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Book review: 'Dangerous' takes Hale's writing in a science fiction direction

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 4 2015 8:41 p.m. MDT

Shannon Hale's latest book of a young adult sci-fi novel titled Shannon Hale's latest book of a young adult sci-fi novel titled "Dangerous." (Kelly Sansom)

"DANGEROUS," by Shannon Hale, Bloomsbury, $17.99, 416 pages (f) (ages 12 and up)

Maisie Danger Brown has dreamed of going into space despite the many assurances her missing arm gives her that it’s an impossible dream.

When she wins a free trip to Bonnie Howell’s space camp, Maisie finally has the chance to taste what working in space would be like. Of course, her impromptu trip in Howell’s space elevator ends in disaster, and she soon wonders if she’ll ever be able to return to normal life.

“Dangerous” is a clear departure from the fairy tales and adult fiction for which Utah author Shannon Hale is known. On the surface, there seems to be little that resembles Hale’s previous work in this new book. However, many of the core elements of Hale’s writing remain. Maisie is a strong female character. She is half-Paraguayan, one-armed, smart and resourceful, but also flawed and sometimes naïve.

"Dangerous" is a young adult novel by Utah author Shannon Hale. (Bloomsbury)

And while there is no magic in this novel, Hale creates a complicated technological world and some fantastic superpowers. There is some kissing and some deception, and people are never quite who they seem to be.

However, the story is not without its faults. The pacing is sometimes erratic, and there is a lot of plot crammed into one book. While the dialogue is witty, some of the supporting characters aren't as dynamic and seem more caricaturized than those in her previous work. Overall, the ride isn’t completely smooth, but the story and Maisie carry the day.

In “Dangerous,” which is scheduled for release March 4, all the strong language is masked by bleeps from Maisie, the narrator. There is a suggestive sexual scene, but nothing is described in detail. Violence is limited to descriptions of corpses and deaths of characters.

Hale is the author of the Books of Bayern series, the Princess Academy series, and “Austenland,” which was made into a film that was recently released on DVD. “Princess Academy,” a Newbery Honor book, has been on the New York Times best-seller's list along with Hale's "Ever After High: The Storybook of Legends."

She lives in Utah with her husband and family. She blogs at oinks.squeetus.com.

If you go ...

What: Shannon Hale book signing

When: Tuesday, March 11, 7 p.m.

Where: Viridian Event Center, 8030 S. 1825 West, West Jordan

Web: kingsenglish.com, squeetus.com

Notes: Event hosted by The King's English. Places in the signing line are reserved for those who purchase the featured book from The King's English.

Also ...

When: Saturday, March 29, 2-4 p.m.

Where: The King's English, 1511 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City

Web: kingsenglish.com, squeetus.com

Note: Places in the signing line are reserved for those who purchase a copy of the featured book from The King's English.

Emily Ellsworth is a blogger at Emily's Reading Room at emilysreadingroom.com and is dedicated to promoting a love of young adult fiction, including book reviews, author interviews and more about the latest in young adult fiction.

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