(Belated) ARC Review - Dreadnought by April Daniels
This review was originally published on Tumblr on February 13, 2017 as part of an old project of mine, the Diverse/Lady Book Project. In migrating to Substack, I’ve decided to reproduce this post here, for consistency. And because I lost a bunch of old book reviews when other bloggers deleted them from their websites. Please enjoy 2017 Amanda’s review of Dreadnought.
This review is coming several weeks after publication (sorry!), but I got this book as a egalley from NetGalley, and read it in the week leading up to its publication. And boy, oh boy! I loved it so much! The quick rundown is this—Danny Tozer is a transgender girl who finally gets to be herself in the body she’s always wanted. How did this happen? Well, she happened to be the only witness to Dreadnought’s death, and he passed his powers along to Danny. Are you confused? Ha. Danny lives in a world where superheroes are the norm, and Dreadnought was one of the greatest. And now, she’s Dreadnought, although she’s technically too young to pledge her allegiance to any cause or fight any crime. The whole book is about Danny coming to terms with her new self, with her conservative and close-minded family, with her friends, and with her new powers. It’s so good and pure and I had no idea that what I truly needed was a book about a trans girl superhero. But it was exactly what I needed.
3 Things I Loved
Calamity. You guys. Calamity was the best, and her friendship with Danny was just the bee’s knees. (I ship them so hard.) She only has marginal superpowers—nothing like Danny’s—and she considers herself a graycape because she’s sort of a Robin Hood character—she steals sometimes, but only for the greater good. Complex? Check. Funny? Check. A good friend to our realistic and endearing hero? Check check check.
Human flight. Sure, I’ve seen humans fly in movies and on TV, but it was so cool to read about it rather than see it. I’m a words person, so I personally enjoyed the experience of reading the descriptions and picturing it all in my head. Loved it.
Pure evil (in the form of a supervillain). We are living in a shitty and complex world right now, where evil is nuanced. That’s why I loved this—there was no question about who the bad guy/lady was and whether or not she was bad. She wanted world domination. Obviously bad! It was so black and white, so simple, and I appreciated that after reading too much about current events.
If there were problems with the representation of a transgender girl in this book, I wouldn’t know anything about it—that’s outside my lane, and I’m not going to touch it. For what it’s worth, this is an #ownvoices book, so I’m guessing everything is based on the author’s personal experience. The only thing that I feel comfortable commenting on was a line near the very beginning of the book, where Danny comments on Calamity “looking Latina.” I believe it was in reference to her eyes. As a person who has been told TO MY FACE that the only way people can tell I’m not white is because of my eyes, and who has also been told my eyes look like sewage, I flinched when I read that line. It’s one of those things—not intentionally a slur, but it’s hard to know other people’s experiences and what may or may not offend them. So that’s my only gripe, and it’s a minor one.
A reminder of the rating scale:
Red = DNF, I hated everything
Orange = Ugh, no thank you
Yellow = I mean, I’ve read worse, but there were problems
Green = This was good, but not something I’d reread
Blue = Oh my gosh, everyone should be reading this book
Purple = This is the unicorn of books and I will be rereading it until the binding falls apart
I’ve never read anything like this, and I cannot wait for the next installment in the series. Superheroes! Who doesn’t like superheroes! And I can’t help but ship Calamity/Sarah and Dreadnought/Danny—they were so much fun together! So. Given that information, I’m going to give Dreadnought a BLUE rating. I loved it so much.