Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Me on Dreadnought

Title: Dreadnought
Author: April Daniels
Release Date: January 24, 2017
Publisher: Diversion Books

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.

Dreadnought is powerful and explosive. It's about identity and power, about good and evil, about safety and danger. It's about hope and fear, about sacrifice and strength, about making the difficult decisions that we think come easily and naturally for those we call heroes.

Danny is kind and caring, but afraid of what should be the safest place in her life: her home. Her father constantly berates her and criticizes her, refusing to listen to Danny's point of view. Refusing to understand that Danny is a girl, that Danny is transgender. After Danny's transition, after Dreadnought gave her his powers and her body changed, the excitement and the joy in her voice is unmistakable. She's finally in a body that she wants to be in. She looks and sounds the way she wants to. Danny is finally happy, but it doesn't last. Her father is still furious, derisive and emotionally abusive towards her. And while the local superheroes are happy that Dreadnought's powers are still available, some aren't so interested in a lesbian transgender superhero.

I found the superhero aspect to be interesting. There's this new trend of superhero stories where authors look at the grey areas of being a protector and saving cities. The moral aspects, the financial aspects. The human aspects. For all their powers, they're still people. They still have loved ones, hopes and dreams, personal lives. Seeing the other side of superheroes lives, the 'home from work' side, is great. But I also appreciated the awesome fight scenes.

The start of Danny's story as a superhero certainly has some highs and some lows. There were times when I was so happy for Danny, going shopping for girls' clothes, flying around New Port City. Hanging out with an actual girl friend. And the times when Danny was beaten down and depressed, all the times her father would hurl insult after insult at her, I was so upset during those moments. I would definitely recommend this to those who enjoyed Heroine Complex or Superior, to those looking for some powerful diverse YA.

(I received an e-galley of this title to review from Diversion Books through NetGalley.)

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