Series: Nemesis #1
Published by Diversion Publishing on January 24, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
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An action-packed series-starter perfect for fans of The Heroine Complex and Not Your Sidekick.
“I didn’t know how much I needed this brave, thrilling book until it rocked my world. Dreadnought is the superhero adventure we all need right now.”―Charlie Jane Anders, author of All the Birds in the Sky
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
A transgender woman learns to be a superhero in this young adult novel. Let’s review!
I learned an important lesson reading this book. While I enjoy watching superheroes on film, I don’t necessarily enjoy reading about them. I find the genre boring. However, I actually really did enjoy this novel despite my feelings for the genre. It’s a character-driven story full of action, adventure, and heart.
Danny Tozer is a likeable heroine learning to control the powers she inherits from
Superman Dreadnaught. The secondary characters all play an important role in either aiding or hindering Danny’s transition into a superhero. Subsequently, these characters also provide support or opposition to her transformation as a female. The book explores the myriad attitudes and prejudices transgender people must experience after their transition – love, fear, revolution, acceptance, etc. It does verge toward melodramatic angst, but then again it’s about a fifteen year old transgender superhero. Par the course, if you will.
I loved the world-building. The history and lore of Danny’s world is realistically developed. The author naturally explains everything through Danny’s perspective without overwhelming the reader with backstory.
The book did not feature any romance. Danny spends the book deciding upon her identity, both as a person and as a superhero. However, I could see future novels exploring romance (hopefully between her and a certain cowgirl hero).
tl;dr A quick, fun read full of memorable characters and excellent world-building.