HARLEY QUINN – RECKONING by Rachael Allen from Random House #BookReview #YoungAdult #DC

The cover for Harley Quinn Reckoning. The cover is is of an orange 2 dimensional diamond with a young Harley Quinn standing in the middle. Her hair is in pigtails with pink and blue ends, and her top is grey with three red diamonds foreshadowing her future appearance.

HARLEY QUINN – RECKONING by Rachael Allen

Random House, hardback, ÂŁ11.75

Reviewed by Stephen Frame

The cover for Harley Quinn Reckoning. The cover is is of an orange 2 dimensional diamond with a young Harley Quinn standing in the middle. Her hair is in pigtails with pink and blue ends, and her top is grey with three red diamonds foreshadowing her future appearance.

Harley Quinn Reckoning is one of DC’s Legends series of novels, featuring some of the iconic characters from the DC universe. Reckoning is the first in a trilogy, but it is a stand-alone novel in its own right. It’s an origins story, charting the first steps of Harleen Quinnzel’s journey to becoming super-villain Harley Quinn.

The story opens with 18-year-old Harleen working as a lab assistant at Gotham University, desperate to gain a scholarship to the university and escape from her drunken, rage-fuelled father. One night she goes to a frat party with her best friend, Bernice, where they are both subjected to unwelcome male attention. This is the trigger for them to form a vigilante girl gang, determined to call out and avenge the sexism they see all around them at the university. They recruit other young women to their cause, and their vigilante actions gain notoriety as they escalate each one to new levels of mayhem. But events take a darker turn when the gang themselves become the target of an unknown assailant. Alongside this, Harleen struggles with her feelings for her friend, Bernice, her tortured relationship with her father and her own inner troubles.

Reckoning is a young adult novel, no doubt about it. Written in the present tense, first-person point of view, you’re right there in Harleen’s head the whole time. The dialogue is breezy and bright, and the story flies along at breakneck speed. This could all be a touch over-powering for the casual reader if not for the fact it is a finely crafted story. It’s, by turns, funny and touching and sad. Harleen’s character is a joy to follow through the ups and downs of her life.