by Shannon Hale
YA Science Fiction
Amazon / Goodreads
Plot Summary:When Maisie Danger Brown nabbed a spot at a NASA-like summer boot camp, she never expected to uncover a conspiracy that would change her life forever.
And she definitely didn't plan to fall in love.
But now there's no going back—Maisie's the only thing standing between the Earth and annihilation. She must become the hero the world needs. The only problem is: how does a regular girl from Salt Lake City do that, exactly? It's not as though there's a handbook for this sort of thing. It's up to Maisie to come up with a plan—and find the courage to carry it out—before she loses her heart . . . and her life.
Equal parts romance and action-adventure, this explosive story is sure to leave both longtime Shannon Hale fans and avid science fiction readers completely breathless.
Review:I love Shannon Hale's writing. I've read some of her fairy tale retellings, and her contemporary works and I think she spins story and character beautifully. Somehow in this new science fiction adventure though, the characters and the story fell a little flat for me. Mostly in the beginning though - I think the story comes together much better as it moves on. But the way we are introduced to Maisie and the summer camp felt rushed and I didn't feel much of a connection with these characters. I was also a bit disappointed by the romance which wasn't as well developed. It's so strange because the plot is really great - full of action and really clever ideas and twists. I was also pleasantly surprised by how much solid scientific information explains all the technology and inventions. There were many witty one-liners and fun puns too, which made for lots of humor.
I did like the main character Maisie alot - she has a great sense of humor, especially about her disability which she never lets stop her. But she felt closed off sometimes which made it hard to really understand her as a character. And that also meant I wasn't as invested in the romance, which has it's own twists which made me very confused about who I was rooting for near the end. Wilder especially was so ambiguous, and smarmy and handsome and manipulative, and I wasn't very interested in seeing whether or not he could win Masie over. And that was a significant part of the book.
The found family with the fire team was also disappointing. The character development felt rushed and while there were times when I liked how one or the other worked in the story, I never really felt invested in them or their actions.
There was a lot to enjoy about this book however. I loved the intelligence of the story and the way poetry and Shakespeare was worked in. The plot was very clever with a lot going on, and also featuring a really great empowering resolution. And one character really stood out for me - Dragon - who was such an understated hero and a moving character. While this is a very readable book that is sometimes hard to put down, I'm not sure it will stay with me because I found the characters oddly lackluster.
(I received this book from the publisher or author for a fair and honest review. I was not compensated for this review.)