I’ve been all over the new DC YA novels, so when this new installment by Sarah J. Maas came out, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. I promptly requested the audiobook from my library and enjoyed every minute of it.
I will say I was a little wary of this book, since there are some phrases Maas likes to overuse. She still overuses them in this book, but not as much. I think this one had a better editor than A Court of Wings and Ruin.
It starts when Selina Kyle is a teenager looking out for her sick younger sister in Gotham City. Their parents are both out of the picture (mom is an absent junkie and I can’t remember if they even know who their dad is). So Selina is making ends meet by fighting in an underground fight ring.
Before all this went down, she used to be a talented gymnast, so that’s where Catwoman gets her skills. She was also apparently really smart and won some science fairs.
So far they’ve managed to avoid social services, but when her mom turns up in a local hospital and gives her address, the cops quickly figure out that these two kids are living alone. Selina is desperate to keep her sister out of foster care, knowing how awful some of those homes can be, but she’s no match for the cops who show up at their door. She winds up unconscious and when she wakes up she’s tied to a chair. She doesn’t know where her sister is, but the person who is there offers her a job where her particular skill set will be useful. Selina accepts only on the condition that her sister goes to a good home where her medical needs will be taken care of. They reach an agreement and Selina is flown to Europe for training.
The story then jumps two years into the future when Selina returns to Gotham City under the name Holly Vanderhees, a wealthy heiress no one has ever heard of before, but when her wealth and presence in the city become known, she promptly receives invites to all the galas – since she just happened to arrive just before gala season. Galas are her opportunity to stake out the city’s wealthy elite, and every gala she attends ends up getting robbed by a lithe woman in a black, skin-tight suit, and a helmet in the shape of a cat’s head – sometimes after the guests leave, sometimes before.
Holly has also moved into a swanky apartment right next to an attractive young veteran named Luke Fox. Luke is a black guy who comes from a wealthy family, but because he’s been in the military, he knows a few things about hard work, although it’s given him some PTSD, which gets to be problematic when there are loud noises and/or flashes of light while he’s out fighting crime as Batwing.
Luke’s dad happens to know Bruce Wayne (and apparently also knows that Bruce Wayne is Batman) and they work out an arrangement wherein Batman trains Luke Fox to be Batwing to help him work through his issues. When Holly shows up in Gotham, Batman is out of town on some other mission, leaving Batwing to handle Gotham on his own, so Luke feels this is his chance to prove to Batman that he can handle himself.
Luke is attracted to Holly, especially as he starts to see through the vapid socialite front she puts up, but he knows he needs to focus on taking down Catwoman.
But Catwoman has problems of her own. It turns out she stole some extremely valuable information before she left town and they have sent assassins after her to kill her for the theft, so she’s fighting off assassins, stealing from Gotham’s wealthiest citizens, flirting with both Luke and Batwing, and teaming up with Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn while she’s at it. This book is so much fun and I highly recommend the audiobook.
What did you read/listen to this week? Any other new takes on old characters?