REVIEW: Dreadnought

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Book Review: Dreadnought (April Daniels)
 book cover Book title Dreadnought
Series/standalone Nemesis #1
Author April Daniels
Pages 276
Year published 2017
Category | Genre Young Adult | Science-Fiction | Superhero
Rating 4star

Official Summary

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.


In A Nutshell

An action-packed superhero story with a transgender protagonist about saving the world and being true to yourself, whatever the cost.


  • First and foremost, a book with transgender lead who refused to be put down by her surrounding. YES, please.
  • The thing I liked the most about Dreadnought is how unapologetic it was. Danny as the protagonist carried the heaviest weight on bridging superhero life (aka caping) with the ‘real world.’ She’s a flawed, realistic character, and so very relatable.
  • If you like science and physics, you’ll probably geeking out with the amount of science Daniels put into her book. The “hypertech” was creative and fun.
  • At its core, Dreadnought is a superhero story. It then came at no surprise that it’s filled with action sequences. The author has a knack on writing action scenes and I enjoyed them a lot.
  • It’s hearbreaking and then some. As a teenager, Danny was forced to face her family and friends at school after her physical transformation, many of them refused to accept that she is and has always been a girl. A lot of cussing, cursing, and words that shouldn’t be said to a girl (or anyone really) were spoken. I found myself disgusted and angry at them, yet at the same time the realization that this is happening in real life today – to people with no superpower to defend themselves – hits me.
  • Consequences and cost. You’re not getting a free pass for being a protagonist. The battle Danny has to go through for coming out and standing up for herself is very tough, never-ending, and costly. It was shown that it’s worth it, though, and I think that’s important.

Things I Wish Were Different

  • The uneven pace. The book starts out slow, then build up halfway through. Afterwards, it became nearly unputdownable.
  • More depth on some of the characters, especially the villain. As much as I do think that some people are jerks, adding a cardboard-cutout villain just doesn’t make sense in a book as heavy-weight as Dreadnought. When I said heavy-weight, what I mean is that it tried to tackle a lot of important issues about living as a transgender. The villain felt too superficial, and a bit insignificant, compared to what Danny has to wake up to everyday

Final Score

4 stars (out of 5 stars)


Dreadnought is a powerful superhero story about a transgender girl facing the consequences of coming out and standing up for herself while trying to save the world. The parallel between her struggle to save the world and her struggle to be accepted as a girl is one that blew my mind as April Daniels showed again and again that one is not more simple or easier than the other.

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