It Always Ends This Way – a review of Dreadnought by April Daniels

This week we tackle the T in LGBTQ+ as we dive back into our Pride Month reads. The second book for the queerest month of June features an author AND a main character who are trans women.

Danny Tozer gets given the powers of a dying superhero. In the process, her dream comes true and she transitions into the female body she always wanted to have. That comes with pitfalls as the world around her knows of her new identity. Her father wants nothing more than to cure her and revert her back into a male, a superhero agency is divided as half want to recruit her and half want her to give up her powers for various reasons, and her school life is changed as a result of her transition. To top all that off, the villain who killed the hero who gave Danny her powers is still on the loose, and Danny’s powers may be one of the few things to stop such plots.

The trans struggles and moments within this book were the strongest. I got close to tears multiple times while reading this novel, and that’s a feat. I rarely cry at books. So getting close means you are doing something right. I recognise that every person’s experience coming out as trans is different, but the interpretation here allowed me to connect with an identity I don’t have. And it was so precious to see the world change for this girl. To fight for everything she ever wanted.

I enjoyed the superhero worldbuilding in this novel a great deal. Magical realism worlds, which superhero novels often fall under (fight me on that), are excellent ways to transform the world we know and understand how whatever is magical has changed that world. This superhero league was an entertaining way of discovering many power origins, including Danny’s and how she gains her powers while transitioning. And of course we have my favourite part, FANTASY TECH! In case you are new here, I am a sucker for fantasy tech even if it is modern day tech being affected by magics.

That being said, the final superhero battle was where things were let down for me. It’s the staple of a superhero film that we all get tired of, and to see it in book form this trope dragged out more for me. I think it was more of a drag for me in this part of the book because it became unclear what Danny was exactly fighting for and too many bits of information popped up like a mole ready to whack. It felt like it was there for the sake of having a grand and epic finale, but the number of chapters that were action packed in a row were erring on too much for me.

Dreadnought gets a score of 3.5/5. I think the sagging third act trend may have returned.

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