Diverse Reads: Dreadnought & Traitor to the Throne

Posted February 23, 2017 by Inge in Reviews / 2 Comments

Diverse Reads: Dreadnought & Traitor to the ThroneDreadnought (Nemesis, #1) by April Daniels
Published by Diversion Publishing on January 24th 2017
Pages: 276

Danny Tozer has a problem: she just inherited the powers of the world's greatest superhero. Until Dreadnought fell out of the sky and died right in front of her, she was trying to keep people from finding out she's transgender. But then her second-hand superpowers transformed her 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 between her father's dangerous obsession with curing her girlhood, her best friend suddenly acting like he's entitled to date her, and the classmate who is secretly a masked vigilante, Danny's first weeks living in a body that fits her are more difficult and complicated than she could have imagined.
She doesn't have much time to adjust. Dreadnought's murderer, a cyborg named Utopia, still haunts the streets of New Port City. If Danny can't sort through the confusion of coming out, master her powers, and stop Utopia in time, humanity faces extinction.

One StarOne StarOne Star

You know when you’re reading a book and you’re trying to formulate some form of coherent thought so you can figure out what to write in your review? And you realise you’ve got ABSOLUTELY NOTHING?

Dreadnought is not that kind of book.

Dreadnought is the kind of book I would love to talk more about. It’s by no means a perfect book, but it’s an important one, especially in our time of day. The main character is transgender and queer, who just happens to stumble upon a crazy set of superpowers, and it’s the coolest thing in the world. Except for when she turns into a physical girl, the girl she always wanted to be – the girl she’s always been in her mind – and then that is the coolest thing in the world. I’m not quite sure which is cooler, but thankfully both things happened in the book so I don’t have to choose.

Danny being transgender isn’t the main part of the plot – the main plot is superheroes. But between all the Spandex and things that go boom, it still finds one of the most important transgender notions at heart: that genetics don’t equal destiny. Here’s Danny suddenly being able to deadlift trucks in her spare time, but she also has to deal with ignorant parents and losing her best friend. There were a lot of things that, I think, trans girls could really relate to and find comfort in.

The superheroes are just icing on the cake, really. It’s reminiscent of Marvel and The Incredibles.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading it. Danny was a really likeable main character (she’s also very responsible – even when given superpowers, she still finds time to go to school); the writing was easy to read (even when my tired mind goes droop and doesn’t register anything); and there was plenty of action. I mean, the story starts with the biggest superhero of all time dying right in front of Danny, so, you know, that’s the kind of world we’re living in.

The reason I’m not giving it a higher rating is because it felt lacking in other aspects. The thing about action-packed books is they tend to dull my mind after a while and leave me gasping for some more story. I also would have liked to see more of the other superheroes. They stayed kind of two-dimensional (with a few exceptions, like Calamity and Doctor Impossible) and didn’t do anything for the story. Even in the final fight, Danny remained a one-man show, and I like to see protagonists needing help from friends and such. I like seeing that even all-powerful characters can’t do everything alone.

Thank you NetGalley / Diversion Books for providing me with a copy

Diverse Reads: Dreadnought & Traitor to the ThroneTraitor to the Throne (Rebel of the Sands #2) by Alwyn Hamilton
Published by Viking Books for Young Readers on March 7th 2017
Pages: 528

The sizzling, un-put-downable sequel to the bestselling Rebel of the Sands!
Mere months ago, gunslinger Amani al'Hiza fled her dead-end hometown on the back of a mythical horse with the mysterious foreigner Jin, seeking only her own freedom. Now she's fighting to liberate the entire desert nation of Miraji from a bloodthirsty sultan who slew his own father to capture the throne.
When Amani finds herself thrust into the epicenter of the regime—the Sultan's palace—she's determined to bring the tyrant down. Desperate to uncover the Sultan's secrets by spying on his court, she tries to forget that Jin disappeared just as she was getting closest to him, and that she's a prisoner of the enemy. But the longer she remains, the more she questions whether the Sultan is really the villain she's been told he is, and who’s the real traitor to her sun-bleached, magic-filled homeland.
Forget everything you thought you knew about Miraji, about the rebellion, about djinni and Jin and the Blue-Eyed Bandit. In Traitor to the Throne, the only certainty is that everything will change.

One StarOne StarOne Star

I’m not going to lie: there are times when I really struggled with Traitor to the Throne. But I would still recommend it to anyone who’s interested in reading it, because I think this formula will work for a lot of readers. There’s still loads of action, intrigue, and politics. For me, though, the story could have been at least 100 pages shorter.

Based on the blurb, I thought I was going to love it even more than Rebel of the Sands. Amani gets kidnapped and becomes a servant of the cruel Sultan, which is really interesting. It also allows us to get to know a bunch of new characters, like Rahim and Leyla. I really enjoyed Amani’s friendship with Rahim, as well as his role in the story, and there was always an air of mystery around Leyla’s character, which I really enjoyed. The Sultan was despicable but charismatic, which makes for the ultimate villain.

There’s also still that really great world-building, now with more all-powerful Djinnis! And we also got to see more of the powers of those in the rebellion, so that was cool.

Fans of Jin will be disappointed, though, because he’s barely in the book. There’s not a lot of time for swooning. Still, when he’s there, it’s kind of nice.

“You can trust a sailor with knots,” Jin said. “And you can trust me with you.”

I just wish it wasn’t so LONG – 528 pages always feels like such a slog to get through. There were parts I really huffed and puffed through, and sometimes it felt like there was too much going on. Amani was in the middle of all the fun but didn’t actually do an awful lot. I know, this sounds terribly conflicting. Because it was!

Like I said, though, I do think it’s a matter of personal opinion and I think this would work for many avid fans. And overall, I just really enjoyed the plot of Amani being in the home of the enemy. It made for an interesting read.

Thank you NetGalley / Faber & Faber for providing me with a copy

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2 responses to “Diverse Reads: Dreadnought & Traitor to the Throne

  1. Cait @ Paper Fury

    I totally need to get onto reading Dreadnought, eeep. I’m kind of annoyed I haven’t yet?!? I’m so behind on the TBR but pfft, that’s just the song of my life at this point.? I felt the same about Traitor To the Throne too! WHERE WAS MY PRECIOUS JIN. AND WHY WAS IT SO LONG. It definitely didn’t need to be that long. And I’m annoyed because I loved book one but now I don’t even feel enthused for book 3??? It better not be over 500 pages is all I can say…?

    • I will die a small death if the third book turns out to be this GIANT TOME. You’re right, I’m not even sure I want to read the third book. I mean, I probably will, but… EH?

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