Book Review #89 – Catwoman: Soulstealer

She was a ghost. A wraith – Sarah J. Maas.

Lately, I’ve been watching a lot of superhero films, getting lost in them and pretending for a split second that these people, mutants, gods, heroes and anti-heroes exist somewhere in the world, most likely the U.S.A because that’s where Hollywood was created. I wanted another book that would suck me into the pages, make me wonder and wander as I flicked through each one, soaking up the words of heroes and villains, and the fine line that meshes the two together. Catwoman: Soulstealer was the exact book I wanted to read, and it didn’t disappoint.

Selina Kyle is a big sister. She will do anything for her little sister, to somehow make her life better, no matter the pain, the exhaustion or the consequences. She fights among the Leopards, is a champion for Falcone, the gangster boss who rules part of the underground of Gotham City. Her little sister is sick and she must do everything in her power to make her happy, comfortable, to save her… until the day the police knock on her door, the social worker tearing them apart. As Selina sits in an interview room, she doesn’t realise how both their lives will change as soon as she signs over herself to the League – the organisation that sees the potential sparks in this cruel world and turns them into lethal assassins.

Two years later, Selina is back in Gotham and this time, she’s here to play. She dons her black suit and high-tech helmet she has customised to feature cat ears, and big eyes that see in the darkest of nights. She scales buildings, breaks into banks, steals jewellery dressed as a lithe cat by night; by day, she plays the role of a society princess who attends galas, laughs at rich people’s jokes and dresses in beautiful clothes. This double life has her busy, but she is adamant to get someone’s attention: Batwing. He’s the cloaked hero who saves the city by night whilst Bruce Wayne is away on mission. Little do Catwoman and Batwing know that they are in for one hell of a ride through the city of Gotham.

Selina Kyle is an extremely intelligent woman. She is crafty. She thinks methodically and she doesn’t do anything without thinking it through, even if that moment is on the spot. All of these traits are what she needs as Catwoman and as Holly Vanderhees, the wealthy persona she wears as a façade every day. What I love about Selina is that she isn’t the standard heroine. In fact, she’s anything but. She spent her nights fighting for a gangster, grew up to be an assassin, steals and makes friends with (seemingly) the wrong circle. She does everything that goes against the “righteous path”, but she stands her ground, believes in what is right – in her own way – raises hell, has fun doing it and wants to make the world a better place. Her end goal is good; she just has to get her hands dirty to get there. There is a message in that itself: do whatever it takes to get the job done. Sometimes, that is what is needed, and you have to go beyond the line of jurisdiction, break the rules, in order to succeed.

Catwoman: Soulstealer introduces some more of Gotham’s favourite villains: Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn. Each are flamboyant, beautiful and scary in their own way. They are powerful. They have their weaknesses, but together they have a bond that is almost unbreakable… almost. The blooming friendship in this book is a beautiful one. It transcends all the stealing and the scaremongering. It shows that, in a world where everything is dark, there are still little sparks of light in the people you choose to surround yourself with, people who would do anything for you, no matter the consequence.

This book is one that sheds light on Gotham city. In fact, it sheds light on the world we live in today and the way that it is headed. There was a quote I found that speaks volumes about the current state of the UK: While the wealthy in this city swathed themselves in jewels and cloistered themselves in penthouses that looked down upon those very slums, kids like Maggie went to school hungry, wore secondhand clothing, and knew, deep down, that no one was coming to help them. Sarah J. Maas could have been describing the very country we are a part of, many countries of the world, in fact. Perhaps we need a Catwoman, a Poison Ivy and a Harley Quinn to come and fight for those who can’t fend for themselves. Or maybe, we’ve already got the heroes in this country striving for a better future for everyone in it, not just the few, who will succeed no matter what.

This wasn’t meant to turn into a political post, but with everything that is happening right now it is hard to ignore, especially when the words in a fictional book bring home the truth even more.

Read the book, and if you’re in the UK, vote Labour on 12th December and help those who truly need it.

Love, Faye xo

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