Title: Batman: Nightwalker
Author: Marie Lu
Series: DC Icons, #2
Release Date: January 4th 2018
The highly anticipated coming-of-age story for the world’s greatest super hero: Batman by the # 1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu.
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 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.
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
My Thoughts On…
When Bruce becomes caught up in the middle of a police chase he manages to stop the criminal escaping but he himself doesn’t escape punishment for disobeying the police. Sentenced to community service inside Arkham Asylum he spends his days mopping the halls surrounded by the most dangerous criminals Gotham City has, and it’s there he meets Madeline.
I’ve never really been a massive fan of DC or Batman, as a few people will know, but I loved Wonder Woman: Warbringer and I love Marie Lu’s writing so there was never any doubt this was going to make it on my to-read list. Batman: Nightwalker tells Bruce’s story before he becomes Batman, but even in this book you can see the hero he will eventually become. He makes some mistakes in this book, he has a long way to go and he’s not infallible, but he already has a firm sense of justice.
Madeline is part of the Nightwalker gang, and despite the polices best efforts she will only speak to Bruce. Desperate to help Bruce agrees to go undercover, to try and extract Madeline’s secrets before the next person on the Nightwalkers list turns up dead, but the more he learns about Madeline the more he questions her presence in Arkham. Meanwhile the more Bruce learns about Madeline the more Madeline learns about Bruce, and with the Nightwalkers targeting Gotham’s richest citizens Bruce’s name is surely on their list.
A lot of this story involved the back and forth between Madeline and Bruce, which I enjoyed reading mainly because of Madeline’s character. It was the end where everything really came to play, but the twist wasn’t that much of a surprise for me. There were a few hints building up to it but it felt like it had been pulled out of thin air, and it didn’t have the impact Lu was likely aiming for.
Bruce is now eighteen and has control of his inheritance, but that comes with its own wave of problems. I really liked Bruce’s character in this book; he has a firm sense of right and wrong which leads him to help the police even when it’s dangerous and even when he’s been warned away. He also sees the good in everyone, which is certainly noble but when it comes to Madeline it means he starts trusting her more than he probably should.
Madeline is my favourite character in this book. She’s loyal to the Nightwalkers but she doesn’t seem to fully believe in what they’re doing, which leads to her helping Bruce and the police in small and subtle ways. She’s smart, and very quick to read and understand people. In Gotham City Madeline is a survivor, which means she knows what it is to look out for number one and make the decisions she needs to to come out on top.
The relationship between Bruce and Madeline interesting, and I loved the back and forth dynamic between them as they each tried to uncover the secrets the other was keeping. However there were times when Bruce struck me as a little naïve compared to Madeline, especially when it came to figuring out her plans for him. There are a few similarities between Bruce and Madeline, which both characters clearly feel and which give them a connection through their grief few others can understand.
I loved Alfred and his relationship with Bruce. Alfred wants to protect Bruce but he knows how stubborn the younger boy can be and he knows when it’s best to step back and let Bruce make his own decisions, but wait in the wings to offer support if needed. There was also Dianne and Harvey, Bruce’s best friends. While I enjoyed the connection, that Bruce’s childhood friend Harvey was Harvey Dent, I do wish we’d gotten more from his character in terms of development. He felt shunted off to the side more often than not.
In Batman: Nightwalker we see two sides to Gotham City. Firstly there’s the side Bruce lives in, which is glamorous but it’s a life under the scrutiny of the paparazzi. There are endless parties, and benefits, and WayneTech products that need endorsements from the eighteen-year-old Bruce Wayne. Then there’s the side Madeline lives in; Arkham Asylum, where the worst of the worst has been locked away. I do wish we’d got to see more of Arkham Asylum in this book, it was where the bulk of the story was set but we seemed to skip past a lot of it as Bruce stood in front of Madeline’s cell talking to her.
I’m never going to be a huge fan of Batman but I did really enjoy Marie Lu’s take on the character. Bruce Wayne was well written and while you could see hints of the hero he would become he still has a way to go before he can become Batman. Batman: Nightwalker was definitely an engaging story, but unfortunately the twist at the end didn’t have the impact on me it likely should have.
What did you think of Batman: Nightwalker? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.