BOOK REVIEW: Marie Lu “Batman: Nightwalker”

untitledTitle: Batman: Nightwalker

Author: Marie Lu

Genre: Science Fiction

My Rating: 4/5 stars

 

Bruce Wayne has just turned 18, just given access to his trust fund, and is ready to carry on his parent’s legacy. Sadly, on the eve his birthday and a very important fundraising dinner, Bruce crashes while chasing down a fugitive and gets into trouble for interfering for police business. His punishment: community service work at Arkham Asylum.

During his time mopping floors in the prison, Wayne encounters an inmate, Madeleine, who takes a special interest in him. When the police find out, all talk of punishment is dismissed in favor of using him to get closer to this prisoner.

Soon Bruce finds himself close to the case and even closer to the person of interest. But is he really getting closer to Madeleine, or has he been manipulated the entire time?

My thoughts:

Batman: Nightwalker is the second in the DC: Icons series. The first was Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo, but you don’t have to read it to enjoy Batman or any of the book released after this. If you read my review for Wonder Woman, you’d know that sadly, I didn’t enjoy it very much.

All that to say that this installment was a welcome surprise. I’ve always loved Batman, and seeing this origin story was super awesome. We’ve never really seen an adolescent Bruce Wayne before and it made him seem fresh and new. We also got to see a young Harvey Dent and even caught a glimpse at future James Gordon.

I really enjoyed seeing Bruce’s relationship with Madeleine develop, and I also enjoyed Madeleine’s mysterious nature and the intrigue surrounding her possible crimes. Arkham Asylum was properly creepy and Wayne’s reactions to everything thrown at him were believable and understandable.

This story was action-packed, gasp-filled, and everything that a Batman story should be. I found it very entertaining and I absolutely can’t wait for Catwoman in a few months, written by Sarah J Maas.

 

Marie Lu: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

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Hyped Books I Wasn’t Impressed With

We all know the feeling of reading a highly acclaimed novel that just didn’t live up to the hype. It’s disappointing and frustrating, especially when you feel like you’re the only person in the world who didn’t enjoy it and everyone else is giving it raving reviews.

16101128The first book that comes to mind for me is The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey. I remember reading this book and giving it an absolutely scathing review on Goodreads because I was so angry. Rick Yancey is a wonderful writer and The Monstrumologist series is one of my favorites (as you can see here). I had read the first Monstrumologist book before The 5th Wave was released and I was so excited to read more from such an amazing author. I expected gorgeous writing, complex characters and a unique story, and all I got was teen angst and a predictable, unoriginal alien invasion tale. I didn’t like any of the characters and I thought the writing was far inferior to that of his previous works. Now, I since have read The Infinite Sea and thought it was a little better, but that’s only because I lowered my standards. I have yet to read The Last StarĀ and I’m not sure if I ever will.

Harry_Potter_and_the_Cursed_Child_Script_Book_CoverAnother ridiculously anticipated novel that I thought was garbage is The Cursed Child. This book doesn’t deserve to exist, and that’s me being nice. I loathed this. I’ve read Harry Potter fan fiction that was better than this. No, seriously; way better. The Cursed Child is about Harry Potter’s son, Albus, and his years at Hogwarts… and it spat on everything that the Harry Potter series was about. It made Harry out to be a horrible father, which makes no sense. There’s no reason why he shouldn’t have been more understanding of his son. None of the characters were true to the original story. It was a horrible mess and I refuse to accept this as a part of the series. It’s a piece of trash. That is all.

99561I love John Green, don’t get me wrong, but I never really saw the appeal of this book. And maybe that’s just me and I needed to be in a certain place in my life to appreciate the story. Unfortunately, I just didn’t get this. It was slow and boring and I didn’t really like any of the characters. I didn’t really get any deeper meaning it was trying to convey and I didn’t relate to it on any level. It all seemed sort of pointless to me.

City_of_BonesThe next one I feel is a series that everyone I know is in love with, and I just don’t understand it. I can’t stand Cassandra Clare or The Mortal Instruments. Whenever I hear anyone talking about what a great writer Clare is, I almost want to gag. I totally don’t want to offend anyone and I know that this is a well-beloved series. I just can’t see what’s so great about it, and it honestly grossed me out. It’s been a long time since I’ve read this book so the details are fuzzy, but I just remember being very unimpressed with the writing in the book and thinking it was quite subpar.

41rEe4pc3yL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_I’m just going to say it: I thought If I Stay was really unoriginal and I did not see what all the hype was about. I’ve seen/watched so many other things with the same premise that I just wasn’t blown away by this at all. I kept waiting for something new or exciting to happen, but nothing did. However, I read the sequel on a whim and was taken very much surprise by it. I absolutely loved Where She Went. It was heartfelt and emotional and beautiful and I was so blown away. So I guess you could say that ultimately, I’m happy that I read If I Stay because I liked seeing what happened afterwards.

29749085One of the bigger disappointments that I’ve experienced recently has been from Queen Leigh Bardugo, and that was Wonder Woman: Warbringer. You can read my full review for all of my thoughts on this book, but let’s just say I expected so much more. The book was boring and the characters were stale and it felt like a less fun version of a Percy Jackson novel. I was just as excited for this book as the next person; I preordered it and I followed Bardugo’s book tour online and everything, but the book just fell short for me. I know that many people enjoyed it and I’m so glad they did. I wish I could have found that same enjoyment, but alas, I did not.

I realize that everyone has different tastes and preferences, and I totally respect that. Let me know which selections you agreed or disagreed with. Or let me know if there are titles that you yourself were disappointed in that should have been on this list. Mahalo!

BOOK REVIEW: Leigh Bardugo “Wonder Woman: Warbringer”

22016201_1813513125345437_1510066936_nTitle: Wonder Woman: Warbringer

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Genre: Fantasy/Action Adventure

My Rating: 2.5/5 stars

 

This is probably one of my bigger disappointments of 2017. Warbringer was such an anticipated read for me, especially after the success of the film (disclaimer: the book and film are not related), and I’ve loved Leigh Bardugo’s work in the past. Shadow & Bone is one of my all-time favorite series, so of course I was going to read this.

Bardugo begins Diana’s story on Themyscira, the remote island that Amazon women inhabit. Diana struggles to fit in with the Amazons and prove herself, fully aware that she’s different from the rest of them. While the other women have seen battle and proved themselves as warriors, Diana has never had to and is seen as inferior.

While running a race, hoping to win and show her mother how strong she has become, Diana witnesses the explosion of a ship off the coast of Themyscira. Against her better judgement, she dives into the water to survey the wreckage, only to find a lone survivor, Alia, who she saves. Shortly after performing this good deed, Diana discovers that Alia comes from a line of Warbringers, women that are descendants of Helen and are catalysts of aggression and violence among humans. Alia’s presence on the island causes the Amazons to get sick and for the island to begin to die. Unwilling to sacrifice Alia, Diana hopes to end the line of Warbringers once and for all by taking Alia to Helen’s resting place and letting her bathe in the nearby springs. However, this means exposure to the real world, something that Diana has never seen before. Can she reach Helen’s resting place before Alia is killed by those hoping to prevent war?

Let’s start with the things I liked about this book. Of course, I loved Diana; she’s such a good, pure, innocent character. Her desire to help everyone and ensure that no one has to die is admirable, and she constantly puts her life on the line for people she barely knows. Most of these sacrifices are born initially from her love for her fellow Amazons, but she could have let Themyscira kill Alia if she cared for only her people. She was also a fun character to read after she and Alia reached New York; poor Diana was so naive and had some very unintentionally funny moments.

And to be honest, that’s all I enjoyed. Alia was a solid character, I suppose, but I just didn’t sympathize with her like I feel I was supposed to. Jason was dull, as were the other supporting characters, Nim and Theo, who were both too one-dimensional. All in all, I just didn’t care what happened to any of them, whether they lived or died. They didn’t make me feel anything.

As far as the story, I kept going back and forth on it. The first few chapters had me concerned, but once we were told Alia’s heritage, I was interested. Unfortunately, as soon as they reached New York, I feel that the plot sort of plateaued. There was no story development, and the characters stayed in one place for too long. They spent too long deciding what to do, and then spent too long waiting to act on that decision.

Honestly, this book had a very Percy Jackson feel to it, but I didn’t like it. With Percy Jackson books, you come to expect some ridiculousness because that’s kind of the point; Rick Riordan parodies some of these gods and goddesses so that they aren’t even intimidating anymore; the whole thing is basically a joke, but in the best possible way. The books are meant for middle graders and are meant to entertain. The characters crack stupid jokes during battles and high-action scenes not because it’s realistic, but because it’s hilarious.

I didn’t want Wonder Woman to feel like a middle grade read. I expected this to be more mature, and while I realize it’s fantasy and there’s no way this could have been completely realistic, there has to be some semblance of practicality in the way the characters react and interact.

Not to mention, there’s a good chunk of about 200 pages in the middle of the book that had me bored to tears. It’s almost as if Bardugo had this great idea for a story (it really was!) and knew where the characters were going to end up, but not how they were going to get there. So we spend the entire center of the book in limbo waiting for something to happen, and by the time we get to the end, I didn’t care anymore.

I feel I was really generous with my 2.5 star rating, mostly due to my love for Leigh Bardugo. This book doesn’t affect my opinion of the lovely author; I just don’t think urban fantasy is her thing. I’ve read many raving reviews about the book and I’m so glad that others were able to enjoy what I could not, and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

 

Leigh Bardugo: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads