Catwoman: Soulstealer

Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
Catwoman: Soulstealer Book Poster Image
Convoluted crime wave slows adventure's momentum.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Catwoman: Soulstealer is heavy on the superhero action and light on educational value. It raises questions of morality and whether the ends ever justify the means.

Positive Messages

Even the most dedicated supercriminal deserves empathy and understanding.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Selina Kyle is a killer and a thief, but she usually has understandable reasons for her actions. She needs money to raise her chronically ill sister, which she can do only by working for a mob boss and a league of assassins. She often refuses to kill innocent bystanders.

Violence

Many violent scenes, including gladiatorial combat, swordplay, gunfights, use of poison gas, and use of a bullwhip.

Sex

In complete darkness, Selina and Luke remove their masks and share a passionate kiss. Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn share a romantic relationship and flirt with each other while hanging out with Selina.

Language

A dozen or more uses of "s--t," hell," and "damn." One or two uses of "a--hole."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J. Maas, chronicles the adventures of Selina Kyle as she starts a crime wave in Gotham City and clashes with its current protector, Batwing. The novel has many scenes of violence, including gladiatorial combat, sword play, the use of poison gas, and gunfights. Sexual content is limited mostly to flirting, but with one or two passionate kisses.

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What's the story?

At the beginning of CATWOMAN: SOULSTEALER, master thief Selina Kyle returns to Gotham City after spending two years away with a cult of female assassins. She claims to be socialite Holly Vanderhees and coincidentally moves in next to Luke Fox, also known as the crimefighter Batwing. She recruits two partners -- Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy -- to assist in instigating a crime wave has the entire city up in arms. But the true nature of Selina's plans remain a mystery to her friends and opponents alike.

Is it any good?

Superheroics don't always translate well to prose, and such is the case with this overlong adventure that might work better as a graphic novel. Catwoman: Soulstealer author Sarah J. Maas develops Catwoman's backstory so that readers can understand some of the criminal choices she makes, but some of the details feel a little heavy-handed.

The straight-ahead action scenes mostly work, and Maas knows how to orchestrate a fight scene for maximum punch. The dialogue is off-kilter and often funny, especially for the supporting cast. But midway through, the plot seems to drag, and it's a long haul to rebuild momentum for the finale. The book probably works best for true Catwoman fans. More casual readers might be less engaged.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Catwoman: Soulstealer might differ from a graphic novel version of the same material. What kinds of effects are easier in comics than in prose?

  • Selina Kyle is a criminal, but she is still a sympathetic protagonist. How do anti-heroes function in fiction? Why are some "bad" characters more interesting than "good" ones?

  • Selina and Luke make assumptions about each other based on a few personal details. How do prejudices get in the way of understanding people?

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