different. That was part of what caused the kitchen-explosion reaction from me. And everyone could use an explosion here and there once in a while, no?

  2. Interesting. I’d never heard of this one but I’ll have to check it out, maybe add it to the mountain of books I’d like to read some day.

    A to Z commenter
    Reading at Dawn blog

    • I know what you mean by “mountain” — I have a GoodReads account, and my “to-read” list is 117 books long (and constantly growing…). Dangerous managed to get bumped up to the top because I’d been waiting for several years for it to come out. I’d scowl and maybe wag a chiding finger at Hale for taunting me with teasers on her blog for so long, but I loved it enough that I can’t bring myself to do so.

  3. I love it when a book just blows me away like that. ;) Nice to meet you.

    • Likewise! (Though I apologize for taking so long to reply…) I don’t know that “blew me away” is quite the right phrase to describe my reaction, however. It was more like I was enjoying a light, tea-party-esque read when — BAM — I fell into the rabbit hole and was completely absorbed in the story.

  4. Science Fiction isn’t my normal genre to read. I enjoyed reading your review so much, though, that I felt compelled to comment. Thank you for the entertaining read.
    Gail visiting for AtoZ

    • I personally love science fiction, but this was actually Hale’s first scifi novel. She’s well known for her fairytale-esque fantasy writing, like the award winning Princess Academy, or The Goose Girl. She’s written a few contemporary novels as well (such as Austenland, which was recently adapted into a movie). Most people who disliked Dangerous felt so because they’ve come to expect fantasy from Hale, so while you might not appreciate this one you might like one of her others. Thank you for your comments! :D

  5. She does sound like a interesting Author but not one I have heard of. But that is because I do not read these types of books but my husband does and so I will let him know about her and he can check out the book.

    • This is Hale’s first science fiction novel — most of her books are fairytale-esque fantasy, so you might appreciate one of her other books better. Thank you for the comment!

  6. The excerpt you chose is perfect for compelling me to get this book now. :)

    One of AJ’s AtoZ wHooligans
    Tales of a Pee Dee Mama

    • I’m glad you appreciated it! I had a little too much fun writing it, I’m afraid. (Unless you subscribe to the belief that there’s no such thing as too much fun, in which case I didn’t have enough fun.) Thanks for the comment! :D


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