Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu
Publisher: Penguin Children’s Books
Publication date: 04 January 2018
Pages: 288 pages
Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This review is spoiler-free.
I have been a life-long Batman fan. Ever since the days of the animated series, I’ve loved watching the World’s Greatest Detective solve crimes, kick butt, and hang out with Catwoman. I’ve read a few of the Batman graphic novels, however it’s just a format that I don’t particularly enjoy. So when it was announced that Marie Lu would be writing a YA Batman novel for the DC Icons series, I was all on board. I read Warcross earlier this year and absolutely loved it, so I was thrilled to dive into Lu’s Gotham.
Returning home from his lavish eighteenth birthday party, Bruce Wayne stops a criminal’s getaway – disobeying the police and crashing his car during the chase.
Sentenced to community service in Gotham City’s Arkham Asylum, he encounters some of the the city’s most dangerous and mentally disturbed criminals. Among these, Bruce meets the intriguing Madeleine who has ties to the Nightwalker gang that is terrorizing Gotham City.
She’s a mystery Bruce has to unravel but can he trust her? The Nightwalkers target the rich, and Bruce’s name is next on their list.*
As I am a huge Batman fan, there were a few things I was on the lookout for while reading Nightwalker. The first is a believable origin story. The second was young Bruce’s character reflecting the hero he would become. Finally, I really wanted this book to fit in with the Batman lore that has already been established and for the villains to really feel like they fit into the Batman universe. I’m so thrilled to say that I got all three of these things.
When Nightwalker opens, Bruce has just come into the Wayne family fortune. He’s still struggling with the death of his parents, but has decided to continue the charitable work they had established before their untimely deaths. He is a smart, capable young man. He’s also interested in listening in on police scanners, following the criminal goings-on in Gotham, and wants to help justice prevail in the city. In short, Lu creates exactly the Bruce Wayne we want to see. He’s the kind of person you could really imagine growing into the role of Batman. His interest in detective work and his intelligence are well-established.
I really loved the inclusion of much-beloved characters like Alfred and Harvey Dent. The long-suffering Alfred just feels exactly like the man we’ve seen in the comics, films, and cartoon. Harvey Dent, who we know will later become the infamous Two-Face, is one of Bruce’s closest friends in Nightwalker. We can see very small hints at his future signature traits, but they’re reasonably subtle. We have other characters come into play that aren’t part of the Batman lore, but fit in with the story incredibly well.
Now we turn to the Nightwalkers themselves. I really felt like their message and mission suited a place like Gotham incredibly well. I enjoyed the way that they operated and the ominous threat they posed, but I wish we had a little more! Madeline is the main focus, of course, and while I liked her well enough as a character, I felt like it would have been nice to move away from her a little and focus on the group terrorising the city’s elite — the Nightwalkers felt a little like stage decoration.
In terms of Madeline’s character, I really wish that she had taken a different turn. I won’t spoil anything but I didn’t like the way things worked out at the end (let’s chat if you’ve read it!). I thought she was a good character that could have been great! It was a little disappointing.
Overall, I liked Nightwalker. I thought the plot was quite slow for the first half, and I struggled to stay interested. However when things pulled together and really got going, I couldn’t put the book down. It was a big contrast from Warcross, which was engaging from the first page. I thought the characterization of Bruce Wayne was perfect, and it feels like a story pulled straight out of one of the Batman comics. I’m actually a little sad that this isn’t going to be its own full series! I would love a series of novels set in Gotham.
Don’t forget that you can also get Wonder Woman: Warbringer, the first book in the DC Icons series, now! Catwoman: Soul Stealer by Sarah J. Maas will be released in 2018.
You can buy Batman: Nightwalker at the following sites (affiliate links):
Have you read Batman: Nightwalker? Are you looking forward to picking it up? Are you excited for more books in the DC Icons series? Let me know!
*Copy courtesy of Goodreads