by April Daniels
Published on January 24, 2017 by Diversion Publishing
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
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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 much 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.
Do you ever feel like a book isn’t meant for you?
This book wasn’t meant for me. It’s an important story, but not mine.
Danny is transgender, not a protagonist prospective I’ve had the pleasure of reading a story from before (and I cannot say whether this representation was done well or not). And while I enjoyed this book to a degree, the delivery wasn’t engaging. I never connected fully with Danny, nor the rest of the cast. They fell flat beyond a few key details when there was the potential to really bring them alive.
Nor was I a huge fan of the superhero world created. And a lot of it was because there wasn’t enough. The world works as it stands, a bit out there much like you would expect from a superhero comic but it’s a bit empty beyond that. I wanted more substance, more explanation, for the world, to see it as more than just the background music in a crowded restaurant.
The whole comic vibe could have worked, I think. In fact, I’d love to see this book as a graphic novel. But I found the pacing all over the place. This book addresses a number of issues and I think it’s an important story to have out in the world but as a source of entertainment (which is generally why I read over anything else).
Honestly, I feel like I really don’t have much to say about Dreadnought. This book wasn’t for me, wasn’t written for me, and I didn’t find it as entertaining as I had hoped.