A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Batman: Nightwalker focuses on an episode in the life of Bruce Wayne when he was a teen, before he became the Dark Knight. Written by Marie Lu (Warcross, Legend), the novel pits the young billionaire against a mysterious female criminal. There are scenes of violence during a home invasion and a citywide act of terrorism, but the body count is low, and bloodshed isn't described in graphic detail. Swearing is rare (a few uses of "damn" and "hell"), the sexual content is just flirting, and the only drinking is by one character who swigs champagne at a party.
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What's the story?
As BATMAN: NIGHTWALKER begins, teen billionaire Bruce Wayne pursues a criminal at high speed when the police seem to be losing the car chase. After the crash, Bruce submits to a probationary period to be spent doing janitorial work at Arkham Asylum. There he encounters the mysterious Madeleine, one of a gang of master criminals terrorizing Gotham's elite. Bruce is the only person she'll speak to, and so he's sent by the police to draw her out. But who's gathering information about whom? The more Bruce falls under Madeleine's spell, the more likely he is to be her next victim.
Is it any good?
Writing about superheroes without the visual impact of comic book artwork is challenging, but this early adventure of an iconic hero works hard to match a comic's pacing and sense of spectacle. With Batman: Nightwalker, writer Marie Lu clearly loves her Bat-lore and is having fun imaging Bruce Wayne's formative years. The book, however, miscalculates the appeal of its main villain. Madeleine has her interesting quirks, but she pales in comparison to most of the other antagonists in Batman's rogues gallery. The other Nightwalkers are mostly just ciphers.
Still, there's enough suspense generated to propel readers to the climactic confrontation, which is well choreographed and full of surprises. Teen Batman still needs to grow up a bit, but Nightwalkers is an intriguing look back.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Batman: Nightwalker and how characters from comic books make the transition to a novel. Are there any aspects of comics that don't translate well to prose?
Bruce is still traumatized by having witnessed the murder of his mother and father. How does trauma affect children? Where can they turn for help dealing with it?
What do you think of the relationship between Bruce Wayne and his butler, Alfred? Why doesn't Bruce follow his advice sometimes? Who in your life tries to guide you and keep you from danger or from making mistakes?
- Author: Marie Lu
- Genre: Mystery
- Topics: Superheroes, Adventures, Great Boy Role Models, High School
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
- Publication date: January 2, 2018
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 14 - 18
- Number of pages: 272
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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