If there’s one thing I’ve made perfectly clear in the last few years, it’s that superheroes just aren’t my thing.
No offense meant to people who love them, because I know you all are vast in number and fierce in your loyalties, but I just… rarely get into superhero stories. For one, I find them formulaic, and I rarely see the point of view of the protagonist before or after their miraculous change in station.
But this superhero book blew me away, and I can’t stop myself from singing its praises.
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.
Danny is a fantastic, believable, relatable character that won me over immediately. I felt for this kid. She’s going through a lot in her life before she meets Dreadnought and takes on his powers, but once the changeover happens, it gets so much worse.
But, even though Danny is your typical teen in a lot of ways, she doesn’t become unlikable once she changes and gains her powers. If anything, she becomes less self-centered and more aware of the fact that she now has the ability – and, some would say, responsibility – to save the lives of those “normal” people around her. She’s a good kid, and I really like her throughout the entire book.
The world is also really well-drawn. As much as it’s strange that there are superheroes and their like flying around town, the world is still believable in ways that help you forget you’re even reading the story.
Other characters are fleshed out, some more than others, and I really felt that I was reading a story that the author put a lot of thought and effort into. I never got the feeling that she inserted cardboard cutouts into the places she needed characters; instead, they all felt like they had lives beyond the scenes in the books.
I give this book five of five stars for being a superhero story even I had to love. Grab this book if you’re LGBT-friendly, into YA, and like a little strange in your stories. You will not be disappointed!