Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J Maas

Released in North America on August 7, 2018, Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J Maas is sizzling with action and suspense. In Catwoman: Soulstealer, Maas delivers a coming-of-age Selina Kyle who will steal readers’ hearts. Catwoman: Soulstealer is the third of a series of DC Icons books, inspired by some of the most well-known DC Superheroes of all-time. This new series features megastar young adult authors Leigh Bardugo (Wonder Woman), Marie Lu (Batman), Sarah J. Maas (Catwoman), and Matt de la Peña (Superman).

When the Bat’s away, the Cat will play. It’s time to see how many lives this cat really has. Two years after escaping Gotham City’s slums, Selina Kyle returns as the mysterious and wealthy Holly Vanderhees. She quickly discovers that with Batman off on a vital mission, Gotham City looks ripe for the taking. Meanwhile, Luke Fox wants to prove that as Batwing he has what it takes to help people. He targets a new thief on the prowl who has teamed up with Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn. Together, they are wreaking havoc. This Catwoman is clever–she may be Batwing’s undoing. In this third DC Icons book, Selina is playing a desperate game of cat and mouse, forming unexpected friendships and entangling herself with Batwing by night and her devilishly handsome neighbor Luke Fox by day. But with a dangerous threat from the past on her tail, will she be able to pull off the heist that’s closest to her heart?

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This was undoubtedly my favourite addition to the DC Icons series thus far! While I found Bardugo’s Wonderwoman to be unoriginal, and Marie Lu’s Batman to be predictable, everything about Maas’ Catwoman: Soulstealer felt fresh and unpredictable – and this fabulous story was practically overflowing with feminine power!

From Selina Kyle herself, to Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy, there was certainly no shortage of strong female characters to carry this plot along. And what’s more, I really loved seeing the friendship and team that grew out of the girls’ partnership. It was refreshing to see female characters connecting over things unrelated to men, discussing how best to achieved their (albeit illegal) goals, and generally just being… women. Moreover, I love how Maas has written Selina, showing that strength in a woman doesn’t always mean a tough exterior, rigidity and hatred. While Catwoman is traditionally a much ore aggressive and sassier character than Maas’s Selina, the Catwoman Maas created is frequently emotional and is driven by her love for others – though no less strong or less powerful for it. I liked how tough Selina was, but how human she was too – a real homage to the power of a woman.

“Catwoman was a good way to describe her. The ears on the dark helmet, the oversized lenses, the claws she’d just retracted after that spectacular jump… Even her steps toward him oozed feline grace” – Sarah J Maas, Catwoman: Soulstealer

I also enjoyed Maas’ Batwing in Luke Fox (yes, apparently Lucius Fox named his son Luke, because… Gotham? Who knows.). It’s a shame that his primary role was a seemingly obligatory romance with Catwoman, but it was refreshing to see a person of colour portrayed in a position of power and importance. What’s more, Batwing’s ongoing struggle with his mental health (lingering PTSD from his time serving his country) was intriguing and heart wrenching to read.

The story itself also had a lot going on, but not so much that the reader ever felt lost or confused. As usual, Maas managed to withhold and release information at just the right times to keep the reader guessing, while progressing the plot in a timely and logical manner, so that it’s pacing and the storytelling felt realistic and engaging.

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Catwoman: Soulstealer really has it all going on. From girls being badass together, heists and bloody fights, and a multitude of looming threats, Maas certainly keeps readers on their feet throughout Selina Kyle’s story, never quite knowing just where Catwoman will pounce next (4.5/5).

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