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Dreadnought  By  cover art

Dreadnought

By: April Daniels
Narrated by: Natasha Soudek
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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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What listeners say about Dreadnought

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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.

175 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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!

61 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Not a superhero story.

********
TLDR:
Transgender coming of age story set in a superhero world.
Main character whines and complains way too much.
Main character is a Mary Sue.
Pointless characters and character-based drama.
Story is repetitive and eventually I lost interest.
********

I'm always excited for a new superhero series, because it my favorite type of world to escape into, and there just aren't enough out there. This, however, is not a superhero story. It's a coming-of-age story with a strong transgender theme that happens to be in a superhero world. That's actually fine, because that's pretty interesting to me, too, but it was very poorly executed. I zone out while listening, so I can't tell you the number of times or pages the main character spent whining and WHINING about her life, but it was excessive, repetitive, and boring, and it really turned me off to the whole book.

The characters were very real, but they were that kind of "I wish this impossibly stupid person didn't exist" real that you see in overly dramatic shows like The Walking Dead, where their sole purpose is to make the audience angry, create unnecessary drama, and never add anything of value to the show. That said, if you DO like pointless drama, most of the characters here will interest you.

The Mary-Sue-ness of the character wasn't an issue for me, because, again, the point of the story is not about superheroes and superpowers; it's a coming of age story, but if you don't like Mary Sues, you should avoid this.

I stopped listening towards the end of the story, when the "twist" was revealed and it just annoyed me so much I switched to a silent commute, instead, but the plot is very generic. As far as coming of age stories go, it makes very little progress, consisting of nothing more than repetitive motions back and forth along the same railroad tracks of thought.

Anyway, it wasn't for me, but it might be for you. Depends on what you like. Give it a go if you enjoy the primary themes I mentioned and aren't turned off by the negatives I described.

36 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Preachy

What would have made Dreadnought better?

Focusing more on the superpower part, and having less introspection on the protagonist's part

Has Dreadnought turned you off from other books in this genre?

No. Save for those focusing on transitioning; I'll be more careful and hear from friends how much the book focuses on the emotional part of that

What about Natasha Soudek’s performance did you like?

She captured the emotional struggle of the protagonist

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Dreadnought?

Half of the protagonist's inner monologue

Any additional comments?

I'm glad this book exists, and I appreciate what it does; nonetheless, it's not for me

33 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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whiney

very whiney novel. if you enjoy kids whining than listen or read. I for one thought it was a good adventure full of crybabies

26 people found this helpful

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

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!

26 people found this helpful

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

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)

20 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Lot of StrawMan Arguments, but Climax is suspenseful

In my opinion, the bad people in this book seem to be pulled from the authors person life probably.
The arguments of antagonists might arise in real life, but with fiction of this magnitude, it just seems like straw manning.

The narrator can only do American and southern accents ( maybe that’s what they were to be). Hard to tell who talks. You can hear the room she’s in.

But the endings pretty suspenseful.

19 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Self-Obsessed Trans Hero makes Trans look bad

I never thought transgender folks might be transgender due to mental illness until I read this book. The sheer volume of I and Me statements is enough to make me queasy. The main character is so obsessed with herself that she ignores learning about herself, her friends, her relationships, the world around her or pretty much everything else. She basically spends the entire time going "I'm a girl!, that's what's important" while the world is imploding around her. The supportive characters all spend time saying extra nice things about her or using her like a lost child. Everyone who is against her is a characterization of overblown hostility and insanity who are so unimportant they aren't even voiced just described as saying stuff add adjective. The forced drama of omg he said this isn't that terrible really detracts from the story. Completely led by emotion she stumbles through getting the folks around her hurt while crying qoe is me the whole time. If I hadn't met and been around healthy well adjusted transgender as a UU I would think they are all nuts after reading this book.

That being said the narrator is very good. I wouldn't have been able to get through the story otherwise.

13 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Awesome story with a trans badass

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

11 people found this helpful

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  • Paul The Koala Baby
  • 10-20-20

Great transgender story and just a great superhero

I love superheroes and have also been looking for a Jk Rowling terf pallet cleanser. This was great a really interesting concept, great descriptions, and very emotional at points

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-14-21

Wanted to enjoy but couldn’t

TLDR: good premise, awful presentation.

I really wanted to like this but after the first chapter and a bit I find the writing style and narrator insufferable.

The narrator draws out every word as if either savouring every one or unsure of the next phrase. This disrupts any fast paced action (I use the term loosely) or emotional tension.

The writing style feels very young (even for an ~14 year old POV character based on general male puberty) and the constant repetition of “I am a girl” is incredibly boring. The same idea can be expressed in so many ways sticking to one is just bad, especially when the only word the narrator ever emphasises is girl. It also bothers me that in all this time the word “woman” was never used, even when saying he didn’t want to be a man in his own head.

There was so many things that could have been explored but I won’t find out whether they were or not.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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

1 person found this helpful

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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

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Elizabeth Woodward
  • 11-25-22

The Best modern Superhero story ever told

My headline might sound like hyperbole but I assure you it is not, I genuinely cannot overstate the virtues of this story. It's tense and gripping and powerful and emotional, and has gotten stronger emotions from me than any MCU Movie.

Danielle is an exceptional protagonist, and her story is one of abuse and trauma but also genuine joy and passion and the kind of euphoria that can only come from being who you truly are. Natasha Soudek captures her voice brilliantly from moment one and only gets better as the story progresses. Every scream and cry and cheer and smile is played to perfection, and combined with the compelling first person prose you get an unforgettable journey.

Soudek doesn't miss a beat with any other character either - from the old-timey pleasant voice of Valkyrja to the rough and tumble cowboy of Calamity to the tough but caring Doc Impossible, every one of the book's cast - a captivating assortment of individuals you'll learn to love and hate and everything in between - is nailed almost effortlessly. The result is a story that it almost hurts to come away from, an experience so powerfully immersive that you'll feel every punch and kick, every soar into the air and collision with the ground, and every sob and scream. There's truly nothing else like it.

April Daniels is an incredible writer, and as a trans woman myself I can't help but be in awe of this fantastic story she's made for all of us. I cannot recommend this book enough, and I'm excited to start on the sequel!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • jane c
  • 08-03-22

wow seriously brilliant

Brilliant book , I couldn't stop listening to this ,April Daniels has written one of the best books I've read in an awful long time

So rare to see positive representation of the transgender community and April Daniels does a great job and all the emotions that can bring
At the heart is the story of Danny who is unexpectedly given a great responsibility of the Dreadnought mantle and I like how that is the perfect way of showing the vulnerable side of Danny who suffers from self doubt and low self worth at times . Becoming a superhero is a new journey for her and it's fascinating to read .
You know why the baddies are there (and i dont mean the lets blow things up baddie), they do a job as hurtful as they are , I can understand their inclusion.
Great book with great action and characters, I can't recommend this enough .
The narration was also great Natasha Soudek really bought the emotion and at times pain out of Danny

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-16-22

Enjoyable story!

Enjoyed the book much more than I usually do YA. The author does a good job of marrying a lot of conflict in the story into an engaging narrative, I also really enjoyed the way main character's powers are described in a way that makes it clear how powerful she is without making her victories feel undeserved.
Depth of some characters is lacking, but it is to be expected in a way.
Narration is good overall, but I felt like the voice was almost a bit too old for Danny.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-08-22

A story of a trans superheroine and it's great.

If you're interested in a new twist on a superhero origin story or in a trans main character I will highly recommend this book.

The struggle of transitioning and becoming a superhero at the same time is a wonderful combination for drama and character development.

It's included with audibles+ membership so you can listen to it for free if you have the membership. The book is good enough to stand on it's own though

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  • E. Day
  • 04-13-22

My new favourite book

I love love love this book.
Best fiction I’ve ever heard/read. As a trans woman i could relate so much to Danny and it was so refreshing to feel such a connection to a character. I hunger for more trans characters in fiction like this. The transphobic characters felt so real and heart crunching and the way it all merged into this fantastical world was enthralling. What i loved the most was how sometimes how she uses her superpowers becomes an expression of the emotions she’s feeling. and how accurate and relateable those emotions were.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Zoey
  • 03-23-22

I wanted to love it

But could not.
I'll give the physical copy a try, because a lot of it was due to the choice of the narrator in their voice acting.
I would suggest some CW as well for the transphobia and transmisoginy too, it can be a tough read. I'm glad other trans folks found joy in it but I personally felt a bit dysphoric and uncomfortable at times with the amount of cisnormativity. There is a thin line between wishfulfilling writing and plain cisnormative gaze I guess and for me it fell into the latter category

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 05-26-22

one of my favourites

loved it so much found the main character so relatable. loved the characters and setting writer has a grasp on super hero stories.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-18-22

Superhero more like super book.

Everything I could’ve wished for and more as a trans superhero story. Insightful and illuminating but also realistic and vulnerable. The genuine care for the characters and the ideas shine over the couple of hiccups that only serve to make it feel all the more human.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-26-22

Overall not bad

struggled with some of the narration being a bit OTT. great storyline and queer representation. would be great for a young Trans person to read and feel like a superhero :)

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-23-22

My new favourite series

As a trans woman, this book resonated with me in a deep and indescribable way. The author explores Danny's journey in such an exciting and authentic way.

As far as superhero novels go, this series is fantastic! April Daniels manages to play with superhero genre tropes in a lovingly new way, giving this book all of the flair and excitement of your classic superhero stories but with its own unique, refreshing and surprising flavour.

Please check this series out and support the author!! You won't regret it!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Jane Krauss
  • 11-04-21

First Transgender Read

This was my first foray into the field of 'superhero' books. Honestly, this was a fun read. It was also my first trans read, and I think it was delivered in a really cool way that fits so well with the genre. Overall, this book helped me understand how it can feel to be trans. April Daniels' writing was transporting, and I felt totally immersed in the experience of the story.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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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.