Book Review: Dreadnought (Nemesis) by April Daniels

Dreadnought is the first book in the Nemesis series by April Daniels. It is a young adult novel, and I think teens and adults alike will enjoy it. 

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.

Dreadnought has so much going for it. From the very beginning I connected with the main character- Danny had all the angst of teen age life with the added pressure of being transgender. Add on witnessing the death of a superhero, getting the gender switch you craved, and suddenly having superpowers and anyone would be overwhelmed. Danny faces everything in a realistic manner, and I found the reactions of others in the book accurate to what a young person in her position would encounter. I found the world building to allow for the superheroes and technology necessary for the story  to be well done. I never felt buried under explanations but never felt like I was lacking any information I wanted either- that can be a hard balance to master. I liked that there was also a good balance between the emotional and mental struggles that Danny was facing and the mystery and action involved in finding Utopia and figuring out what was going on.  I was impressed all around with the book, I was only disappointed in that fact that it was over and the next book has not been released yet.

Dreadnought is a wonderful book on a variety of levels. Danny's story of personal growth and discovering her capabilities is very well done, as is the superhero angle and world building. I think the only people that might not enjoy it are those that need to read it most, those that are so set on the idea of people different than themselves, or those they do not understand, are somehow wrong rather than other people just trying to get through life- just like them. My only complaint with the book, is that know I want the rest of the series- I am terribly curious to see what happens next!
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