Batman: Nightwalker (DC Icons, #2) by Marie Lu

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Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo ★★★

“I can’t think of a story where the billionaire and the murderer end up happily ever after.”

I am not the biggest superhero fan, but I will admit I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for Batman. And you all? I honestly loved this. Also, I’ve never read anything by Marie Lu before (I know, I can’t believe it either, honestly) but now I plan on devouring everything, because I completely connected with this writing style and I never wanted to put this book down.

This is a new take on Bruce Wayne’s origin story of becoming the one and only Batman. Bruce and his friends are finishing up their senior year in high school, he is still heavily impacted by the loss of his parents at such a young age, but he is trying to live a life they would be proud of. That all changes on his eighteenth birthday when he ends up in trouble with the law after trying to help them catch one of the elusive Nightwalkers who have started to plague the streets of Gotham City.

And his punishment requires him to do community service in none other than Arkham Asylum. And there he meets a girl that is his age, that is being held with the most dangerous villains that have been captured. Madeleine Wallace is harboring many of her own secrets from her own past and refuses to talk to any of the officers or investigators. That is, until she meets Bruce Wayne and they both realize that they may have a lot in common, even though they handled their situations very differently.

“You have a heavy heart, for someone with everything.”

You all, I was losing my damn mind over this romance. This is a relatively short book, and a standalone, yet I was literally hooked from the chemistry between Bruce and Madeleine. I was so in love with the romance in this book. Like, I need more. Please!

And Madeleine beautifully makes Bruce check his privilege. From being white, healthy, well-educated, and immensely rich, she lets him know that others don’t have that luxury or the free-passes he has received his entire life. This book also talks about how prisons are honestly an industry in the United States. As horrible as that sounds, that’s a reality. And it’s a chain that is never ending, and honestly just another name for slavery. And privately-owned companies are profiting. This book also touches on the shitty healthcare we have in the United States and how much privilege comes with even getting decent treatment. Bless Marie Lu for somehow weaving this all into a damn action-packed, YA, Batman origin story. Seriously.

“If you weren’t so rich and white and famous? Would you be the same person you are today? Or would you see justice differently? Do you think we all walk through the world with the same privileges as you?”

One of my other favorite parts of this book were all the cameos! Alfred, Harvey, Lucius, and more I’m sure! Especially Harvey Dent, like what a perfect and important way his character was depicted in this rendition. And it just warmed my heart each time these characters were in a scene. And I think in general the tone of this book is perfect. Like, Marie Lu seriously made everything feel so “authentic” and I constantly felt like I was truly teleported to Gotham City.

Okay, so, why four stars and not five after I fangirled so hard? Honestly, it’s because the basic premise is just too unbelievable for me. Like, this book has so much good, and I truly loved this origin story more than words. But, like, there is no way that an eighteen-year-old, especially a rich, white, boy, would be sentenced to do community service in a place like Arkham Asylum! Like, I can’t. But if you ignore that, this is honestly a five star read for me.

Overall, this book was one of the most fun reads I’ve had in 2018, and I’m so happy I picked it up before Catwoman: Soulstealer, that comes out next month! Seriously, friends, don’t sleep on this. Also, Marie Lu not only solidified that Batman is seriously one of the best superheroes out there, she has made a new fan for life.


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Trigger and content warnings for a lot of blood depictions, loss of parents, suicide, talk of parental abuse, talk of alcoholism, violence in general and murder.

Buddy read with Alexis at The Sloth Reader! ❤

Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2) by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff, & Marie Lu

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1.) Illuminae ★★★★

“Patience and Silence had one beautiful daughter. And her name was Vengeance.”

You all, I just don’t know what to say. This series just doesn’t do for me what it does for everyone else. I don’t dislike these books at all, they just aren’t even close to being one of my all time favorites either. Please, take this review with a grain of salt, because literally all of my friends five star this series. And even though I really like and appreciate the unique formatting, witty banter, and twists and turns, I really hated to plot twist towards the end of this one. *dodges tomatoes*

Gemina picks back up after the events of Illuminae and after that cliffhanger, jaw dropping, ending. But Gemina is set on Jump Station Heimdall which the ships in Illuminae were trying to get to. Also, this follows a whole brand-new set of characters who are living on this jump station. Yet the distinctive and special formatting is still there and is still how the story is told. I will say that Gemina also spends a little more time using surveillance cameras as a way for the reader to see, way more than of Illuminae did, too.

The main characters we follow on the Heimdall jump station:Hanna – Daughter of the jump station’s commander. Also, a very good fighter, and very fast thinker, and a very talented artist. I loved seeing the story through her artwork, and it was for sure one of the highlights for me. (See picture above!)

Nik – Heir to the House of Knives, drug dealer, and he has served time and has a tattoo to prove it. He is basically that typical “bad boy” which makes a good and angsty juxtaposition for Hanna’s “good girl” demeanor.

Ella – Nik’s very computer savvy cousin, who helps them immensely through the entire book. She’s, hands down, the reason good things happened, and she was easily my favorite character. Also, she does all this while in a wheelchair and with an oxygen mask. Seriously, I love her and she is such a badass.

These three make up a fun YA SFF tale that is seamlessly woven and is quickly consumable and readable. Seriously, this 600+ page book felt like 250+ tops! And this was a fun read for me, that I feel so thankful that I was able to experience, especially with Obsidio coming out in a couple of weeks. But sadly, I did have a few critiques.

“I cannot help but wonder if his desire to see this place ripped to pieces pales in comparison to his desire to see her again.”

The humor got to be too much. Like, I totally understand that everyone copes with intense situations very differently. And I’m completely aware that many people would use humor, but literally every single person in this uses humor and it got to be so over the top and unrealistic. On top of the fact that all of these people are around eighteen. Like, Lord, I couldn’t do it. What started out funny and cute ended up feeling like I was getting beat over the head and impractical.

Okay, let’s talk about the plot twist as vague as possible. I hate this plot twist. And the way that it was done in Gemina felt cheap, and it felt really exploitative of the readers emotions. This was a four star book for me up until a death didn’t happen. For me, it was a bad reading experience and I was angry that I shed tears and was impressed that the authors weren’t scared “to go there.” Again, let me heavily emphasize that all my friends love this book and didn’t feel this way. But my review, my feelings, and it felt bad, man.

And even though I read Illuminae two years ago, I still felt like this book just felt too much like Gemina. The characters are different, but they still somehow feel the same. The catastrophes are different, but they still somehow feel read the same. The plots are different, but they still somehow appear the same.

Overall, I really did have a good time reading this. I thought it was funny, and smart, and action packed. I just don’t love this series the same way as everyone else. But I promise, I’m in the minority. Don’t let me or this mediocre review stop you. I honestly believe these books are worth a chance. And you’ll learn very quickly if they are or aren’t for you. Also, so many of my friends have recommended the audiobooks to me. Sadly, I’m the worst audiobook reader on this planet, but I think that’s also a good tip if you’re looking to start this series!

Trigger/Content Warnings: Violence, gore, death, death of a parent, death of a loved one, and very minor animal cruelty.

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