Published by Penguin Random House Australia on August 7, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Action & Adventure
Amazon | Book Depository | Publisher | Angus & Robertson | Booktopia
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When the Bat's away, the Cat will play. It's time to see how many lives this cat really has. . . .
Two years after escaping Gotham City's slums, Selina Kyle returns as the mysterious and wealthy Holly Vanderhees. She quickly discovers that with Batman off on a vital mission, Batwing is left to hold back the tide of notorious criminals. Gotham City is ripe for the taking.
Meanwhile, Luke Fox wants to prove he has what it takes to help people in his role as Batwing. He targets a new thief on the prowl who seems cleverer than most. She has teamed up with Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn, and together they are wreaking havoc. This Catwoman may be Batwing's undoing.
Being a massive superhero fan, especially one of the Batman universe, I had to pick up Catwoman: Soulstealer. As with the other DC Icons books, it follows our beloved superheroes during their teenage years, featuring unique stories that we haven’t read before.
Catwoman: Soulstealer brought out so much of what we love about the snarky, super villain that we all know and love, but also humanises her and some of the other villains in the Batman universe. We first meet her looking after her sick sister at the start of the book, who she will do anything to protect. Unfortunately, things don’t go her way but she soon becomes indoctrinated to the League of Assassins to learn their way of life.
That’s when we see Selina again, returning to Gotham under the pretense of being a socialite, and we know she has a master plan. Not only does Selina Kyle lie, backflip and thieve her way into Gotham’s high society, she also forms a high powered girl squad consisting of Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn, who are also hellbent on bringing Gotham City down to its knees. There’s so much girl power in here, both in the main characters and the villains, that you can’t help but clap your hands in glee while reading it, and it was just a fun, wild ride.
What’s also important here, is the f/f relationship between Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn, something we haven’t heard much about if you’re not a keen follower of the comics. I liked the complexity that it brought to the characters and how Harley Quinn’s hero worship for Joker was tempered when it came to Ivy’s support. I did feel that Harley Quinn’s character was really flat, nothing like what you’d expect from such an iconic character, and her dialogue felt a bit stunted. I think it was a struggle to bring forward to maniacal villain but also to show a human side to her and you could see it in the way she was written.
The only thing bringing down the book for me was the romance between Selina Kyle and Luke Fox, who is also Batwing. I found like it progressed too fast from loathing to love, and his affection for the socialite kind of conflicted with Luke Fox’s character. He is a black, rich character suffering from PTSD after being in the Marines, but I really didn’t feel like this was a strong part of his character at all. Instead, there was a lot of talk about the oppression that he faced despite being one of the most privileged, richest family in Gotham which kind of felt out of place and misdirected.
A lot of Sarah J Maas fans will pick this up simply because she wrote it, not knowing anything about the characters, which I think may aid in the enjoyment of the book. Some of the dialogue and the action, especially when it comes to a badass female character with hidden motivations felt like signature Maas, and the action was at the edge of your seat. I loved the tension in the fight scenes as well, especially having Selina fight the badass assassins from the league.
While I found the book to be a fun read with a new plot, I think some of the characterisations let it down. This is something that I’ve felt with the other DC Icons books, Wonder Woman: Warbringer and Batman: Nightwalker (although I enjoyed that one a lot more). I guess there’s only so many new things you can add to beloved, iconic characters.
Overall, Catwoman: Soulstealer is a fun, high powered read with lots of badass females that I thoroughly enjoyed, although not without it’s issues.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Thanks to Penguin Random House Australia for sending me a review copy!
Catwoman: Soulstealer is available from Australian bookstores for RRP$18.99 or from The Book Depository.