FEMINISM MEETS GOTHAM CITY: Black Canary Review

Summary (from the publisher):
Dinah Lance was seven years old when she overheard the impossible: the sound of a girl singing. It was something she was never meant to hear—not in her lifetime, and not in Gotham City, taken over by the Court of Owls. The sinister organization rules Gotham as a patriarchal dictatorship, all the while spreading their influence like a virus across the globe.
Now seventeen, Dinah can’t forget that haunting sound, and she’s beginning to discover that her own voice is just as powerful. But singing is forbidden—a one-way stop to a certain death sentence. Can she balance her father’s desire to keep her safe, a blossoming romance with mysterious new student Oliver Queen, and her own desire to help other women and girls rise up and finally be heard? And will her voice be powerful enough to destroy the Court of Owls once and for all.

My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

I recently jumped back into the DC Icons series this month with the latest installment, Black Canary: Breaking Silence by Alexandra Monir. This companion series written by various young adult authors – Leigh Barudgo, Marie Lu, Matt de la Pena, and Sarah J. Maas all included- follows teenage versions of the most beloved heroes in the DC Comics world. While I’ve been more familiar with some DC heroes like Wonder Woman and Batman in this series, Black Canary was my first time learning about this female hero. I’ve had Birds of Prey on my to-view film list, and I might have to view it sooner rather than later because I want to learn more about Black Canary after reading this book!

Black Canary follows a teenage Dinah Lance growing up in Gotham City under the rule of the Court of Owls, an organization who took down the city’s superheroes years ago. Women have little to no rights in Gotham, including the right to sing, which frustrates Dinah immensely given her and her mother’s love for music. Dinah wants to be involved and seek justice for women and her city, while handling her father’s desire to stay under the radar and having feelings for the new guy in town, Oliver Queen.

Like the other books in the DC Icons series, Black Canary is really Dinah’s origin story. More than that, the book had very relevant themes surrounding female rights and empowerment. I do see The Handmaid’s Tale comparisons, but the book definitely takes on its own DC Comics inspired spin. 

I did enjoy the plot and getting to understand Dinah’s backstory, from the loss of her mother to her mother’s involvement with superheroes and finally, Dinah’s discovery of her abilities. There was also a fun, but darker (given the setting of the book) balance between Dinah’s friends and Oliver Queen as her love interest. Readers already familiar with the DC universe will probably understand the significance of Oliver more than I did! However, I sort’ve felt like something was missing from the story. While there is a ton of action, some of the scenes and ‘bigger’ reveals felt like it needed more world-building or needed to get at the heart of what Dinah was feeling, so the story could feel more high-stakes. I really liked this world, but I think I wanted a tad more depth.

Overall, Black Canary: Breaking Silence was a solid installment in the DC Icons series and I enjoyed its take on female superheroes and empowerment. I think fans of Black Canary might understand or appreciate the plot and backstory a tiny bit more than others, but I’m happy to see this installment amongst the other books in the series. If you like Black Canary, I can’t help but recommend Sarah J. Maas’s Catwoman: Soulstealer. 

This review is based on a review copy provided by the publisher. By no means did receiving this book affect my thoughts & opinions. 

Have you read Black Canary or any of the books in the DC Icons series? Share in the comments! 

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