Reading Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu on a Bus

I slightly remember that many moons ago, I got queasy when reading on a moving car, though as far as I could tell, the nausea didn't come right away. It crept in, slowly by forming a lump in my throat until I felt the strong push to vomit, and all I could do to hold it back was to lay down on the back seat.

Yesterday, as I had done my lucky girl affirmation before my commute, I decided to try my luck. Picking up Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu, I discovered that I didn't get queasy when reading on a moving bus. Is it growth or progression? Either way, it certainly is a handy talent to possess, something  I would take advantage of more often in the future.

"Before he was Batman, he was Bruce Wayne."

Well, let me begin this review by saying that even though this book utilizes the word "Batman" on the cover page, Batman: Nightwalker is a story more focused on Bruce Wayne's teenage life before he officially turns into a black-costumed superhero we all are accustomed to. Eighteen-years old billionaire Bruce is prone to the squinting eyes of the media, so when he has publicly intervened in a police case, he finds himself punished to do community service at Arkham Asylum, the infamous prison that holds Gotham City's most brutal criminals.

It is in the asylum's basement that Bruce first meets Madeleine Wallace. A member of a terrorist group called Nightwalker, Madeleine, with the mysterious air surrounding her and her refusal to cooperate with the authorized party, has killed three rich people in their own home. And based on the little information Madeleine is eager to provide, his name is now on the list. But it's not that Bruce can trust her or anything like that. For all he knows, Madeleine is a master manipulator.

So, truth to be told: I had quite some mixed feelings about this book. Batman: Nightwalker was an enjoyable read (a bestselling novel it is so no wonder), but I couldn't get the few qualms I had had about this book go away unnoticed. Reading this book, to me, felt a lot like gulping down a cone of plain vanilla ice creamI like it enough to finish it quickly, but I don't love it.

In the time of curating this post, I reread an old review of Marie Lu's other book I once posted with the title "Mixed Feeling About Skyhunter by Marie Lu". In line with what I had opined two years ago, Marie Lu's writing in Batman: Nightwalker still held the standard of a simplistic, beautiful style that was quite impossible not to notice. Even though the theme surrounding the book was rather dark, I was able to go through the story easilyEverything felt light but rich with details at the same time.

We didn't get that many actions from Bruce here, but that didn't really bother me. It was a good thing that I wasn't really familiar with the original Batman story so that I could set this book apart from any expectations I could have had if I was. As I was as good as a newcomer in this particular vast universe, I tended to lay my judgment on what I was more aware of: generality, meaning this book without any baggage. With that said, it was admittedly disappointing that all the characters felt too one-dimensional. Lack of development did that, I suppose, which the fast-paced plot barely made up for.

I was also hoping for a more shocking twist to be honest, but this one was on me, so please remember that I didn't let it affect the book rating in any way. Please skip this part if you haven't read the book yet, but remember that time when Madeleine looked hurt after an interrogation that didn't end well? What actually happened to her? I was actually hoping for a more intricate political game in Arkham Asylum. And I was almost sure that the so-called "insider" Madeleine had mentioned was going to be shocking. It was not.

Overall, Batman: Nightwalker was a good read, and I found it hard not to lose myself in the dark ambiance of the notorious Gotham City or muffle my eagerness to discover more things about WayneTech products. But like I said, a cone of plain vanilla ice cream. It was rather hard to say which was which.

Actual rating: 3