When the Bat's away, the Cat will play. It's time to see how many lives this cat really has.
Two years after escaping Gotham City's slums, Selina Kyle returns as the mysterious and wealthy Holly Vanderhees. She quickly discovers that with Batman off on a vital mission, Gotham City looks ripe for the taking.
Meanwhile, Luke Fox wants to prove that as Batwing he has what it takes to help people. He targets a new thief on the prowl who has teamed up with Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn. Together, they are wreaking havoc. This Catwoman is clever--she may be Batwing's undoing.
In this third DC Icons book, Selina is playing a desperate game of cat and mouse, forming unexpected friendships and entangling herself with Batwing by night and her devilishly handsome neighbor Luke Fox by day. But with a dangerous threat from the past on her tail, will she be able to pull off the heist that's closest to her heart?
"Maas has a gift for crafting fierce female protagonists. . . . An epic shoutout to all the bad girls who know how to have fun."
--Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW
Don't miss the rest of the DC Icons series! Read them in any order you choose:
Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo
Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu
Superman: Dawnbreaker by Matt de la Peña
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
The roaring crowd in the makeshift arena didn’t set her blood on fire.
It did not shake her, or rile her, or set her hopping from foot to foot. No, Selina Kyle only rolled her shoulders--once, twice.
The wild cheering that barreled down the grimy hallway to the prep room was little more than a distant rumble of thunder. A storm, just like the one that had swept over the East End on her walk from the apartment complex. She’d been soaked before she reached the covert subway entrance that led into the underground gaming warren owned by Carmine Falcone, the latest of Gotham City’s endless parade of mob bosses.
But like any other storm, this fight, too, would be weathered.
Rain still drying in her long, dark hair, Selina checked that it was indeed tucked into its tight bun atop her head. She’d made the mistake once of wearing a ponytail--in her second street fight. The other girl had managed to grab it, and those few seconds when Selina’s neck had been exposed had lasted longer than any in her life.
But she’d won--barely. And she’d learned. Had learned at every fight since, whether on the streets above or in the arena carved into the sewers beneath Gotham City.
It didn’t matter who her opponent was tonight. The challengers were all usually variations of the same: desperate men who owed more than they could repay to Falcone. Fools willing to risk their lives for a chance to lift their debt by taking on one of his Leopards in the ring.
The prize: never having to look over their shoulder for a waiting shadow. The cost of failing: having their asses handed to them--and the debts remained. Usually with the promise of a one-way ticket to the bottom of the Sprang River. The odds of winning: slim to none.
Regardless of whatever sad sack she’d be battling tonight, Selina prayed Falcone would give her the nod faster than last time. That fight . . . He’d made her keep that particularly brutal match going. The crowd had been too excited, too ready to spend money on the cheap alcohol and everything else for sale in the subterranean warren. She’d taken home more bruises than usual, and the man she’d beaten to unconsciousness . . .
Not her problem, she told herself again and again. Even when she saw her adversaries’ bloodied faces in her dreams, both asleep and waking. What Falcone did with them after the fight was not her problem. She left her opponents breathing. At least she had that.
And at least she wasn’t dumb enough to push back outright, like some of the other Leopards. The ones who were too proud or too stupid or too young to get how the game was played. No, her small rebellions against Carmine Falcone were subtler. He wanted men dead--she left them unconscious, but did it so well that not one person in the crowd objected.
A fine line to walk, especially with her sister’s life hanging in the balance. Push back too much, and Falcone might ask questions, start wondering who meant the most to her. Where to strike hardest. She’d never allow it to get to that point. Never risk Maggie’s safety like that--even if these fights were all for her. Every one of them.
It had been three years since Selina had joined the Leopards, and nearly two and a half since she’d proved herself against the other girl gangs well enough that Mika, her Alpha, had introduced her to Falcone. Selina hadn’t dared miss that meeting.
Order in the girl gangs was simple: The Alpha of each gang ruled and protected, laid down punishment and reward. The Alphas’ commands were law. And the enforcers of those commands were their Seconds and Thirds. From there, the pecking order turned murkier. Fighting offered a way to rise in the ranks--or you could fall, depending on how badly a match went. Even an Alpha might be challenged if you were dumb or brave enough to do so.
But the thought of ascending the ranks had been far from Selina’s mind when Mika had brought Falcone over to watch her take on the Second of the Wolf Pack and leave the girl leaking blood onto the concrete of the alley.
Before that fight, only four leopard spots had been inked onto Selina’s pale left arm, each a trophy of a fight won.
Selina adjusted the hem of her white tank. At seventeen, she now had twenty-seven spots inked across both arms.
That’s what the match emcee was declaring down the hall. Selina could just make out the croon of words: The undefeated champion, the fiercest of Leopards . . .
Her hand drifted to the one item she was allowed to bring into the arena: the bullwhip.
Some Leopards opted for signature makeup or clothes to make their identities stand out in the ring. Selina had little money to spare for that kind of thing--not when a tube of lip gloss could cost as much as a small meal. But Mika had been unimpressed when Selina had shown up to her first official fight in her old gymnastics leotard and a pair of leggings.
You look like you’re going to Jazzercise, her Alpha had said. Let’s give you some claws at least.
All sorts of small weapons were allowed in the ring, short of knives and guns. But there hadn’t been any on hand that night. No, there had only been the bullwhip, discarded in a pile of props from when this place had hosted some sort of alternative circus.
You’ve got ten minutes to figure out how to use it, Mika had warned Selina before leaving her to it.
She’d barely figured out how to snap the thing before she was shoved into the fighting ring. The whip had been more of a hindrance than a help in that first fight, but the crowd had loved it. And some small part of her had loved it, the crack that cleaved through the world.
So she’d learned to wield it. Until it became an extension of her arm, until it gave her an edge that her slight frame didn’t offer. The high drama it provided in the ring didn’t hurt, either.
A thump on the metal door was her signal to go.
Selina checked the bullwhip at her hip, her black spandex pants, the green sneakers that matched her eyes--though no one had ever commented on it. She flexed her fingers within their wrappings. All good.
Or as good as could be.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I pre-ordered this book with high hopes, as I have read SJM's other books, and I must say: It did not disappoint. From chapter one, Selina captured my heart and held in a place of "What's going to happen next?" I could not get enough of everything! I love the background of each character, learning their reasons and connecting with them on a personal level! I'm so glad I read this book. Definitely worthy of five stars, and definitely a necessity for book-lovers!
I just need to say, I don’t read comics - I just watch the movies. I will not say anything about the characters and their history because I don’t know any of it. That being said this is Great read. A little slow in the beginning but it picks up quick and just keeps going! An emotional good story showing that even though you can be beaten down again and again, you can still come out on top!
The DC Icons series offers a glimpse of prominent figures in the DC universe before they have quite become the heroes (and villains?) the fans know. They are, presumably, geared toward a young audience, and thus far have been very effective. It’s also an obvious opportunity to retcon the subject of each novel for new audiences. In Soulstealer Maas makes a couple of daring moves to set the stage for her story—she decides to link Catwoman’s origins to the League of Assassins (it’s possible that this is actually part of Catwoman’s background, but if so, I had never heard it before) and much more controversially she chose to set Catwoman against Batwing—not Batman—bringing all the tension and attraction from the original relationship to the new one. To do this she takes Batman out of Gotham on a secret mission and leaves the defense of the city totally in the hands of Luke Fox/Batwing. Catwoman, fresh out of her training with the League, has come to Gotham with an agenda and begins carefully setting both Gotham’s elite society and its underworld on edge through a series of daring robberies. She hooks up with a young Poison Ivy and through her with Harlequin—who’s price for making it a trio of crime is the freeing of Joker from Arkham Asylum. Batwing and the Gotham PD grow increasingly frustrated by their inability to stop Catwoman’s very public crimes. Yet something is not right in the background. The League of Assassins begins appearing, but they are trying to kill Catwoman, not support her plans. As law and order becomes ever more tenuous in Gotham it begins to become apparent that Catwoman is playing for much larger stakes than anything in a bank vault or around the necks of Gotham’s elites at the next gala. This is an increasingly emotional story as the reader gets a glimpse into the woman behind the cat mask and heroes and villains both are forced to confront their biases and figure out where they really stand.
"Catwoman: Soulstealer" gives the origin/backstory for Catwoman, Selina Kyle. Selina has been taking care of her sick sister, Maggie, as best she can since their mother left. This means that she fights in illegal fights for money and takes odd jobs when she can. Even with these, the bills are piling up, especially her sister's medical bills. However, when social services comes to take them to a home, Selina is willing to put up a fight- a group home in Gotham is not a good place for her sister. When Selina is given an offer to get out of the city, she takes it in exchange for her sister being placed in a good home where she could be adopted. Now, a couple years later, Selina is back in Gotham, dodging new enemies, stealing from the wealthy, and planning something big. Putting together a team with Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn, Selina is determined to get what she needs to save her sister. Luke Fox, aka Batwing, is holding down the fort so to speak as Batman is out of town. He knows that his wealth only does so much to protect him from the way police react to the color of his skin. He is determined to catch Catwoman, but he is also fighting his own demons. He has PTSD from his time in the military. As the story builds, we slowly piece together Selina and Luke's lives and goals. There are some interesting themes here with racism, PTSD, and drug abuse, but I felt each was only lightly touched upon. I would have liked to go a little deeper into the story and the characters than I felt we were able to go. I have pretty high expectations from Maas, and I felt that this was not one of her stronger books. That being said, this was still an enjoyable story. My favorite character was Poison Ivy, and I actually really wish there had been more from her- I could easily see a great book forming around the character created her, and I would be first in line to read it! Overall, it's an interesting story, but not one of my favorites. I am not a comicbook fan though, so this may go further with bigger fans.
Having read the first two in the series, I thought I knew what to expect with this one. I knew it was going to be an origin story about how Selina Kyle became Catwoman, but I did not know it would also be a story that made me feel sorry for her and give her more respect in the end. Selina Kyle finally gets out of Gotham City's slums... To end up right back in Gotham City two years later. Batman is gone, but Batwing is left to watch the city while he's away. What he's not expecting is to find the new, infamous Catwoman here to team up with Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn teaming up together to stage heists and wreak havoc on the city. They may both be the other's undoing. As a huge fan of heroes (my favorite person ever is Wonder Woman), I did not understand why they added Catwoman to this series. It's not someone I thought I would have cared about. But once I started reading about it, I understood a bit more. By finally having a book just about Catwoman, it made me stop and see the reasoning behind why she started down this life of crime. And I have to say, it's not what I was expecting. So, although I wasn't on board with them choosing her at first, I'd love to see other villains and their origin stories as well. Just under a different name than DC Icons. Because let's face it, I would still rather hear about a hero than a villain. As for the writing style, I think it was a bit too long for my taste. It got to be a bit redundant towards the middle and I found myself feeling like I was slogging through it at a point in time. I was thinking it was possibly a reading slump, but there were others that I could read just fine. It wasn't until the last 60 pages or so that everything tied together and began to make sense. It totally redeemed it for me because I was a bit disappointed and leaning at 3 stars. (If you know me, you know I'm not a fan of waiting for the end of the book to get good. I have DNF'ed many a book because only the last couple pages are good.) I also really liked that this is told as a dual POV. Having the villain and the hero in one book both telling their own sides of the story seems as if it would be confusing, but it actually wasn't. I'm not sure if it was easy to follow because I was used to Maas' writing, but whatever the case may be, both MC's had a distinct voice and I was able to fall for both characters actually. It's always hard for me to root for the villains, but with this one it was surprisingly easy. Selina Kyle was not the villain as you would expect her to be. This book definitely has some surprises and I can't wait to see what other people think of her!
I purchased this book from Barnes and Noble to #buddyread with my bestie @mycornerforbooksand. All opinions are my own. Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J Maas. This book..... Catwoman meets Robin Hood meets Supernurse. Teaming up with other supervillians to wreck Gotham there is no other version if Catwoman that is more perfect than this one. Review also posted on Instagram @borenbooks, Library Thing, Go Read, Goodreads/StacieBoren, Amazon, Twitter @jason_stacie and my blog at readsbystacie.com
That more people would have gotten this as a nook eddition and writen about it, since it's written by an awesome person who really knows what she's doing... guess not....? I do want to read it though. I LOVE YPU SARAH J MAAS!!!!
“‘Every good criminal in Gotham has a call sign. Let’s add this one to the mix.’ She examined her claws as if she were looking over a manicure, her bullwhip swaying int he wind. ‘Catwoman. Has a nice ring to it.’” Of the DC Icon series so far, this book is my very favorite. And honestly that is saying a lot because I have really enjoyed these books. Catwoman is very dynamic, and the cast of characters we get to see in this book make it all the more interesting. Selina has had a rough life, but done all that she can to help her sister who is very sick. She agrees to become part of the League of Assassins for the guarantee of her sister being taken care of in a good home. But then she comes back to Gotham, and it is so exciting seeing her plan unfold and the unexpected relationships she forms. Sarah J Maas wrote these unrealistic characters in relatable ways, and it is a book that had me thinking about it often when not reading it. I am giving this book 5 stars, and begging for a sequel written by Maas about Harley Quinn.
While I love a good movie based off of a comics character, I am not a big graphic novels reader. I am, however, a fan of Catwoman and Sarah J. Maas so reading this was a no brainer. The plot and action are great and Maas gives it her style with some great surprises throughout. The only thing I didn't connect with were the other characters I had no history with (Bat Wing who??), but that's a me thing, not a book thing as Maas does a great job of quickly explaining who everyone is as they're introduced. I will say, if you think this will be like her other two series, change your expectations. It's definitely more tame and has a different style, but I still enjoyed it!
3.5 stars. This is, so far, my favorite of the DC Icons series. It took me a couple chapters to actually get into the book (I had to leave the book and then come back to it) but after those first few chapters it was fast paced and captured my attention. I loved Selina's devotion to her sister, and the scenes with Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn. I've been a die hard fan of Maas for a long time, but there was something about the writing this time around that stops me from giving it full marks. There were some lines that were very repetitive. It does seem like Maas listened to her fans and added more diversity to her books, but I think she failed in trying to accurately portray her POC characters and the oppression they faced.