by Lorie Lewis Ham
I am so excited this week to not only have a review of the latest book in April Daniels Nemesis trilogy, but we also have an interesting interview with April. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Sovereign. We also have a link to order it from Amazon, and from an indie bookstore where a portion goes to help support KRL.
Sovereign By April Daniels
Review by Lorie Lewis Ham
The first book in this trilogy by April Daniels, Dreadnought, brought the world a whole new kind of superhero-a teen transgender one-and it was amazing! So I was excited to sit down and read the second book, Sovereign. Normally I don’t read books that are in present tense, but this series is so good I forget all about it!
Danny Tozer became a superhero totally by accident when the current Dreadnought died right there next to her and gave her his powers. It also had an unexpected and amazing side affect–her body transformed into what she wanted and she couldn’t hide anymore that she was a girl! While she was excited by this transformation, others were not, especially her parents who insisted that she be turned back into a boy, and some of the other local superheroes who didn’t like the idea of someone transgender taking over the mantel of Dreadnought. Not only did that book have a great storyline, but being able to see into the mind and heart of someone who is transgender was eye opening and something I think everyone who is not transgender should experience–especially in the world we live in today.
In Sovereign, we find Danny at a big superhero conference, with the hopes of forming a new group to defend her city of New Port after many were killed or injured in the big battle at the end of Dreadnought, and others refuse to work with her. But soon she is faced with bigger problems which include her parents trying to block her from becoming emancipated; the other superhero in her town of New Port who hates Danny for being trans and wants her either dead or her powers taken away; her best friend Calamity acting weird; her own personal struggle with how much she enjoys hurting villains; and how everything goes terribly wrong when she tries to help a young friend deal with her new powers. As if that wasn’t enough, we are introduced to a new super villain who calls himself Sovereign and is trying to find a way to control who gets superpowers and who doesn’t, and planning to use that power to take over the world-isn’t that what every super villain wants? Danny ends up in his hands and is horribly tortured in ways that were almost too painful to read.
This book is filled with great characters, including Danny’s android mentor roommate Doc Impossible who has a drinking problem, former schoolmate Charlie who just happens to be a magician, Calamity who fights villains without any superpowers, and her new genderqueer superhero friend Kinetiq. By working together, they find they might just be able to save the world!
I don’t read a lot of superhero books, though I do watch most of the movies and TV shows, but this series is about so much more than just action and adventure and superhero tropes. It’s about it being okay to be different, and about finding a place where you fit in with people who love you and accept you for who you are–and accepting yourself. It also takes us into the mind of this young transgender girl who faces all of the normal things teens do multiplied by a million because of what she has to go through just because she is transgender. I defy anyone to read these books and not go away with a new understanding of what it is really like to be transgender and a fierce desire to protect their rights to be who they are and not be discriminated against. This book is fun, intense, sad, and inspiring! I can’t wait for the next one!
Interview With April Daniels–Author of the Nemesis trilogy:
KRL: How long have you been writing?
April: I started writing in a semi-serious way in high school, around freshman year, I think.
KRL: I believe this is your second book in the Nemesis series? Was it hard to find a publisher?
April: No, not really. It takes a long time. The hardest part is being patient.
KRL: Have you written and/or published anything before this?
April: Yeah, I’ve written a lot of stuff, but most of it is unpublishable drivel. Dreadnought was my first published book, and the sequel Sovereign is my second.
KRL: What made you decide that you wanted to be a writer?
April: It’s the only thing I can see myself being happy with on a long-term basis.
KRL: Why did you chose to write a YA fantasy novel? And why a superhero?
April: I wanted to write the book I wish I’d had when I was 15, so that picked YA for me. As for superheroes, I thought they might be due to break into prose. Jury’s still out on that, but here’s hoping.
KRL: How did you come up with the idea for this book and its characters?
April: I was going to be unemployed, so I decided to spend the time writing something. The notion to write a book I wish I’d had when I was younger came pretty quickly after that.
KRL: Being transgender yourself, you were able to really get us as readers inside the head of a transgender girl which was amazing. Was this hard for you to write?
April: Not really, no. What was hard was making sure I wasn’t just regurgitating media tropes of transness because that can be easy to fall into when you’re juggling so many other issues like character, plot, setting, and so on.
KRL: Have you faced or do you expect to face any backlash for writing a transgender character in this current political environment?
April: No, I was never super worried about that. I’m a pretty small fish, after all. If anything, the fact that the book is about superheroes was a bigger challenge to contend with.
KRL: Do you outline? If not, do you have some other interesting way that you keep track of what’s going on, or what needs to happen in your book when you are writing it?
April: I outline, but will usually stray from it. So there’s a second round of outlines that often happens halfway through the manuscript.
KRL: If you had your ideal, what time of day would you prefer to write?
April: I honestly do not know. Afternoons, maybe?
KRL: Do you have any future writing goals?
April: Now that I’m published, I’d like to get to where this work would be my full-time employment. Right now it’s something I do on the side, and that is the case for many authors.
KRL: What social media presence do you have? Website? Twitter? Facebook?
To enter to win a copy of Sovereign, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “sovereign,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen September 9, 2017. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
Use this link to purchase the book & a portion goes to help support KRL & indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy:
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Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases using those links. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.