Review: Blue Vigilante by Susan Arnold

Title: Blue Vigilante
Author: Susan Arnold
Page Count: 351 pages

Synopsis: (Goodreads)

In a rash, revenge-fueled decision, Marybeth decides to join the most feared gang in America, Black Bullet. During her initiation, she proves herself to be an amazing fighter, the best that the gang has ever seen and she quickly works her way up the ranks to third in command. Black Bullet and Atomic Bomb, the rival gang, always fight for dominance, which never phased Marybeth–Bat, as she is known in the gang–until she witnesses a ruthless murder during a gang fight. Faced with her morals, she decides to stop fighting for Black Bullet.
As third in command, she knows too much to simply stop fighting and she isn’t old enough to drop out of the gang, so the leader, Trigger, decides that the only way to solve the problem is to kill Bat.
As the building explodes with Bat inside, secrets come to light and the truth is found out; a truth that will rock Black Bullet, Acco City, and the whole world, all the way to the core.

This review contains spoilers.

This book was sent to me for review by the author Susan Arnold. At first glance this was a purely action-lead story. Straight from the off we are led into the world of Black Bullet , a ruthless gang led by the formidable ‘Trigger’. Our main character ‘Bat’ is introduced amidst a brawl between members of said gang – which turns out to be a test to see whether she’s got what it takes to join the gang. It’s an explosive start – straight into the action which captured my interest straight away.

Our main character Bat comes across as a tough, no nonsense sort of girl with hidden physical, emotional and psychological strengths not noticeable at first glance. However, as the story unfolds we learn about her moral standing – the questions and dilemmas that arise from her Black Bullet activities. During the first few chapters I was reminded of ‘Rebel of the Sands’ by Alwyn Hamilton. There were noticeable comparisons between Bat and Amani (the main character in ‘Rebel of the Sands’) You find yourself rooting for Bat in many situations, whether it be fighting with Black Bullet, standing up for what she believes in, or in her interactions with her friend (but we hope for more) Jack.

This is where the spoilers come in…

So as I said – action/adventure was what I expected – however I was pleasantly surprised by the hidden fantastical element – Bat is a mutant with super powers. This brought a whole new dimension to the novel which I really enjoyed. I haven’t read anything with this sort of element before and the nature of her superpowers was interesting to read too.

The humour Susan Arnold has injected into this book is subtle enough to get you giggling without being smack you in the face, over the top. A good example of this is in Bat’s sarcasm or in her typical ‘teenage’ reaction to the impossible…

“The roof started to groan and the other beams swayed as the wind picked it up, it was going to collapse. I dove off the porch, picking a face full of dirt over a building collapsing on top of me, again. My muscles contracted, ready for impact, but I never hit the ground. I hovered above it, floating in place. my eyes widened as I took in my blue-clad body  doing something impossible. “What the hell?” I yelled and dropped like a rock.”

I like the moments where the characters discuss Superheroes recognisable from the culture we have today. Arnold hasn’t shied away from commenting on this head on – it’s natural that when you hear the word mutant you think X-Men. Discussions, comments and quips concerning X-men, Superman and Batman are introduced throughout the story which I enjoyed.

As the story progresses the pace does not slow. With every chapter there is a new threat or dilemma for Bat/Blue to face or consider. It keeps you reading on and this series, I’m sure, will have lots more to offer in the way of combat, villains, sarccy teenage comments and evolving super powers. This book does a good job of introducing you to Bat’s background and her discovering her powers. There is a very real threat present throughout and the ending of this book leads on well to the sequel ‘Green Vigilante.’


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