Monday, September 17, 2018

"Catwoman: Soulstealer" by Sarah J. Maas

Selina Kyle and her younger sister Maggie live in the slums of Gotham City. Their mother has been a mostly absent part of their lives, and the few times she is around she is usually drunk or on drugs and often with a new lowlife boyfriend who is supplying those drugs. Maggie suffers from cystic fibrosis, an incurable genetic disorder that is slowly killing her. As a member of the street gang known as the Leopards, Selina fights in underground fighting rings to earn the money needed to pay for medical tests, medications, food, and rent money to keep them both going. At least, it does until the night their mother is arrested and a woman from social services arrives with two police officers to take the girls into custody and place them in foster care.

The foster homes are usually overcrowded group homes, infested with bugs, and won’t be able to provide Maggie with the care she needs to try and survive having cystic fibrosis. The care she needs is expensive and unlikely to be provided even if she were lucky enough to wind up in one of the better foster homes. The girls both know that this is essentially a death sentence for Maggie, but what can they do to escape it?

When Selina is arrested for assaulting the police officers who came to take them away, she learns that at nearly 18 and with two previous strikes against her, she won’t be going to a juvenile detention center. She’ll be sent to prison instead. When a woman offers her an alternative, one that will see Maggie placed in better care and will erase Selina’s criminal record, she realizes that she really has no other option. For her sister’s sake, and understanding that she likely won’t see Maggie ever again, Selina accepts Talia al Ghul’s offer.

I have long been a fan of the DC comics Catwoman character and have seen numerous origin stories describing how she started out and how she became one of the more recognized of Batman’s foes. Those seeking a book that follows the traditional DC comic book origin story for her probably won’t appreciate this one. While all the expected characters appear in the book, Catwoman’s origin story as told here is rather different than what one would expect, and it is certainly different than what is told in the various comic book versions.

Personally, I loved it. This book kept me so entranced that if there were any typos, I never noticed them. (Any book that can keep me that interested in just reading & not watching for errors is a rare thing these days.) Parts of this story even had me tearing up and wanting to cry. I am very glad that I picked it up. I will definitely be reading the other books that are out about the DC comic book characters and hoping they are just as amazing as this one. I strongly recommend reading it.

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