Catwoman Soulstealer (DC Icons series)

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Sarah J Maas, Catwoman: Soulstealer (DC Icons Series), Penguin Books, August 2018, 384 pp., RRP $18.99 ISBN 9780141386898

This is the third book of a new series called DC Icons, published by Penguin in the UK and written by established and bestselling authors.

Catwoman Soulstealer, written by Sarah J Maas, follows the journey of Selina Kyle and her transformation into the iconic Catwoman.  As an undefeated fighter for the Leopards, owned by Carmine Falcone, Selina is recruited by the League of Assassins in exchange for a promise of a stable, caring home for her sick sister Maggie.  Selina is whisked away for her training, secure in the hope of a future for Maggie.

Two years later, Selina returns to Gotham City as the rich and mysterious Holly Vanderhees.  She has skills and she has a plan.  While Batman is away on a mission, leaving Gotham City in Batwing’s care, Selina recruits Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn as her dangerous allies and they set about relieving the city’s rich of their precious jewels and fine art.

As the stakes climb, Batwing becomes more desperate to prove to Batman that he has things under control and Selina’s past is catching up on her.  But theft is not Catwoman’s aim; she has more on her mind than money and she’s going to the top of the city’s underworld to achieve her goal. But can she pull it off or will Batwing get to her first?

This is an action-packed novel set in the familiar world of Gotham City.  Sarah J Maas has paced it beautifully, the elaborate twists and turns of Selina’s plans unfolding layer by layer.  She entices the reader to empathise with Selina, even as she’s wreaking havoc across Gotham City and frustrating Batwing at every turn.  Maas keeps you guessing right to the action-packed end.

I’ve never been a big DC fan but I was drawn into this novel right from the very start because of its mixture of action, drama and well-developed characters. It’s great as a standalone as well as for those familiar with the DC characters.  How closely it sticks to the original comic characters and their stories, I couldn’t say, but I suspect that DC is evolving their characters into the 21st century.  That’s not a bad thing but might annoy die-hard Batman fans.

I recommend this book for YA readers due to the high level of violence, drug references and some mildly sexually-explicit material but adults will enjoy it too.

Reviewed by Pamela Ueckerman

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