12 hours 36 minutes | Listening Library | 1/02/18
After getting caught playing vigilante on the streets of Gotham City, 18-year-old Bruce Wayne is sentenced to scrubbing the floors of Arkham Asylum as community service. There he crosses paths with Arkham’s newest inmate Madeline Wallace, who is believed to be the mastermind behind the notorious Nightwalker street gang. But Bruce thinks there might be more to Madeline than meets the eye.
When DC announced it was working with YA authors to write teen versions of their superheroes I knew Marie Lu would be a perfect choice. Her books are all about super capable teens fighting the system and saving the day. She’s an auto-buy author for me, but this book was just kinda meh for me. The plot focused so much on what is not said, that if I didn’t know this was a Batman prequel I would have DNF’d it. It does find its legs in the end but the middle section just dragged.
I do like what Marie Lu did with the character of Bruce Wayne. She got rid of the billionaire playboy aspect of Bruce Wayne’s personality and made him a more well rounded inquisitive teen obsessed with technology and understanding the meaning of justice. This book also has something to say about police brutality, street harassment and even has Bruce unpack some of his privilege. I don’t know if all the Icon books have a social justice aspect but it did make sense in this one.
I’m curious about what the rules are for DC Icons books and if they are supposed to be connecting to a bigger arc. I didn’t notice any references to the last book, Wonder Woman, but we do get a few mentions of Metropolis and the Luther family.
Audiobook narrator Will Damron delivers a solid narration but there were times when I would just zone out because his voice was so one note. Also his Alfred Pennyworth is a dead on impression of the Alfred voice from the Batman The Animated Series from the 90’s.
That said, I really like that more superheroes are getting YA books, it’s a great alternative for someone like me who enjoys superhero films but isn’t into comics.
I’m a lifelong reader who started blogging about YA books in 2011 but now I read in just about every genre! I love YA coming of age stories, compelling memoirs and genre bending SFF. You can find me talking all things romance at Romance and Sensibility.