Hey all, Dani here,
I was approved for an e-galley of this book by NetGalley just a few days before its release, so my schedule didn’t quite work out to finish it all before release day, but I am pleased to say that I can review it now. As always, my thoughts, opinions, and rating were not affected due to receiving the galley.
Okay, so basically I’ve been trying to focus on diverse reads as much as I possibly can, while still continuing with all of my lovely fantasy and sci-fi reads, so when a novel pops up with a transgender superhero, I kinda have to read it. Dreadnought was an interesting read, and I’m glad to have read it.
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.
The first thing I want to say is that it took me a little bit to get invested in this story. Not because it wasn’t interesting or good, but because Danny has a habit of info dumping in the beginning. There were times when she would go on and on about the history of a superhero or a significant event, and it pulled me out of the story a bit.
But that settled down as the action really picked up. And like many superheroes, Danny has to deal with more than just saving the world and defeating the bad guys; she has her own issues in her civilian life. See, Danny was born a boy but has always seen herself as a girl. So when Dreadnought dies in front of her and she inherits the mantle of Dreadnought, the transfer of power actually changes her into her physical ideal. And that really brings out the negative personality traits of people like her dad and her best friend.
Thankfully Danny is able to form a friendship with Calamity, who is another cape…though Calamity is what is known as a gray cape, so she sometimes will lie, cheat, or steal to get her way. But I like the friendship between the two girls.
This book is brilliant at highlighting the different ways that people think about and treat people they see as other. From Danny’s dad and best friend, to some of the white capes in the Legion, Danny has to deal with a lot of prejudices and preconceived notions on who she should be, and who should be behind the cowl of Dreadnought.
Oh, and to top it all off, Danny is only fifteen years old. This is a beautiful coming of age story of acceptance and coming into one’s own, and just happens to have superheroes and supervillains thrown in.
And when the pieces of the puzzle started coming together and the big reveals and big boss battles happened at the end, all I could do was fly through the remaining pages because I was that invested in the story.
Okay, so this isn’t really a spoiler, but might actually be a little spoiler, but Danny has a press conference at the end of the book where she comes out as Dreadnought, a transgender woman, and also a lesbian. It kinda reminded me of the press conference Tony Stark had at the end of the first Iron Man movie. I liked that it was a moment of complete acceptance of her place in the world now. It really made me excited for the next book in the series, which will be coming in July 2017.
Overall, I gave Dreadnought a 4 star rating.