It’s been nine months since the last Dreadnought was blown apart and he transferred the mantle—and the responsibilities—to teenager Danny Tozer, and she’s already world-weary.
On a never-ending cycle of thwarting supervillains, dealing with local police, going over interviews with her lawyer/publicist, Danny keeps to herself how the one thing that she loves the most about the job is the fight. She sinks into the violence, feeling a bite of disappointment when she wins too quickly. The first book’s arc showed the white protagonist’s growth from a terrified trans teen to a powerful, revered superhero who physically resembles her truest self. This sequel drops readers at a waypoint where Danny’s physically comfortable and finding her place among her fellow “capes,” but her physical strength allows long-standing emotional damage to come thundering to the surface. Healing from a lifetime of emotional abuse, Danny has anger issues and tunnel vision that cause her to unknowingly hurt others or not to notice her own insensitivity. This complex is brilliantly threaded through an intense conflict against a billionaire supervillain and one of the more sinister of her old foes, not to mention some challenging subplots. Daniels’ world expands to include even more exciting capes, including a successor to an old friend and a brilliant, nonbinary cape called Kinetiq.
Daniels doesn’t just perfectly “queer the capes,” she delivers a book that’s tightly packed with brilliantly rendered fights, nail-biting scenes of peril, emotional authenticity, and a perfect first kiss. (Science fiction. 12-adult)