Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Review: Catwoman Soulstealer

Catwoman: Soulstealer
Rating: 3/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

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. 

I've been living for the DC Icons series, and I've been particularly excited to see Catwoman...not just because "yaaaay Catwoman!" but because we'd be getting to see Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy too! Harley is pretty much my favourite DC female, and I'm kind of disappointed she's not getting her own book! Plus I've been intrigued to see how Maas would write a book that isn't fantasy. 

As we start the book we get a glimpse of the past and how Selina was made and ended up in the position she finds herself in when we time skip two years to the present and she makes her grand return. We definitely get to see the seedier side of Gotham thanks to it, and it goes some way to letting you understand her and whys he's doing what she's doing. 

Maas's writing cinematically paints Gotham as gritty, grungey and dark as you would expect it to be, with a fair few familiar faces scattered throughout and I'm not talking about Harley and Ivy. Alfred? Lucius? A couple of sisters called Talia and Nyssa? Heard of any of them? They all pop up. Along with a certain clown....something I wasn't expecting. I have to say, I did get excited whenever one of them would pop up, I wasn't expecting anyone other than Harley and Ivy and I fangirled hardcore! 

I really enjoyed the origins for Selina, I don't know all that much about her specifically, she's not one of the characters I've focused on so I only know what I've seen from Gotham. The Selina of this book has fought her way to her own survival as well as her sisters and she will do anything to help her sister. That's her main motivation. I really admired her strength and determination, she went through hell and came out the other side. She's tough, but you can also see she's human. She was pretty sassy when she was being Catwoman too. You spend a lot of the book kind of looking at her...like "okay, you're a villain but I love you...." but she didn't seem 100% villainous, and there are crumbs dropped throughout as to what her motivation is before everything comes together. I would be lying if I didn't say that I looked at Selina at points and saw shadows of Celaena. Also if you're expecting Bi Selina....you're gonna be disappointed. 

Along with Selina's point of view we also get Luke's, I think you can guess from his surname that he's Lucius's son. Which also explains how he fell in with Bruce. Again, I'm not that familiar with Batwing, so I can't really comment on the accuracy. I really enjoyed Luke as a character, he's trying to get back to the person he used to be before everything went down on his tour of duty. He's suffering PTSD, and he's a POC love interest, I was all kinds of excited. Unfortunately I feel like he was largely there just to be a love interest for Selina and for various other things in the plot to happen. Which was somewhat of a disappointment because I feel like we didn't really get to see him shine, and he wasn't as fleshed out as Selina. I did roll my eyes at the romance, because of course it had to be in there, but it just seemed so....thrown in. I'm also not sure if I should comment on her attempts to show the struggles of being a black male and oppressed...because I obviously know nothing and am not in a position to comment as to its accuracy. But I did wince a bit, and I kind of feel like this was Maas going overboard to be Diverse and prove she 'gets it' after the comments about the rep in her other two series. 

As for Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn's relationship? I ship it. I 100% shrieked when Ivy first appeared, I loved her origin story, and the way she was brought to life in this book! She's actually quite...warm. She and Selina aren't used to having friends and so are enjoying having each other, I really loved the bond and friendship between the two of them that carried on right through until the end. I also really felt for Ivy too. 

As for my girl Harley Quinn, like I said she's my ultimate favourite so perhaps I was overly biased when it came to her. I couldn't wait to see how she'd be portrayed in this book, and while I liked her we didn't get to see as much of her as we did Ivy, and she didn't really match the Harley I know. She was more Suicide Squad Harley and I have my issues with that Harley. The Harley I love was not present, nor did she utter the words "puddin'" once. Maas also showed the non-villain side of Ivy and Selina and made them look pretty damn good...Harley not so much. She just seemed like a trigger happy girl with nothing deeper compared to the other two, other than loving the Joker. I felt for her, and some empathy was created for her...but not as much as Ivy which was a disappointment to me. It felt unequal between the three. 

As much as I was here for the team up between these three badass ladies, for a chunk of the book no plot was really apparent, we where just kinda rolling with them as they robbed various places, while little hints are dropped about Selina's grand plan and what's going on. We did get some flashbacks of Selina's time training and glimpses of the Al Ghul sisters, as well as some of what she went through and what forged her. I did enjoy the dual POV because you could see what they thought of each other and the struggles both of them faced, even if that was something used to further the romance which I side eyed. 

There's a nice amount of action, there's some romance in there because of course. Luke's PTSD was realistic, and he and Selina's bonding was nicely done although like I said...side eyeing how it jus furthered the romance. I liked the team up between the three ladies, yes there didn't seem to be much direction at the beginning but as the book went on more pieces are dropped and we build up to quite the explosive ending. Everything was wrapped up nicely, and the ending did have me on the edge of my seat a little bit! But I did side eye a few things. Some of the characters being brought in and how they're portrayed, then there's Luke and his being there just....because romance. 

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