Dreadnought by April Daniels
Review by Lauren
source: copy from Netgalley; all opinions are my own
Official Summary: Danny Tozer has a problem: she just inherited the powers of the world’s greatest superhero. Until Dreadnought fell out of the sky and died right in front of her, she was trying to keep people from finding out she’s transgender. But then her second-hand superpowers transformed her 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 between her father’s dangerous obsession with curing her girlhood, her best friend suddenly acting like he’s entitled to date her, and the classmate who is secretly a masked vigilante, Danny’s first weeks living in a body that fits her are more difficult and complicated than she could have imagined.
She doesn’t have much time to adjust. Dreadnought’s murderer, a cyborg named Utopia, still haunts the streets of New Port City. If Danny can’t sort through the confusion of coming out, master her powers, and stop Utopia in time, humanity faces extinction.
Review: In simple terms, this YA novel is about a transgender superhero. Doesn’t that sound fantastic? It was that premise that immediately had me agreeing to review Dreadnought. This is just the first book in the Nemesis series and I can’t wait to see where Daniels goes next.
Danny Tozer has always known she was a girl, even if everyone else thinks she needs to “man up”, especially her overbearing, verbally abusive father. When the current superhero, Dreadnought, dies in front of Danny, she is given his mantle. Not only does Danny have superpowers, but she is also turned into the girl she always knew she was, and that’s how Danielle Tozer comes to be.
It’s not easy being Danny and you definitely appreciate the character as she’s hit with challenge after challenge. Her dad is determined to turn her back into a boy, and while her mom seems to slowly accept the change, she’s afraid to go up against her husband. During this time, Danny meets the other Legion superheros who worked with the previous Dreadnought. Danny is given throwaway colors to wear so she can practice her powers, instead of wearing Dreadnought’s colors. While Danny loves her powers and wants to keep her new body, she’s not sure she could ever live up to the original Dreadnought. I think most of us would feel the same way as a teenager, even if we weren’t transgender like Danny.
One of the more prominent secondary characters is Calamity. She doesn’t have superpowers, but she’s a teenager like Danny, and she goes caping at night. Caping is essentially looking out for bad things to happen – like a robbery – and stopping them. She enlists Danny to help, and she loves it, but she’s not really sure why Calamity hates the Legion so much.
All in all, this was a really enjoyable read. It could feel a bit long at times, but in general, I didn’t want to stop reading. I was curious to see what obstacles Danny would have to face and how she worked through them. The ending is especially suspenseful and exciting!
Want to read Dreadnought? Check it out on amazon (I’m an affiliate- I get a small percent of any sales).