So i have been recently catching up on my hobby of reviewing novels and TV shows. This being my sixth one. The first here on Gotham. The second book in the series Gotham has made in between the show. This one in between Season 2 and 3. What happened while Gotham was ravaged by monsters? Well lets get into it.
So the book starts literally where Season 2 ended. Only entirely from Fish Mooney's perspective. Allowing us to catch up on how this character looks at the world through new eyes. The monsters escape into Gotham, and Fish runs off on her own. Then it skips to about a month or so into this new Gotham. Selina is doing a standard job as a distraction for a bank robbery, but it is for a monster tamer who has trained two of Hugo's creations. This goes poorly when some people die, and Selina escapes. Gordon interrogates someone for locations of the monsters meanwhile, and this now leads into his plot of him as a bounty hunter. He tracks down two of the monsters who Hugo Strange convinced are a couple called Nip and Tuck. He kills Nip, and Tuck runs off. Gordon then is going to a small diner where she meets Clarissa. She is just an average married woman, but turns out her husband made her be a part of the robbery because of his gambling depts. Gordon then gets his first lead from her. Allowing him to find the other monsters that were a part of the robbery including the monster tamer. The monsters betray their master, but with the reluctant help from Selina, Gordon kills one of the monster robbers. Then it is revealed that the second monster from the robbery is the Ridgeback Monster from the beginning of Season 3. Who Fish sends out to the Pharmacy to find her medicine. Meanwhile, Gordon has to save Clarissa from Tuck, but Clarissa and Tuck die. Finally they just do the beginning of Season 3 with Gordon taking down the Ridgeback monster who might be Killer Croc.
While all this is happening, Bruce Wayne is in Switzerland. So contrary to what the book tells you, Bruce Wayne is in the story. He and Alfred deal with an old enemy from Alfred's military days. Leading Alfred to find it too dangerous to stay in Switzerland. Alfred and Bruce have to then go back to Gotham.
For starters, lets go over the city of Gotham itself. Since that is what is in the main title. So the city is very much alive in terms of the story. The monsters really feeling like they are a part of its craziness. Sometimes one will just jump a main character at random in an inconvenient moment, but still allows for good character connections after the monster attack. So it is basically fitting into Gotham City just like any mobster or maniac from Seasons 1 & 2. They also go over how basic crooks get created in the book which not a lot of Batman stories or even Gotham episodes go over. Where Clarissa is basically the every girl character that is supposed to reflect the average person reading the book who gets drafted into crime due to desperation. It is a good story that makes Gotham City feel real.
When it comes to the main characters, we have Bullock, Gordon, Selina, and Fish Mooney. They are keeping it as a smaller story than Gotham usually tells, but it allows some analysis into our main heroes and villains. We get to see a look into what Gordon is sacrificing in order to become a bounty hunter. We get how Selina feels working for Fish now and her unease to the mind control she can do. (A pretty good reference to her hate of mind control from Batman: Hush) We see Bullock disliking being the captain at G.C.P.D, forshadowing where that leads. Lastly, we see Fish Mooney gathering the army we see her unleash in Season 3. It has a great connection between the two seasons along with the development of the characters in them. Including Bruce Wayne. Who we see learning new skills and moral lessons on his trip outside of Gotham. Along with overcoming a challenging foe with Alfred. We see him limited by the fact that he doesn't have the skills he needs at times, but overcoming some situations with the skills he does have. Exactly what a Batman who is halfway through his journey should have.
Finally the little tidbits and references to the wider DC universe and pieces of Batman lore are welcomed as well. Including a little nod to the Ratcatcher, a ton of references to Basil Karlo AKA Clayface from Season 2's finale, and references to Jerome Valeska. Nods to Killer Croc are also put in.
While a lot of character development is shown, there are some flaws in the book's story. Ages are off for both Selina Kyle, and Bruce Wayne compared to how the series has been measuring it. Another flaw with it is the lack of some of Gotham's cast. I don't know, i just would wish we got to have Nygma and Penguin in the book. Would have been better with both of them in this story. Tuck had an okay arc, but our classic Batman villains could have provided some good humor, action, and character development for the both of them.
On the Bruce Wayne side of things, a major flaw was the lack of subtlety. It was Smallville levels of hammering it in with the Batman references. Could be different for other people reading it, but to me, i prefer the subtle references the show had.
It is a pretty good book for diving deeper into this version of Batman's world. I highly recommend it for fans of Gotham. Just don't expect everything to be as consistent with the show as you thought. Still have fun with it. I certainly did.