Interesting Start but Predictable Turns - Batman: Nightwalker [Review]

Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu

Before he was Batman, he was Bruce Wayne. A reckless boy willing to break the rules for a girl who may be his worst enemy.

The Nightwalkers are terrorizing Gotham City, and Bruce Wayne is next on their list.

One by one, the city's elites are being executed as their mansions' security systems turn against them, trapping them like prey. Meanwhile, Bruce is turning eighteen and about to inherit his family's fortune, not to mention the keys to Wayne Enterprises and all the tech gadgetry his heart could ever desire. But after a run-in with the police, he's forced to do community service at Arkham Asylum, the infamous prison that holds the city's most brutal criminals.

Madeleine Wallace is a brilliant killer . . . and Bruce's only hope.

In Arkham, Bruce meets Madeleine, a brilliant girl with ties to the Nightwalkers. What is she hiding? And why will she speak only to Bruce? Madeleine is the mystery Bruce must unravel. But is he getting her to divulge her secrets, or is he feeding her the information she needs to bring Gotham City to its knees? Bruce will walk the dark line between trust and betrayal as the Nightwalkers circle closer.


Buddy read this book with the awesome Amy @A Magical World of Words and the amazing Di @Book Reviews by Di. You can find their reviews HERE and HERE!

For the record, Christian Bale will always be Batman for me.

I'm not quite sure how to review this book. I think it's safe to say while I enjoyed it, I wasn't quite blown away by it. It's not easy to take popular superheroes and write them in a new way. That was the reason I was a little nervous about the whole DC Icons series. But after reading Bardugo's Wonder Woman: Warbringer, I got excited for the rest of the series. Probably too excited. And reading this book while still in the high of WWW, Batman: Nightwalker felt underwhelming.

This story doesn't have 'Batman' just so you know. If you go in there with the movies in mind, you might be disappointed. This is a story of a Bruce Wayne, the billionaire boy before he became Batman. This is a story of him realizing that Gotham city is worth saving. A story of him realizing that he could probably contribute to it's safety.

“Now the tires screeched in protest as Bruce hit another sharp turn.
"I heard that," said Alfred Pennyworth from the car's live video touch screen. He gave Bruce a withering look. "A bit slower on the turns, Master Wayne."
"Aston Martins weren't made for slow turns, Alfred."
"They weren't made to be wrecked, either."
The story started off pretty great. There's a lot of mystery in the air. There is tension among the city's richest as the Nightwalkers pick them off one by one. Then Madeleine Wallace is caught and the story takes an interesting turn. I enjoyed Bruce's conversations with Madeleine although it felt a little cliched. What really made the book fall flat for me was Madeleine's story arc. It felt predictable and somewhat cheesy; neither of which have place in a Batman story.

“Maybe they weren't a smart match but fate had matched them anyway; and someday in some future perhaps they would be matched again.”
While I initially enjoyed Bruce as a character he came off as one dimensional at times. Madeleine, quite an anti-hero character who reminded me of Catwoman at times could have carried this story all on her shoulders had her arc gone a little different direction. But this story is about Bruce and I didn't feel his character had developed well enough for a main character.

What I enjoyed a LOT was the tech. Which is weird considering I'm pretty much technologically challenged. But I've always been fascinated by gadgets in Bond movies, mission Impossible and of course Barman movies. Before starting the book I wondered how Lu would write in technology without it feeling like a mechanical engineering textbook. I needn't have worried for the author does a fantastic job with that.

Another aspect I enjoyed a lot is the writing itself. There's no denying Marie Lu can write beautifully. The descriptions step off the page and paint images in your head. I enjoyed her descriptions of places, especially Arkham Asylum. The writing really kept my interest when the plot wasn't doing a good job at it. This was my first book by Marie Lu and the writing definitely didn't disappoint me.

Special mention - Alfred is a darling. He was another character I was worried about before reading the book but he's definitely my most favorite of them all. sassy, politely sarcastic Alfred is the best and the author is so on point with that.

“Alfred frowned at him. "Where do you inherit all this sarcasm from, Master Wayne?"
"I don't know." Bruce learned forward and hung an arm over the side of Alfred's seat. "Maybe it's from you."
"Me? Sarcastic?" Alfred sniffed, the barest hint of a smile appearing on his lips. "It's as if you think I'm British."
Despite the long day, Bruce couldn't help but grin at the retort.”
A beautifully written story that might have been amazing had it not been for predictable plot twists and inconsistent characterization. While I initially was pulled in by the mystery of the story, the reveals and the direction the plot takes, failed to hold my interest. And I remind you again, it's not a 'Batman' story, it's a Bruce Wayne story; probably the reason why it isn't as dark or thrilling.

Have you read this book? What did you think? Do you like the Batman movies?

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