My rating in stars: 4 stars
My rating in words: Really liked it!
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
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.
MY THOUGHTS (SPOILER-FREE):
“Cat-woman was a good way to describe her. The ears on the dark helmet, the oversized lenses, the claws that she’d just retracted after that spectacular jump… Even her steps toward him oozed feline grace.”
I love Sarah J. Maas books. She gets a fair amount of criticism and though I can see that her writing has some flaws, I also just still adore every single one of her books and she is a definite auto-buy author for me. I also adore the DC Universe, especially the world of Gotham city and particularly Catwoman. So predictably I couldn’t wait to get my hand on this and got it the day it released, even though I haven’t even read the other books in the DC Icons series yet (though it’s definitely not needed to read these in order, they’re more like standalones anyway).
Now, I want to start my review with a little story. I have this habit of checking out Goodreads for other reviews immediately after finishing a book. It’s my way of getting my thoughts on a book together and seeing if other people feel the same way about a book. It’s especially fun if I find lots of reviews who feel very similar to my thoughts about a book. It’s like I can rave or rant along with others. So of course I did this for Catwoman too… and I was blown away by the amount of negative reviews. Because honestly, I really enjoyed this. This is not to say that those reviews are not valid in any way (they do make some good points), it’s just to warn you that this review may be an unpopular opinion and if you’re looking for an angry rant, you will not find it here. Because I really enjoyed this book. It was FUN. And I will tell you exactly why I enjoyed it, as well as point out some of the flaws that were still there as well because yes, you can still love something and be aware of the flaws.
Selina Kyle is a well-rounded, morally grey anti-hero with a backstory. I loved how Sarah wrote Selina and thought her story was well developed. In the very first chapter we get a flashback to two years into the past. We get to know Selina before she was ever Catwoman, but had what felt like the weight of the world on her shoulders. Her little sister, the person she loved more than anything else is terminally ill. The hospital bills are too high and her mother is not around. So it’s up to Selina to take care of her and figure out a way to get money – which is through criminal activities. Of course, shit goes down and Selina ends up recruited by the League of Assassins. Flashforward to present day when Selina returns to Gotham City, pretending to be wealthy socialite Holly Vanderhees by day and raising hell by night.
Both through this backstory, as throughout the story and evidenced by Selina’s actions, we get to know her as the deliciously morally grey anti-hero she is. She loves the thrill of stealing things and getting away with it, she revels in her criminal activities, but she also has a code. She doesn’t hurt innocent people. She does feel some guilt and questions her actions, but she’ll also do whatever it takes to finish her mission.
Selina’s mysterious and unpredictable agenda. Talking about Selina’s mission, I just want to go into this real quick because it’s a major plot point and also something that seems to get the most criticism by other reviewers. I personally loved the mystery in this. When Selina gets back to Gotham city, you know she’s up to something. But what she’s up to exactly is not yet revealed. So when she starts to (seemingly at random) steal things night after night, it feels a bit chaotic. The reader is wondering what the heck she is doing. But it didn’t feel like a lack of plot to me. In fact, I thought it was a lot of fun to try and guess her endgame and see if I could figure out all how all the puzzle pieces would come togeher before they were revealed. And though I could guess a few things, I was still mostly surprised. So for me, the plot was fun and unpredictable.
The team-up of my dreams! Now, THIS is what I wanted most of all from the book and it was exactly what I got: the epic team-up of Catwoman, Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn. My girls got together and I loved every single minute this trio was together. The snark. The banter. The antics. But most of all, the genuine friendship that formed between them. This relationship between the girls owned my heart throughout the entire book. I just want more. Can we get more from Ivy or Harley’s POV, PLEASE?
Romance! I guess? I love me some romance. I’m a hopeless romantic. So when it was obvious from the beginning that there would be a romantic side plot between Selina and Luke Fox, AKA Batwing, I was happily anticipating it. And okay, it was nice. I ‘m practically unable to dislike a nice enemies-to-lovers trope. But it wasn’t needed. We could have stuck with friendship and it would have been enough. The romance between Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn though? PERFECT. I love that they included this romance and that it was portrayed in a real, honest way because of Harley’s issues and abusive previous relationship with the Joker.
Luke Fox… Meh. Honestly, I felt very lukewarm about Luke. I like that we got his POV alternating with Selina’s and I like that we had a black main character, but unfortunately I did feel like his personality was a little bland. Now, maybe that’s because he just disappeared a bit next to the awesome Catwoman, Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn. But overall, I just didn’t care for him that much. He felt a bit too much like your standard, do-gooder, cookie-cutter hero. His character, or lack thereof, was my biggest disappointment in this book and I felt like it could have been handled better. I also didn’t like how his PTSD was used as a plot point.
Overall, I really enjoyed Catwoman.: Soulstealer. It was a fun ride featuring some favorite characters from the DC Universe. I’d definitely recommend if you love Sarah J. Maas books, the DC Universe, epic friendships and ladies that slay.