There are no spoilers in this review.
A million thanks to Penguin Random House International for hosting the Batman:Nightwalker blog tour and for sending me a review copy of this book. This did not, in any way, influence my opinion on this book.
I’m going to be completely honest here, even if it scares me a little bit to actually write this down. Okay, I’m going to say it. I am not too familiar with Batman’s story. I am not too familiar with superheroes stories in general – unlike many people, I haven’t devoured superheroes stories when I was little and grew up falling in love with Batman, Superman, Catwoman and Wonder-Woman, for instance.
That being said, I knew that, given the amazing opportunity to read and review a book about Batman, I had to take it. Why, you ask? The story of Batman appealed to me, in some way. I was intrigued about this young man, having lost his parents, somehow getting mixed up with criminals and turning his whole life around. Also, the fact that this book is written by Marie Lu, an author probably soon becoming a favorite of mine… I had to discover this story in some way. And boy, I am glad I did. I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed it.
GREAT CHARACTERS…ESPECIALLY THE VILLAIN??!
“You have a heavy heart, for someone with everything.”
I expected a Batman story to be action-packed, thrilling, a book I couldn’t stop reading only because I had to know what happened next. It was. There was a lot of tension, when I hit the half-mark, I couldn’t stop reading and just devoured the rest of the book. Marie Lu does know how to keep her readers wanting more and I will forever admire her for that.
That being said, it’s not the action that wins me over, in a book. It’s the characters. I was thrilled to meet Bruce, this teenage billionaire still getting over his parents’ death, always following his instinct. He was a strong, stubborn character and I loved his determination thorough the story, always wanting to do what’s right. Yet, even if he was the main character, he wasn’t my favorite: somehow, I loved Madeleine a little bit more. She was such a complex villain. SHE was the one keeping us on my toes as I read, the one I wanted to know more about, the one I eagerly waited scenes with. Smart, mysterious, Madeleine was overall one bad-ass character and I loved the slow build up of her back-story, until the revelations towards the end.
The chemistry between her and Bruce was addictive, in a strange kind of way: I loved the scenes they shared, the conversations they had, the tension between them and conflicted feelings they both had given that they are sitting on opposite camps.
“This story can’t end happily for us.”
The rest of the cast was also great, even if some characters got to shine a little more than others. I loved Dianne, one of Bruce’s best friends, I also loved Alfred, Bruce’s awesome and very British guardian. I wish we could have known a bit more about some key characters in the story, especially Richard and Harvey. If we got some back-stories for the both of them, I felt like they were not as explored as they could have been, unfortunately.
A GREAT BALANCE BETWEEN WORLD-BUILDING AND ACTION
It looked like a place worth protecting.
It looked like home.
For a superheroes story, Batman was not as dark as I imagined it to be. If you’re thinking about picking this up for a wild ride, do it. If you’re thinking about picking this up, expecting non-stop action and fights and so on… I would really advice you to find another book. Marie Lu takes her time building the world Bruce lives in, exploring the new, fascinating technologies of this world and setting the relationships between the characters as well. I wouldn’t say it was NOT a book with a lot of action – there was, but there also was, for me, the perfect balance between building-up the situation and the big action towards the end. Also, to be honest, I did not mind that it was not as bloody as I expected it to be, I loved it all the more for it.
If there is something that made me a little sad about Batman: Nightwalker, it probably was the fact that I saw the ending coming a little bit (meaning: the plot twist with one particular character). Yet, it was still a very addictive story.
Overall, Batman was not the kind of book I expected to enjoy, yet I had a great time reading it. I did not know the original Batman story too well and, to be honest, I am happy not to play the comparison game this way, making this Marie Lu retelling a great first look at Batman’s story. Action-packed, filled with thrilling moments and one incredible and complex antagonist, it’s a book I’d recommend.
Final rating: 4 drops!
Trigger warnings: a bit of violence & blood, but nothing too graphic.
Marie Lu, Batman: Nightwalker, Published by Random House Books for Young Readers, January 2nd, 2018, ISBN: 9780525578567
Before he was Batman, he was Bruce Wayne. A reckless boy willing to break the rules for a girl who may be his worst enemy.
The Nightwalkers are terrorizing Gotham City, and Bruce Wayne is next on their list.
One by one, the city’s elites are being executed as their mansions’ security systems turn against them, trapping them like prey. Meanwhile, Bruce is turning eighteen and about to inherit his family’s fortune, not to mention the keys to Wayne Enterprises and all the tech gadgetry his heart could ever desire. But after a run-in with the police, he’s forced to do community service at Arkham Asylum, the infamous prison that holds the city’s most brutal criminals.
Madeleine Wallace is a brilliant killer . . . and Bruce’s only hope.
In Arkham, Bruce meets Madeleine, a brilliant girl with ties to the Nightwalkers. What is she hiding? And why will she speak only to Bruce? Madeleine is the mystery Bruce must unravel. But is he getting her to divulge her secrets, or is he feeding her the information she needs to bring Gotham City to its knees? Bruce will walk the dark line between trust and betrayal as the Nightwalkers circle closer.
Did you read Batman: Nightwalker? Do you want to read it?
How do you feel about superheroes stories? Love them, hate them? Did you read superheroes retellings yet? Let me know in comments!