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I'm going to preface this by saying that this is not a standard review. Dreadnought by April Daniels is a fantastic book, a necessary book, and in its way, every bit as wish-fullfilment-y as the Tales of Inthya books by Effie Calvin or the Mangoverse books by Shira Glassman.

However, it is also a very intense book, and since the MCU re-popularized non-grimdark superhero films, there was a lot of content I wasn't prepared for when I went in.

The most basic summary of the plot is Danni, a closeted trans girl and lesbian, happens to be in the wrong place at the right time and inherits the powers of the most powerful superhero on the planet. The powers also come with gender-affirming body modification. Danni then must deal with social gender transitioning while also learning what it means and how to be a superhero, and tracking down the killer of the previous Dreadnought.

This book gets recommended a lot (again, deservedly so), but I can't recall ever seeing even a partial list of content warnings for it, and as I said above, there's a lot in the book I wasn't prepared for. It's been at least a year since I listened to the audiobook, IIRC, so this is going to be from memory, but I think I managed to remember most of them.

The first part is going to be plain list of the content warnings; the second part will have the warnings in better context. Again, both lists will be dependent on my memory. If anyone remembers some warnings that I've missed and which should be included, please let me know so I can include them.

I've also include a lot of white space between the basic warnings and the warnings in context, to help people control their spoiler levels to their preference.

Basic Content Warnings
* Suicidal Thoughts
* Transphobia
* Verbal Abuse
* Misogyny and Transmisogyny
* Intersex Phobia (Perisexism?)
* Gore
* TERF character
* Bad allyship
* Bullying
* Body Horror
* Nonconsensual Outing of a Trans Character
* Systemic Racism

Warnings With Context

* Suicidal Thoughts - Danni starts the book closeted and contemplates/has contemplated suicide

* Verbal Abuse - Danni's father is verbally abusive, and her mother enables his behavior

* Misogyny and Transmisogyny - A good deal of Danni's father's abuse stems from misogyny, and only gets worse when he learns his child is a girl, and is happy as a girl

* Nonconsensual Outing of a Trans Character - The character who in many ways acts as an advocate for Danni with the local superhero team outs her as trans to the other team members before Danni is formally introduced to them; it reads as a relatively honest mistake made in good faith, and the character does her best to apologize and make things up to Danni after

* TERF character/Intersex Phobia/Perisexism/Transmisogyny - One of the characters on the superhero team turns out to be a TERF, who instantly rejects Danni and accuses her of being a predator. Furthermore, she suggests that the fact that Danni still has testicles and is unable to menstruate invalidates her womanhood (Danni's powers/transformation made her body effectively the same as that of some intersex people), and spends the rest of the book as an antagonist of Danni's, to the point of literally putting a curse on her

* Bad Allyship - The only other LGBT character on the team is a cis gay man who wants Danni on the team for the benefits she would bring (more money from the government, able to take on stronger foes, etc), but is not willing to stand up to or reject the TERF character on Danni's behalf (This entire thing made me laugh-cry, and I can't help but wonder if the author meant it as an allegory for how the wider LGBTQIAP+ community treats non-cis, non-gay folks)

* Gore - Broken bones, various wounds, permanent limb loss, pain; this book does not shy away from blood and physical damage

* Body Horror - In addition to the gore mentioned above, there is at least one character on screen and several more implied who gave up their limbs to be wired in to the core of huge robots

* Systemic Racism - One of the main characters in the book is descended from a man of color who had Captain America-style experiments done on him by the US Government, and inherited his powers; her father was incarcerated

* Bullying and Transphobia - some more general stuff scattered throughout the book, mostly covered by the above

Did I regret the time/money/resources I spent on this book? No, but I really, really would have appreciated/benefited from getting some of the warnings I just listed, which is why I wanted to provide them for other potential readers.

April 2019

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