I will never give this up. I will never be what they want me to be.
What would you do if one day you became a super power and a different gender all in one moment? Well after a few moments, since such transformations take time, you would deal with your trans-phobic parents, decide if you want to become a superhero, and still attend high school.
Fifteen years trapped. Seven of those, aware of my prison and screaming inside.
That is Dreadnought in a nutshell. It is a fantastic story whose main strength is its main character, Danny. By seeing the world through Danny’s eyes, we are able to witness her transitions, her emotional breakthroughs and breakdowns. We feel the hurtful words that her parents throw at her and feel the way they permeate her mind and damage her self-confidence. (Just a quick note on this, there is a lot of trans-phobia and hate language that is thrown at Danny) She is a complex character going through a challenging period of major changes. Her superhero transformation is mirrored by her coming to terms with her identity. At moments funny, others heartbreaking, and others making us raise our fist, her journey and perspective remain enlightening the whole novel through. And it gets better because her sidekick is also diverse and with an intricate backstory too!
Saying it out loud gives it power and my nervousness fades away. I feel good. Whatever happens now, I can deal with it.
It is also worth mentioning that the world building is rich as well building on many super hero tropes in different ways. Daniels does not let Danny get off the hook with a simple “do I become a super hero or not?” There are many other possibilities that force Danny to examine her own desires and use the time to explore her options.
You feel like you’re a girl, you live it, it’s part of you? Then you’re a girl.
The book complicates the black and white, the male and female, the good and the bad, resulting in a wonderful book that is worthwhile to read. As one who does not normally read super hero books or action stories, you can easily read this. It does not overly spend time on either elements, instead focusing more on the characterization and foundation of Danny’s character. Not hours later, I am already looking forward to the next book in the series to find out Danny’s further path. You can pick up a copy for yourself here, add it to Goodreads, or check out her site.
Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for an honest review from Netgalley.
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If you liked this book, you might like my diversity spotlights #2.