Dangerous by Shannon Hale
Bloomsbury, 2014. ISBN 9781408838853.
(Age 13+) Recommended. Science fiction. Disability. Strong female character. Maisie Danger Brown is thrilled when she finds out that she has been selected to go on an astronaut boot camp, she had no idea just what was going to happen to her. She has been home schooled all her life and is eager to see more of the world. For the first time she comes up against excitement, prejudice and meets the boy of her dreams. And then there is the intergalactic conspiracy that threatens everyone. What will she be able to do to save her loved ones and herself?
I am a fan of Shannon Hale books, The book of a thousand days, and Princess Academy being favourites, as well as loving her graphic novels, Rapunzel's revengeand Calamity Jack. Dangerous is a change of genre for Hale, with this foray into science fiction and action. However this book contains her signature wry and amusing dialogue, an intrepid and clever heroine and an original plot, all of which make it an entertaining read.
Maisie Danger Brown indeed has to live up to her middle name and during the course of this adventure story she certainly does that. She manages to outwit her adversaries, even those who are scathing because of Ms Pincher, her artificial arm, and she uses all her wits to work in a team that has accidentally all gained super powers. She learns about the ethical choices that she has to make (can she let someone die?) as well as finding about family secrets and family love. Told in the first person, her sarcastic comments are a joy to read ('I remind myself that teen brains haven't developed the areas that are capable of lasting emotional commitment' pg. 404). The other characters are also fully developed, including Jonathan Wilder who Maisie finds herself drawn to.
There is action galore for those who enjoy thrilling moments, including using super powers that have come from aliens, fighting an evil corporate CEO and saving the world from an alien virus. The team working with their super powers bring a whole new dimension to the stereotypes about being superhuman, and to the moral considerations of using super powers.
A unique plot, interesting setting and in-depth character building make this a most enjoyable read.