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Dreadnought

Narrated by: Natasha Soudek
Series: Nemesis (Daniels), Book 1
Length: 11 hrs and 28 mins
Categories: Teens, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
4.5 out of 5 stars (710 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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 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.

Original cover art copyright Diversion Publishing Corp.

©2017 April Daniels (P)2017 Audible, Inc.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Beating super villains? Easy. Self-acceptance...?

As a very queer trans lady, this story was relatable on a multitude of levels. While I haven't had *every* verbal battle with my parents as Danielle, I could repeat about 90% of them from memory while they were happening.

I feel I should address some issues that certain groups of people might have with this story.

First, cis people will probably think that Danielle talked about being trans too much. They might think that no one would say that things that Graywytch said. Neither of these are valid criticisms. When a trans person is closeted and then even more when they come out pretty much the entire weight of western society tries to shove them back into repressing or suppressing their identity. It happened to me, and I've seen it happen to three of my friends. Fighting back is a constant struggle even when we've known the truth for years. Danielle going through it was simultaneously painful and affirming. As for Graywytch, well... Let's put it this way. I only rarely get mad at fictional characters, and until now, I have never so desperately wanted to see one end up dead. Why? Well, because she uses the same rhetoric and tactics as real-life TERFs. I half think that April just copied some TERF's post for one of Graywytch's rants. The spelling, more than anything, gives it away -- a classic TERF practice is to spell "women" as "womyn." If you thought that her rant was too heavy-handed, then please, please take it up with the women that police our gender, and get them to stop.

Secondly (and that was a pretty long first point), I'd like to talk to the other trans people who might want to read this. If you haven't made peace (in whatever form) with your family situation, you might want to wait to read this. Get it, and let yourself wait until you're ready. Vindication and validation can wait for you in your pocket -- in the form of a fifteen-year-old girl. And she is fifteen and just out as trans and lacking any other queer people to support her. Keep that in mind with some of the language she uses. Be kind to her -- she's got a lot of internalized stuff to work through. On top of rhat, she hasn't had support in working through it - quite the opposite, in fact -- and she's so incredibly young.

That stuff aside, I had a few minor quibbles with the writing itself, mainly in terms of word repetition and the passage of time feeling more like something I had to keep track of than something visible in the world. That makes some of the dramatic irony seems strange until you think back on realize that enough time has passed for certain things to no longer be obvious to the characters. Despite those minor issues I had with it, I like the use of a superhero story to explore the almost illogical reality of domestic abuse. It really underscores how physical power can have so little bearing on the situation as to be meaningless.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to a friend (and have already, in fact), and I will be picking up the sequel.

I don't know if you read the Amazon comments, April, but if you do, good on you for writing this. Thanks for representing me.

138 of 161 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A wonderful new take on a coming-of-age/coming-out story

I loved Danny the main character. She is wonderfully drawn by the author. I think the book is great balance of superhero action and teen introspection. Her experiences of coming out as trans, the excitement and the hurt, the family that shuns her and the family she begins to create, all feel true to the experience of many trans kids. I do wish there was a cathartic shouting match with her father where she really got to tell him off. But we don’t always get that release :) It would also be interesting to dig deeper into the conflict between Greywitch and Danny, maybe offer the counter argument from another superfeminist. All the conflict Danny faces is real and the hateful things said come from reality. However, it’d be cool to see some nuance or depth explored so the characters weren’t so black and white or that showed growth... maybe the parents will get woke in the next few books and their can be reconciliation :) The superhero world that April Daniels creates is interesting and more superhuman than hero. I love the special powers economy she creates!

My only criticism is the narrator. Most of her voice work is great. However, it drives me crazy when people fall back on Southern accents when voicing people who are dumb/poor/mean. The story is set in Washington State near Seattle. Why would there be Southern accents?! Please adjust for next book!

20 of 25 people found this review helpful

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Spectacular!

Listened straight through in a single sitting! I worried that the magical transformation would be cliché and strip Danny of her transness like I've seen so many times before, but it was so far from that! Hell, the speech in chapter 7 is one of the most powerful pieces of trans affirmation I've ever heard. Could not recommend this book enough!

54 of 69 people found this review helpful

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  • David
  • humble, TX, United States
  • 08-09-17

Trans Role Model Needed but Not Found

I went into this book excited thinking that a trans superhero was a great idea. When I finished with it, I came out highly disappointment.

The main problem with this book is it's very weak main character Danny. Told from her pov, Danny spends most of the book wining about her situation, giving into the will of others, being silent when she needs to speak out, and in general having her actions dictated to her by events. Danny rarely stands up for being trans by saying this is who I am and the few times she does its because she has been backed into a corner. Which makes it less of her owning her femininity and more of her just lashing out. Which is a complete shame. If the author was looking to write a role model for trans teens she failed. Readers might sympathize with Danny and feel like they are in the same boat but what they will not get is a role model. While I agree that Danny should have started out a bit on the weak side, she should have also grown in character and not stay the same. If she had been role model she would have shown how, you can be who you truly are and fight adversity..... not hide from it.

The other big problem is, most of its secondary characters are stereotypical, one note and are only there to show how mean the world can be. You have the former best friend who cant cope with her change. His reaction to her change makes little sense and its hard to see why he is acting the way he does. On a side note Danny when he acts like a ass to her, Danny responds by threatening to expose a body issue he has shared with her in confidence. Seeing as Danny has had to live with body image issues all her life this come of as both cruel and hypocritical. As for other characters you have the macho dad who has a temper and cant deal with Danny being a girl. You have the mother who is to weak to stand up to the father. You have a fellow hero who sets out to ruin her just because she is trans. While this might be realistic to a point, after all there are those out there who are that bigoted. The problem is this bigoted hero named Greywytch, ironically comes off like the wicked witch of west and not a real person.

The only good thing I can say is, the narrator does a great job with the material she is given.

My recommendation is to give this book a pass. I find it really sad to say that.... trans teens need good role models they can identify with.

20 of 28 people found this review helpful

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Great story! Opened my eyes.

I really enjoyed the story, both the superhero and the transgender lines. Give it a try, you may be surprised.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Flawed and perfect, this book has something to say

It's a mashup of transgender coming of age and comicbook superhero. At it's best, the superhero aspects of this book mimic and reinforce a story of a young woman struggling for identity. At it's worst, they distract from a far more compelling plot.

After all, how can a supervillain bent on world domination compete with a father intent on trapping his daughter in the wrong body?

But Daniels realizes this and manages to keep the coming of age plot alive throughout the book, only neglecting it for a few chapters. The opening, in particular, is striking, as the author doesn't pull any punches and lets us know exactly what it feels like to be transgendered. Yes, the main character is vulnerable, and at times weak, but aren't we all? If she were overly confident it would destroy an inner struggle that is so fascinating.

I wish she would have explored the family a bit deeper, David and the mother both seem like they weren't fleshed out enough, and the issues at school seem to have been glossed over.

While I do feel like Daniels doesn't quite have the formula down just yet, it's a new formula and well worth your attention. I look forward to seeing what she can do in the future.

Soudek's performance is engaging, and fun. All the characters have distinct voices. The book is written in the present tense which would normally annoy me to no end, but Soudek puts a lot of effort into inflecting in just the right way to keep the prose clear and understandable.

(On a technical note, there are several pops in the recording (maybe 40 in all) where you can hear edits. This can be avoided if you only cut and stitch a recording where the waveform is at zero)

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Awesome story with a trans badass

absolutely loved it and it's really meaningful to finally have a character I connect with

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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hope

this story had me cry and smile and laugh and scream. totally amazing first book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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wonderful! just wonderful.

I could not stop listening once I started til I reached the end. but warning you really hate a couple of the characters in this book. so much raw emotion. riveting!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Good but not great

I like this book's world, and the characters, but the writing got bogged down at points. The narrator also really struggled with male voices.

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Paige
  • 04-01-18

I needed this so so much

this was absolutely beautiful and wonderful and amazing. I needed this story so damn much and I hope it helps others

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • sam coupland
  • 05-26-17

Brilliant

Loved this book. I eagerly await volume two. Great story and brilliant trans heroine written well

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  • Anonymous
  • 07-23-17

Amazing

Where does Dreadnought rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Top 10.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Dreadnought?

The final speech, though the action scenes were really exciting as well.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

The final speech

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The final speech

Any additional comments?

(These guided questions are just begging for repeated answers \(*_*)/)

Natasha Soudek's narration is top notched.