Category: young adult

Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J. Maas Review

Title: Catwoman: Soul Stealer

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Age Group: Teen/Young Adult

Genre: Fantasy

Series: DC Icons, book three

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

I’m a complete comic junkie, though usually, I tend to lean more toward Marvel than DC. However, there are a few notable exceptions in the DC Comics canon. Two of those are the protagonists of the two previous Icons novels, Diana/Wonder Woman, and Bruce Wayne/Batman, and the third DC Icons book returns to Gotham with the young woman who becomes Catwoman, the author being Sarah J. Maas. If I’m being totally honest, part of the reason I picked up Soulstealer was because I was hoping to see certain other characters as well, and I was not disappointed. I really enjoyed this book, and I’m really excited about the next entry in the series. This book is one of my favorites of Sarah J. Maas, and one of my favorite books of 2018.

Soulstealer explores how the young Selina Kyle became the master thief and techie, Catwoman, and I really loved the ride, every step of the way. The book begins with Selina fighting for money, literally, forced to hand to hand combat in order to support herself and her sister. After returning as the wealthy, mysterious socialite Holly Vanderhees, she begins to use her training and cunning to bring the corrupt members of Gotham down hard. Things soon get further complicated when she crosses paths with several residents of the city’s seedy underbelly, and Selina soon realizes that her mission could cost her everything, to cap all of her other losses. But hey, when the Bat’s away, the cat will play, right?

I really liked this book; it’s probably my favorite so far in the series. Selina Kyle is one of my favorite characters from the Batman canon, and to have a whole book to read of her journey; I love comics, but I really like this medium to tell familiar stories. As soon as I was done with For a Muse of Fire, I dove in, not sure what to expect. The pacing was breakneck, and I was immediately plunged into Selina’s dangerous but exciting world; I really liked getting to know who the young woman who becomes Catwoman was; it really helped me understand her. It was nice to have background of a character whose past I knew so little about. I also loved the other cameos Maas introduced, some of my favorites: Batwing, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, the Joker. I loved the way that Selina tried to balance being normal and being a cunning, clever thief by night. I was cheering, laughing, and crying the whole time; it felt like returning to a more fun, but still gritty, version of the Gotham I thought I knew. There were times that I was slightly confused, but overall, this book is my favorite of the series, and though I’ve never been a Superman fan, I’m looking forward to it next year. Sarah J. Maas has done a fantastic job of bringing one of my favorite comic book characters to life, and I’m so excited for Matt de la Pena’s Superman! One of my favorite books of 2018! The bottom line: An origin story for one of my favorite characters in the whole DC canon, I loved Soulstealer; it is my favorite book in the Icons series, and of the year! I can’t wait for the next book in the series, and this one is a testament to Sarah J. Maas’s considerable talent! Next on deck: The Deepest Roots by Miranda Asebedo!

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Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson

Burgeoning witch Mila is absolutely convinced her best friend Riley did not kill herself. Two other girls at her school are also dead, from an apparent suicide pact. But it’s all too suspicious and Mila isn’t ready to just let her friend go. Instead, she decides to raise the dead! But she brings back more than she was planning on, and her spells come with side effects she didn’t expect. 

I picked this book up, put it down, picked it up, read a bit, put it down for months, and then finally got hooked on it. Maybe the beginning was slow. Maybe I just wasn’t in the headspace to deal with a book containing so much grief. Yes, this is a story about witches and magic and bringing the dead back to life, but it is grounded in very real emotions. Mila’s loneliness, her loss, really overwhelmed me. And then the difficulties she faced after getting Riley back broke my heart all over again. Mila is an outcast and a loner– Riley was truly the only person who meant anything to her. Watching their friendship sputter and stall, struggling as Mila struggles to try and understand what is happening to her and her friend, is hard. I felt very moved by the love and devotion present in this book, by weight and meaning that Anderson gave to friendship and companionship.

Mila is also a great character, with an inner voice that is viciously self aware, defiantly sarcastic, and totally honest. If maybe the red herrings were a little too obvious and the bad guy turns has one too many monologues explaining his evil intentions, I was okay with it. By that point, I loved Mila and was invested in her happy ending. The hardest part of this book is knowing the way it has to end, but Anderson makes room for hope and new beginnings even with all the death surrounding Mila. 5 stars.

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