***Review posted on The Uncharted Word blog***
I love Batman. He is my favorite DC hero and possibly my favorite superhero of all time. So you could imagine my excitement when I discovered one of my favorite YA authors was going to write an origin story for The Batman. Was I satisfied with what I got? Heck yes I was.
The characters are the strength of this story, particularly young Bruce Wayne himself. I have to admit that I usually find Bruce Wayne to be kind of boring, not as the Caped Crusader, but as Bruce Wayne the billionaire playboy. However, Marie Lu manages to improve on his character by making young Bruce Wayne a compassionate and intelligent character with complex emotions and a vibrant personality, ultimately making him a much more interesting and relatable character.
The original source material is drawn upon for certain key facts (i.e. Bruce’s parents are killed by a thug, Alfred Pennyworth is his Guardian, Lucius Fox runs Wayne Tech, etc.) but this story is a complete alternate version. Marie Lu uses these pivotal elements to anchor her readers and to provide us with a new and familiar narrative that feels like a Batman story.
From beginning to end, the entire story is extremely fast-paced and rarely boring. This is mostly because the story is packed into 250 pages, which is also a drawback. The story could have been expanded on in some places. More time could have been devoted to the unraveling of the Nightwalker scheme as well as the individual character development of Bruce’s closest friends Dianne Garcia and Harvey (Dent). They were each great characters without much background story, which is a shame because both have so much potential.
Madeleine was an amazing villainess. The author really managed to capture her eerie yet charming personality in the description of her movements as well as her speech. I also love how Marie Lu kept continued with Bruce’s tendency to be attracted to femme fetales (i.e. Selina Kyle and Talia al Ghul)!
There were so many things to like about this book. I do feel as if Bruce’s darker musings about his parents’ death and his sense of justice could have been amplified a bit more, but that’s just a personal preference. And although really short and slightly lacking in secondary character development, this book was thrilling, suspenseful, appropriately dark, and so much fun to read.