Dreadnought (Nemesis: Book 1)

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Dreadnought (Nemesis: Book 1) Young Adult - Science Fiction/Paranormal

4 out of 5 stars

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4 out of 5

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  • Up, up and Away

    4 out of 5

    Written by , Posted on at 1:32:51 PM

    While I was reading this novel, I couldn’t help comparing it to Perry Moore’s “Hero”, a novel featuring a closeted homosexual superhero and the author’s barely concealed contempt for superheroes in general. The so-called homosexual romance was tepid and the hatred for supers was so strong I wondered why Stan Lee would endorse the novel. This novel has a few similar themes with a few key differences. Yes, this is a world where supers are visible, acknowledged and a clear part of the universe. Yes, homosexual and transgender people aren’t widely accepted. The superheroes also have a harsh light trained on them by someone who has a valid reason to hate and despise them. But there are differences, small and large. The protagonist, one Daniel Tozer, is a 15-year-old boy turned into a girl by extraordinary circumstances, as well as being gifted with superpowers. The book details how she has to learn to come to grips with the radical changes in her life and outlines the stumbling blocks she encounters on her way to becoming someone who can stand up to her bigoted tormentors and an old menace rising to destroy the world. There is no romance here, straight, queer or otherwise. Daniel (now Danielle) has enough on her plate and the author has decided to put aside any chance of getting the story’s heroine entangled in a romantic subplot. I thoroughly agree with her decision as I couldn’t with Mr. Moore’s. There is plenty of drama to be found elsewhere. (There’s also humor. Just read about Doc Impossible’s description of Darkfist and see if you’re not amused by the resemblance to a certain caped crusader.) The novel expertly mixes domestic abuse, a creepy ex-friend, a superheroine with her own axes to grind and the Legion, one of many superhero groups. It’s the latter that I found really intriguing. We get the inside scoop of just what makes a superhero league work and it’s a sobering look indeed. Danielle learns that having super-strength, near-invulnerability and the capability of flight aren’t the unalloyed joys she imagines them to be and we, the readers, learn this as well through her eyes. It’s a rational imagining of just what it would take for such beings to live for humanity and yet be apart from them. The book adroitly mixes mundane matters with its imagined worldscape of capes. Ms. Daniels lets us understand that the lines between good and evil can be hazy, blurred or nonexistent. More importantly, she details a world with a variety of super abilities and cleverly ties it into the heroines sexuality and gender. I haven’t been this excited about a superhero story since…well, since that Wonder Woman movie appeared in 2017. Just as with that powerful goddess with her golden lasso, I want to know more about the new Dreadnought: her life, her loves, her battles. This is one terrific debut by an author who clearly has given incisive thought to her subject. Tune in again, trusty readers!