I love Sarah J. Maas, even though I also admit that parts of her Court of Thorns and Roses series feel slightly inspired by/ derivative of Anne Bishop’s super trashy yet addictive The Black Jewels series. Something about the long lived winged warriors seems too familiar for Maas not to be pulling either from the same inspiration as Bishop at minimum, if not from Bishop herself. In fact, Maas is the reason I even became interested in the DC Icon series despite being more of a Marvel girl – I’m not a comic reader so my opinions are based solely on movies and DC TV shows.
I liked Catwoman but I actually think I preferred Leigh Bardugo’s take on Wonder Woman. I think there are a few reasons for this – I had heard Bardugo was much better after the original Grisha trilogy but having only read the first of that trilogy, I wasn’t exactly a huge fan of her work so I was impressed with how much I enjoyed Warbringer. I also think her novel corrected the biggest flaw/issue I had with Wonder Woman as portrayed in the movie: Diana Price was too naive about human nature and it annoyed me. Bardugo’s Wonder Woman is naive about some things about the modern world, but she manages to be optimistic about human nature and humanity without a misplaced naivety.
In comparison, Catwoman was a good novel, well-written and tightly plotted, but by the end, Selina Kyle felt a bit too much like other Maas heroines who always stay two steps ahead of everyone and perfectly control the whole chess board. Now, DC may have very well picked Maas for Catwoman because she already writes those types of characters rather than Maas turning Catwoman into a copy of one of her characters. However, what that means is that by the end, Catwoman felt like a bit of a rehash to me while Wonder Woman felt fresh.
That it isn’t to say it wasn’t a fun ride, and I thoroughly enjoyed the novel for most of the journey. It was simply that when everything wrapped up, I felt like it was the type of thing Maas has already perfected and I wouldn’t have minded something a little bit different from her.
Two years ago, Selina made a deal with Talia al Ghul to join the League of Assassins on the condition that they help her sister Maggie find a good home where she could get proper care and treatment for her cerebral palsy. Selina had attracted the League’s attention due to a combination of her academic record and her work as a fighter/former gymnast in the girl gang, the Leopards.
Now, she is back in Gotham as Holly with a plan to take down the city. Batman is on a mission out of town, leaving Batwing behind to protect the city. Batwing is the alter ego of Luke Fox, son of Lucius Fox and a former Marine suffering from PTSD. He realizes he may be in a bit over his head when Catwoman keeps beating him in confrontations but he also realizes there may be more behind her motivations. It certainly doesn’t make his life any easier when she teams up with Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn. In his “real” life, Luke, meanwhile, is dealing with his new next door neighbor, a rich socialite. He finds Holly incredibly superficial, and wants to avoid attracting any attention to his night time habits, but this doesn’t stop them from running into each other at social events all the time. As is to be expected, Catwoman and Batwing as well as their alter egos start developing some unforeseen attraction to each despite their best intentions which add some complications to already complex plots and lives.
It’s a fun novel with an adventure and definitely will make for an entertaining read but there is not necessarily any greater depth. Fun escapism, but ultimately disposable.