Disclaimer: I received Dreadnought from the publisher (through NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
( Nemesis #1 )
Author: April Daniels
Published: 24. January 2017
Edition: Diversion Books
ebook, 276 pages
Genre: Fantasy | LGBT+
Danny Tozer has a problem: she just inherited the powers of Dreadnought, the world’s greatest superhero. Until Dreadnought fell out of the sky and died right in front of her, Danny was trying to keep people from finding out she’s transgender. But before he expired, Dreadnought passed his mantle to her, and those secondhand superpowers transformed Danny’s body into what she’s always thought it should be. Now there’s no hiding that she’s a girl.
It should be the happiest time of her life, but Danny’s first weeks finally living in a body that fits her are more difficult and complicated than she could have imagined. Between her father’s dangerous obsession with “curing” her girlhood, her best friend suddenly acting like he’s entitled to date her, and her fellow superheroes arguing over her place in their ranks, Danny feels like she’s in over her head.
She doesn’t have time to adjust. Dreadnought’s murderer—a cyborg named Utopia—still haunts the streets of New Port City, threatening destruction. If Danny can’t sort through the confusion of coming out, master her powers, and stop Utopia in time, humanity faces extinction.
◄ 3 out of 5 stars ►
Trigger warnings: transphobia, emotional and verbal abuse
(trigger warnings are written in white)
First and foremost, this is a very important book that I think many people should read. It is an own-voices story about a transwoman in a superhero society. I struggled with the rating for this book. On one hand I understand how important this book and representation is, on the other I didn’t enjoy the reading experience due to the anxiety that this book triggered for me
(which I’ll get into later). This is a case of it’s me not you, I feel that a lot of people would love this book!
I really liked Danny, our main heroine. She was such an inspiring character. It was amazing seeing her face the challenges that came her way. Danny is also a very flawed character, which made her feel more real. Her reactions to different situations, while sometimes difficult to read
(because of the situations), felt genuine and raw. I enjoyed learning more about her as the story progressed. As I already mentioned in the beginning, Danny is a transwoman and she is also a lesbian. I can’t speak about how the representation was executed, as I’m neither a lesbian nor trans.
The reason my anxiety kicked in
(which I mentioned in the beginning) is due to the transphobia in this book. It was very difficult for me to read about other characters being horrible towards Danny. Due to my anxiety I felt uncomfortable while reading this book, which is why I couldn’t rate it higher. There was also another reason for my anxiety kicking in, but it is very personal and I don’t want to go into it here.
The story was interesting and very fast paced. It took me a bit to get into it properly, but I found myself intrigued after the first fifty or so pages. I do wish we got some scenes from Danny’s normal life, like her getting used to her new body or just her hanging out. The story felt a bit too fast paced at times. I found the world-building to be lacking. As I mentioned in the beginning this is a world of superheroes. The technology is also very advanced in this world, which was interesting. I just feel that the world could have been developed more.
(I can’t really explain what exactly I mean without getting into spoilers.)
Dreadnought is an important and very interesting book. While I didn’t enjoy it as much as I hoped I would, due to personal reasons, I still think that many people need to read this book. I definitely recommend checking it out!