Batman: Nightwalker

Batman - Nightwalker


Title: Batman: Nightwalker

Author: Marie Lu

Series: DC Icons, #2

Publisher: Penguin

Release Date: January 4th 2018

Rating:

Four Stars

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…

…The Plot

“How was it today?” Alfred asked.
Bruce cast his guardian a dry look through the rearview mirror. “Had the best time,” he replied. “I highly recommend it.”
Alfred frowned at him. “Where do you inherit all this sarcasm from, Master Wayne?”

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.

At his silence, a glint appeared in her eyes. “It really bothers you, doesn’t it? You like to understand why things happen, to solve the mystery and put it into neat little boxes—but you haven’t figured this one out yet.”
His mind spun, trying to find the right category for her.

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.

…The Characters

“He’d obsessed over criminal cases since he was young—but reading mystery novels and listening to a police scanner in the middle of the night would be nothing like seeing the inside of a prison with his own eyes.”

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.

Madeleine looked bleakly at him. “This story can’t end happily for us,” she finally replied, tearing her eyes away and standing up. “So let’s just finish this.”

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 first realized you’d be a handful when you accidentally set that old garden toolshed on fire with a blowtorch,” he replied. “Do you remember that? You were thirteen. Five years later, here we are, aiding and abetting you as a fugitive.” His voice lowered. “My job is to keep you safe, Master Wayne. But if that means making sure you don’t try something absurd behind my back, then so be it.”

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.

…The Setting

“But looking out, all he saw was an ocean of light, the shimmering heart of Gotham City spread out before him. He didn’t know everything his future held for him, not yet, but he knew that whatever it was, it would remain here.
It looked like a place worth protecting.
It looked like home.”

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.

24 thoughts on “Batman: Nightwalker

    1. Yeah I love it when novels have twists that I don’t see coming because it really knocks me off my feet, but the one in Batman just fell flat tbh. I dunno, luckily there was more in this book I enjoyed than didn’t enjoy.
      Thanks so much! 😀 ❤

      Like

  1. Oh yay! You’ve finally managed to read this one! I’ve been waiting 😀 And I know how much you dislike Batman, so it warms my heart that you’ve awarded this one 4 stars!!! I very much agree that Madeline was the best character and that Bruce’s character was much improved in Marie Lu’s young version of him. The dynamic between the two characters was considerably the best part about the book. I definitely agree that Harvey’s character could have used a bit more development and that the asylum was a bit lacking in detail even though it’s an incredibly important part of the story and to the comics in general. Lovely review, Beth! So happy that you managed to enjoy this one despite your dislike of Batman lol. Sometimes the author is a big help!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes it took me long enough but I got around to it in the end. I’m never going to like Batman, but this book wasn’t that bad and I love Marie Lu’s writing so trusted what she could do with the character and the story.
      Madeline was brilliant, but yeah this was a short book so I feel like there were always going to be characters and aspects who were a little less developed you know?
      Thanks so much Azia, and yeah your favourite authors can do no wrong right? 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve never been a huge fan of Batman, and I don’t know much about him, but I love Marie Lu’s writing, and it sounds pretty interesting! I think I will give it a try sometime soon. Great Review!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m still not sure if I’d like to buy this one, but your review has at least made me interested in checking it out if I can find it at a library!

    I’m not terribly into superhero novels (but I love the Marvel movies). I only bought/read Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo because I’m a big fan of the author. And that book made me think twice about how a fun story can be with a good (as opposed to morally ambiguous) protagonist.

    I’m not sure I like Marie Lu’s style of writing or storytelling, but I liked the excerpts and details you reviewed here so maybe it’ll be my first Marie Lu read ^_^

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d still recommend it, I though it was a good story and this is coming from someone who isn’t a massive fan of Batman. 🙂
      Oh I love superhero movies, but I’m more of a Marvel fan than DC. I loved the Wonder Woman film so I had to pick up the book (plus yeah I love Leigh Bardugo too) and then I had to complete the series.
      If it is your first Marie Lu book I hope you end up enjoying it. She’s actually one of my favourite authors. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love love loved Wonder Woman but I just could not enjoy Batman: Nightwalker only because I am not a fan of the bat. I thought the story was fantastic and the characters were so enjoyable but I have never been into Batman’s stories. I can’t help it – he’s my least favorite Superhero! Still, I enjoyed this book as much as a bat-hater can. 🙂 Great review!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well I definitely enjoyed Wonder Woman more than I did Batman, but I still thought this was a decent story overall (possibly because it was written by Marie Lu and she’s an incredible author). I’m a lot more excited for the Catwoman one being released in a couple more months! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Is it weird that I’ve always been more into Bruce Wayne than his alter ego? LOL! I grew up watching Batman on tv (aging myself here lol) & so I can’t help but p/u anything BM related. I do have this book but I haven’t read it yet. Curious to see how Marie Lu writes 18 yr old BM though & Madeline sounds intriguing! wonderful review Beth! ❤ ❤ ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ha, I don’t think it’s that weird. I guess if I consider them as separate characters rather than one I prefer Bruce Wayne too. Oh I hope you enjoy this book then Lilly, I’m not a fan of Batman and I enjoyed the story so hopefully as a fan you’ll enjoy it even more.
      Thanks so much! 😀 ❤

      Like

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