June was an incredibly busy month! We traveled to the West Coast for almost two weeks for a wedding and to see friends/family, I read 14 books, and we did some local exploration too. June was also pride month, and shockingly—we usually avoid it because I don’t like crowds and it’s usually too damn hot in June—we actually attended pride in Portland, Oregon. See what I did with the rainbow hop and the intro…yeah 😀
I started Romeo for Real the morning after I finished Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and I finished before I got to work. That afternoon on the bus home I read this one and finished it before bed. Not only are these short works, but they are hi/lo novels that are designed for reluctant readers with easier language and fast paced as I found out when I got them from NetGalley*
It’s hard to separate this from Romeo for Real because they are the same story from opposite perspectives. I wouldn’t usually be mad at a decision to write like this, but the fact that they are separated into two books is frustrating. Neither book can stand on its own without leaving SO many questions unanswered and even together the two books don’t have enough character development to make them worth it.
This book and the next book are companion novels, so they are intertwined. They are also apparently hi/lo novels, novels “intended for reluctant and struggling readers. As such it is fast-paced, short, and uses high interest content with simple vocabulary to keep these readers engaged.” And even knowing this I’m not sure they hit the mark.
I grabbed copies of these from NetGalley last month and only just got around to reading them in early August* because who doesn’t love an LGBT retelling of a classic? I know I do. Unfortunately, this part of the story, at least to my memory, was at such a minimum and tangential level it didn’t really work for me. It mostly came across in the main character’s names, Romeo Montague and Julian Capulet, and the very short time frame of the book.
I’m not one of those who is obsessed with any particular character of Jane Austen’s like the author. I love the broad strokes of her stories and the general caricatures and stereotypes she works in across all her work. So when the fan-fiction gets super specific, like this one, I’m never quite sure what will come out of it. Will I enjoy this authors take on the character? Will they stay true to not only Austen’s works but the generally accepted views of the character? Will it be enjoyable and readable?
I know when I requested a copy from the publisher I wasn’t expecting this to be the next National Book Award winner.* I expected a somewhat light fluffy read with a bit of drama and hoped that it would pull at my heartstrings just enough to make me get that giddy feeling of a new-found/re-discovered romance and that’s exactly what I got.
When I read April Daniels’ debut novel, Dreadnought I lamented the length of time I had to wait until the second in the series came out. What I didn’t realize then or now was that it was only in January of this year that I read Dreadnaught and less than five months later I was able to request Sovereign, the sequel.*
Sovereign picks up not long after the events of Dreadnought and Danny is coming more to terms with her powers as Dreadnought and coming more to terms with her transition. As much as I enjoyed this book, it’s not as strong as the first. It really felt that Daniels got too heavy-handed with the queer politics, as fascinating as they were, and it distracted too much from the story for my taste. I get that it’s an integral part of the story, but it honestly just felt too much like a crutch.
It’s very rare that a book will grab me and keep me reading through a whirlwind of emotions. I’m so grateful someone from the publisher reached out to me about this book.* All I knew going in is that the main character is LGBT (she’s transgender, but also a lesbian) and this is a superhero story. It didn’t hurt that it was a young adult book (yay more diversity).
The publisher didn’t compare it to Perry Moore’s Hero, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and I think it deserves a mention. Although it’s about a cisgendered (born and identified) male, the group of quirky superheroes in that book reminded me a lot of where I’m hoping Dreadnought will go in the series. Continue reading “Book 473: Dreadnought (Nemesis #1) – April Daniels”