Book Things · NetGalley · Reviews

Review: DREADNOUGHT by April Daniels

aprildaniels

Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating: 4*! 

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.

Buy it here: Amazon UK // Amazon US

More Info: Goodreads

First of all, this is a great book. Just had to get that out there. I’m not overly a fan of first person present – it has to be handled well with lots of personality for me to lose the feeling of “this is a script!” – but in April’s hands it was expertly done. I was immediately immersed in Danny’s story.

Secondly, but no less importantly, this is an OwnVoices, LGBT+ book. The main character is trans, and as April herself has said, a lot of the trans in media, when you can find rep, involves the transition and what the person goes through rather than the afterwards and focusing on their life / character in general.

Here, we have someone who clearly identifies as trans from the first page – Danny’s identity is extremely important throughout as it should be – but it’s not centered around that alone. Danny gets to have an adventure, she gets to have superpowers, she gets to save people! And STILL try and get used to her new body, and both new roles in society.

Of course it’s not that simple. As is unfortunately the case in real life, not everyone accepts that Danny is trans, including her parents and best friend. It’s somehow easier for them to accept her superpowers than it is her gender identity. It’s part of what makes this truly grounded in reality rather than “I’m changed and everything is fine!” because as truly wonderful as that would be, it’s not a common occurrence.

Danny herself is a truly likeable character with wit and I understood her moments of weakness or dispair wholeheartedly. I never doubted why she chose what she chose, the reasons were there. She reacts as you’d expect a 15 year old would, having the same doubts and defiances against oppressors who would rather shake her identity than have her happy as she is.

As for the others, I enjoyed Doctor Impossible, and the (majority) of the side characters. I didn’t warm to Calamity at first, as my suspicions were raised (is she a plant!?) but her interactions with Danny were a good foil for showing how responsible Danny is. Her sense of right and wrong, going to school, doing homework – that doesn’t go out of the window just because she’s now practically invincible.

It’s not without its faults – some of the chapters didn’t flow as fast as others with some scenes slowing the pace, and David, the best friend, wasn’t as well developed in my opinion to make me feel more upset when he pulled a total dickbag move.  But I was still pissed with him, and my heart stayed with Danny throughout.

All in all I thoroughly recommend people to pick up this book. We need more books like this; fresh and original, and having taken lots of care.

Thank you Netgalley and Diversion Books for giving me a copy of this important novel!

 

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