I’ve never been a fan of comics, though I enjoyed a lot of films based on them. However, hearing Sarah J. Maas, one of my favorite YA writer, is penning a DC icon book, I had to check it out. Also, because Catwoman is set in modern day urban setting while SJM is a writer whose books are always set in second world fae settings.
Anyway, my expectations were met to the fullest. I LOVE this book so so much. Reading this book affirmed SJM can write books set in modern days as well (Guess what it means? I’ll be picking up Crescent City, SJM’s upcoming adult urban fantasy as well!). But this book made me so so happy while reading. Most of Sarah’s previous notorious traits were unseen here (maybe one or two but not much).
I’m so, so glad SJM is trying to make her books more diverse (though something that made me a bit upset was she still hadn’t relinquished her “kill the PoC” trope much. I hope she will improve on it in her later books.)
But what impressed me most about this book are:
01) Really Amazing Plot:
Seriously, it is!!! Before I picked up this book, I went to check out its GR reviews and some were very upfront about how the plot is slow and clichéd. I was a bit wary. But then I began and got instantly hooked in the first two chapters of the lengthy prologue. Selina’s story is oh so good. Her struggles are shown very humanely. I mean, I know Catwoman aka Selina Kyle grew up amidst poverty even in the comics and the Dark Knight trilogy movies. But Sarah showed it here so poignantly. Selina’s struggle to keep her sister (who is suffering from cystic fibrosis and thus has very little time to live) well-fed, out of any trouble from an abusive mother and an absentee father, from heinous social workers and even from dying too. I loved the tightly knitted plot and the seamless pacing as well. What made me most happy is how SJM, who is an expert in excellent foreshadowing, kept her flare in this book, something that made me her fan in the first place. The surprises and the “click in the place” moments were too good!
Selina Kyle aka Catwoman aka Holly Vanderhees:
I loved Selina. I’ve never read much about Catwoman and saw very little movies featuring her. I loved how SJM showed her story minus Batman, whose story often shadowed Selina’s own.
Anyway, Selina is one of my favorite YA heroines now. She is badass, fierce, calm and calculated, but also has a soft, human side and a gray moral side. She yearns to be loved and kissed and held romantically when she sees two prominent characters being lovey dovey to each other. She has PTSD from years of having an abusive mother and then the abusive training at the hands of the al-Ghūl sisters. Her trauma is also shown poignantly and touched me in a lot places within the story. But mostly what I loved about her was her fierce love and protectiveness toward her sister, Maggie. When it comes to Maggie (alongside Luke of course), Selina is the most vulnerable.
One thing I noticed is SJM kept mentioning how Selina was a white girl and tbh, I liked it. Contrast to her love interest, Luke Fox, who is a black man, SJM showed us how despite being poor, she has white privilege and thus shows us what white privilege truly is and how it doesn’t matter what financial background you come from.
I kept imagining Michael B. Jordan as Luke Fox *giggles*. I LOVEEEEEE Luke. He is so cute and amazingly awesome. I loved reading his POV and his side of the story. I loved every time his ass got kicked by Selina and his sulking afterwards. I loved his tight knit family and his close and adorable relationship with his parents, who are amazing as well. I loved his friendship with his two best friends. But his life is not sunshine and rainbow. His conscience often suffers from PTSD from being served in the Marine overseas. His pain is raw and makes him often vulnerable. His affections toward Selina, whether as Catwoman or Holly Vanderhees or even as Selina Kyle in the latter portion of the book made my heart warm. He is such a cinnamon roll.
Especially in this scene where *spoiler alert* he is heartbroken over Selina dying temporarily:
Luke peered down at the lifeless face, gently closing Selina’s eyes as a panel slid up to reveal the lower half of his face. He leaned in, brushing a kiss over her mouth before he murmured into her ear, “Please.”
Also this post climactic scene:
She cut him a glare. “If that is a new nickname—”
Luke grabbed her face in his hands and kissed her.
The light changed, and the car behind them began honking, but Luke didn’t move, didn’t really care about anything as her mouth opened to him and her hands slid around his neck.
When he pulled back, her breathing was just as uneven as his. Luke brushed his mouth over hers. Once, twice. Unable to stop himself.
“Let me take you out—a real date.”
The words slipped from him before he could think.
Me as a fangirl:
Truly!!! I love Luke more than I’ll ever love Rhysand tbh.
What I also loved about his portrayal was how SJM showed us racism, though not much, from his POV. SJM showed how some of the corrupt Gotham police nab and plant teen black kids and use their skin color to enforce their power. How despite being so rich, Luke is still stopped by cops while driving and only let go because of his social status and financial powers.
Looks like SJM is learning 😉
I loved her character!! She is one of the sweetest villains I’ve ever read about. Tbh, she doesn’t sound like a villain at all. Though she is an eco-terrorist, she is very much sympathetic, empathetic and kind. She even supports Selina even after she hurts her and Harley. My heart breaks knowing her love for Harley is unrequited and despite knowing that, Ivy carries a torch for Harley. Ivy is my favorite character after Luke and Selina in this book.
OMG she’s a treat. Prone of extreme mood swing and mercurial nature, Harley is one ticking bomb to be careful of (pun intended). I can sense she loves Ivy somewhat but not as much as Ivy loves her. Her vulnerable obsession with the Joker is too creepy. But SJM makes her somewhat human too by showing her vulnerability toward her mother, how her mom is her kryptonite.
03) Sexy yet tender romance:
Sexy but not the way ACOTAR was shown. Rather in fun bantering and bickering, Selina and Luke trying to one-up each other, in tender moments and even more tender kisses, and Luke being an adorable cinnamon roll gentleman to Selina are just heart popping cute romance I’m gonna ship forever 😍😍😍
Even Harley and Ivy got their adorable moments, especially when one gets protective of the other (mostly Harley over Ivy but Ivy gets protective too 😁😁😁).
SJM is an expert in romance like these, completely slow-burn.
So overall, you can see how much this book won me over. I loved it so so much, I might read it again in near future. And FYI, I devoured this book in a day, two days before my midterm exams. So y’all can tell how much I loved it.