November 15, 2016
Dreadnought, by April Daniels
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.
I’m gonna talk about Dreadnought, by April Daniels. When I requested it on Netgalley, I only read the first line of the description: “Danny Tozer has a problem: she just inherited the powers of the world’s greatest superhero.” Heck yeah! A superhero novel. I’ve also written a superhero novel and I wondered how April would handle writing a story that is usually the domain of comics and movies.
I started reading Dreadnought one Friday evening and read until I just couldn’t keep my eyes open. After a few scant hours of sleep, I just had to finish reading it. Dreadnought is an epic superhero novel. What’s that? You got to the second line in the description and it gave you pause? That’s understandable. What kind of superhero tale has a transgender hero?
I’m here to tell you that because Danny Tozer is transgender, Dreadnought is a five-star read. Don’t get me wrong, it’d still be a great story, but the depth of emotion contained within the pages of Dreadnought… You’ll chuckle. You’ll hold your breath. Your heart will break when you read the tribulations of Danny Tozer. You’ll root for Danny Tozer because this action packed taut tale will have you turning pages, hungry for more words.
If you like superheroes (who doesn’t with both Marvel and DC raking in the big bucks these last few years,) or you like sci-fi, you will absolutely love Dreadnought. I’ll read the second book, Sovereign when it’s available from Diversion Books this summer (hopefully before.) Read Dreadnought. Go on, pre-order it. You won’t be sorry.
April Daniels graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a degree in literature, and then promptly lost her job during the 2008 stock crash and recession. After she recovered from homelessness, she completed her first manuscript by scribbling a few sentences at a time between calls while working in the customer support department for a well-known video game console. She has a number of hobbies, most of which are boring and predictable. As nostalgia for the 1990s comes into its full bloom, she has become ever more convinced that she was born two or three years too late and missed all the good stuff the first time around. Early in her writing practice, April set her narrative defaults to “lots of lesbians” and never looked back.