‘Batman: Nightwalker’ by Marie Lu is everything to me.
Synopsis: Letting off some steam with a new Aston Martin after walking out of a charity gala, Bruce finds himself chasing down a member of a terrorist gang, the Nightwalkers. The result of interfering with police duties has landed him a sentence of community service, to be spent at Arkham Asylum where he meets a young member of the Nightwalkers. Madeleine looks innocent enough and despite the connection they seem to have, Bruce soon realises that Madeleine is not all she seems. Can Bruce figure it out before it’s too late?
I’ve always had a love for Bruce Wayne and by extension, Batman. The films with George Clooney were the first I watched of him and even though I didn’t realise it at the time, it was instant love. This was the character that triggered my love for superheroes. In general, I found Batman to be such a captivating hero because of his villains. He has one of the largest amounts of villains and they are all such diverse characters that there’s never a chance to get bored. Some of his villains are even lovable and their interactions are playful and flirty. There’s a reason why there are so many films, spin offs, animation series, games, toys, comics, etc. Batman is an icon; Bruce was born rich and privileged but Batman was born from grief and justice.
This has to be clarified: This isn’t really an origin story, it is a pre-origin story. At no point is the word ‘Batman’ written within this book (at the end there’s only the slightest notion of Batman beginning). It is also a surprisingly short story. The book starts with Bruce attending a gala despite being in high school still. It’s very heart warming to see him carrying the Wayne flame at such an early age and with such pride. His parents legacy is a focal point throughout the book and both spurs him on and weighs on his shoulders.
In this book, Bruce is only just beginning to understand his level of curiosity and sense of justice where crime in Gotham City is concerned. The opening chapters tell you a great deal about his character and even at this early stage you can see the foundations of Batman forming and taking shape. His heart is very big and soft and he hasn’t yet learned how to shut off certain emotions or harden those feelings. This is pre-playboy Bruce and you can see why he might end up portraying that persona in the future after reading this. My heart is still bleeding.
Madeleine was a perfect counterpart to Bruce. I couldn’t now imagine any other character doing a better job. She is clever and her innocent appearance easily masks her skills. I lived for the interactions between these two. I could’ve sworn I felt the tension and pull as I was reading their scenes. Her manipulations of Bruce were so subtle that half the time I didn’t recognise them for what they were. This is a testament to Lu’s writing ability; it’s pure magic.
There were so many elements to this story that I simply adored. I would read a certain paragraph or conversation and I would just suddenly squeal with delight at something happening or being mentioned that I recognised. Example: the playfulness between Alfred and Bruce, or the mention of the caves under the estate or the BATS. Even Harvey and his coin! So many easter eggs within this that I can’t stop thinking about it even days on from finishing it. I have the craziest urge to watch all the Christopher Nolan Batman films. Again.
I wholeheartedly accept and understand that I may have a problem; I keep talking about Bruce/Batman as if he is real. The truth is, he is for me. My love for Batman is a legit rival for my love for Wonder Woman. Also Superman. DC always wins for me and with two more ‘DC Icons’ books to come out, I can see my obsession growing. This was my first Marie Lu book and I am now extremely excited to read her previous works.
“I can’t think of a story where the billionaire and the murderer end up happily ever after.”
You can get it here
I received this in LitJoy Crate’s January ‘YA Batman’ box.