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Harley Quinn: Reckoning

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In this new launch of a trilogy within the DC Icons universe, experience the origin story of a Super Villain. This is the feminist Harley Quinn backstory fans have been waiting for. When Harleen Quinzel scores an internship in a psych lab at Gotham University, she's more than ecstatic; she's desperate to make a Big Scientific Discovery that will land her a full-ride college In this new launch of a trilogy within the DC Icons universe, experience the origin story of a Super Villain. This is the feminist Harley Quinn backstory fans have been waiting for. When Harleen Quinzel scores an internship in a psych lab at Gotham University, she's more than ecstatic; she's desperate to make a Big Scientific Discovery that will land her a full-ride college scholarship and get her away from her abusive father. But when Harleen witnesses the way women are treated across STEM departments--and experiences harassment herself--she decides that revenge and justice are more important than her own dreams. Harleen finds her place in an intoxicating vigilante girl gang called the Reckoning, who creates chaos to inspire change. And when Harleen falls for another girl in the gang, it finally seems like she's found her true passions. But what starts off as pranks and mischief quickly turns deadly as one of the gang members is found murdered--and a terrifying conspiracy is uncovered that puts the life Harleen has worked so hard for at stake. Will she choose her future--or will she choose revenge? In this refreshingly feminist spin on the story of our favorite villainess, Harley Quinn: Reckoning traces Harleen's journey from precocious, revenge-obsessed teenage girl to a hardcore justice-seeker on her way to becoming the most captivating Super Villain of all time. Vibrating with youthful energy and rage, this is one story that you won't be able to put down.


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In this new launch of a trilogy within the DC Icons universe, experience the origin story of a Super Villain. This is the feminist Harley Quinn backstory fans have been waiting for. When Harleen Quinzel scores an internship in a psych lab at Gotham University, she's more than ecstatic; she's desperate to make a Big Scientific Discovery that will land her a full-ride college In this new launch of a trilogy within the DC Icons universe, experience the origin story of a Super Villain. This is the feminist Harley Quinn backstory fans have been waiting for. When Harleen Quinzel scores an internship in a psych lab at Gotham University, she's more than ecstatic; she's desperate to make a Big Scientific Discovery that will land her a full-ride college scholarship and get her away from her abusive father. But when Harleen witnesses the way women are treated across STEM departments--and experiences harassment herself--she decides that revenge and justice are more important than her own dreams. Harleen finds her place in an intoxicating vigilante girl gang called the Reckoning, who creates chaos to inspire change. And when Harleen falls for another girl in the gang, it finally seems like she's found her true passions. But what starts off as pranks and mischief quickly turns deadly as one of the gang members is found murdered--and a terrifying conspiracy is uncovered that puts the life Harleen has worked so hard for at stake. Will she choose her future--or will she choose revenge? In this refreshingly feminist spin on the story of our favorite villainess, Harley Quinn: Reckoning traces Harleen's journey from precocious, revenge-obsessed teenage girl to a hardcore justice-seeker on her way to becoming the most captivating Super Villain of all time. Vibrating with youthful energy and rage, this is one story that you won't be able to put down.

30 review for Harley Quinn: Reckoning

  1. 4 out of 5

    Bookishrealm

    This was a solid entry in the DC Icons series. I have to admit I was a tad bit nervous because Harley Quinn is one of my favorite DC characters and I’m not a huge fan of all the novels that surround comic book characters. But this was a pleasant surprise and I think it will be a great fit for those that are genuinely interested in learning more about her origin story. The novel takes place in both the past and the present. Readers will enter the story as Harley finds out that her close friend an This was a solid entry in the DC Icons series. I have to admit I was a tad bit nervous because Harley Quinn is one of my favorite DC characters and I’m not a huge fan of all the novels that surround comic book characters. But this was a pleasant surprise and I think it will be a great fit for those that are genuinely interested in learning more about her origin story. The novel takes place in both the past and the present. Readers will enter the story as Harley finds out that her close friend and partner has been harmed by an unidentified individual. As readers continue through the story, they’ll learn more about Harleys home life, her extraordinary capabilities in the sciences, and her deep desire to attend Gotham University. There were some great explorations of Harley’s friendships, her pitfalls, her diagnosis of ADHD, and her aspiration to leave her abusive father behind after losing her mother. I was pleasantly surprised at the extensive character development that readers are privileged to while reading this story. I know quite a bit about Harley, but I will admit that I learned some new things while reading it. One of the main emphasis of this book is the role of women in STEM while battling misogyny. There is a content warning for grooming and sexual assault. The author spent some time basing some of the scenarios of this book on real life events and the work that women have to do to carve out a space in this field. Harley is the epitome of someone trying to create that space especially with her research on the genetic materials that make someone a villain and someone less likely to be a villain. My only issue with this exploration is that readers never really truly see a single good man in this book. It felt like they were all villains to certain degree and I didn’t like the message that sent. Overall, this was well written and well paced. Fans of the DC universe, particularly Gotham, will enjoy some the cameos from other characters including the Joker and Poison Ivy. I loved the representation and exploration of Harley being bisexual. I was afraid that we weren’t going to get that. If you’re a fan of DC, this one might actually be worth picking up.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Do I have a new favorite DC Icons book? Because I think that I do.... Also don't mind me SCREAMING at the character who was introduced towards the end. Do I have a new favorite DC Icons book? Because I think that I do.... Also don't mind me SCREAMING at the character who was introduced towards the end.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Hixson

    Harley Quinn: Reckoning by Rachael Allen is an original take on Harley Quinn's origin, a rocking feminist revenge plot and a mystery all rolled up into one. Harley Quinn: Reckoning is part of the DC Icons series which tells origin stories for the young adult audience before the hero or villain has became a super hero or super villain. So far the DC Icons series has covered, Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Catwoman and now Harley Quinn. I have only read Batman: Nightcrawler before and I had some Harley Quinn: Reckoning by Rachael Allen is an original take on Harley Quinn's origin, a rocking feminist revenge plot and a mystery all rolled up into one. Harley Quinn: Reckoning is part of the DC Icons series which tells origin stories for the young adult audience before the hero or villain has became a super hero or super villain. So far the DC Icons series has covered, Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Catwoman and now Harley Quinn. I have only read Batman: Nightcrawler before and I had some mixed feelings I like Harley Quinn: Reckoning a lot better. Harley Quinn is one of my favorite characters and represented pretty well here it was a little shaky at the beginning but at the end I fell she was nailed. The narrative starts with a flash forward then goes back 8 months and catches up to flash forward a little bit after the halfway point. I think it was a good idea to start with the flash forward because the book sets up a lot to get you there then become unputdownable when you get there. This book was paced pretty well. A big part of this book was the mystery, and I was really compelled to find out who done it. There's a couple of really clever plot twist and there is some twist that lead to the mystery that is Harley Quinn. The book really dives in to the bisexual aspect of Harley and is very LGTBQIA+. I do have small trigger warnings for domestic abuse and unwanted sexual advances. I read this book early thanks to Netgalley and Random House Children's. Harley Quinn: Reckoning is published on April 26 2022. The Plot Summary: Harleen Quinzel is a high school student taking part in STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) internship where she gets to work at Gotham University. She discovers a lot of sexism and wants to get even. She finds kinship in other girls and forms a vigilante group called the Reckoning. They take revenge and have fun doing it but they stumble on to something more sinister than sexism when a member ends up in a coma, and the other members are hunted. Harleen goes from victim to aggressor as she takes steps to becoming Harley Quinn. What I Liked: The twist in the plot and the ones that are about Harley Quinn are really clever and the final one is really great. I liked all the references that were worked in about the hyenas, Pamela Isley (Poison Ivy), the stuffed beaver (that one I was shocked but I loved it), the references to the Joker, and the work in of Harley's catch phrases. I liked the plot to the story. I like that the author explains in the acknowledgements that these incidents of sexual harassment are from real life interactions. I how the iteration with the Harley and her abusive father was portrayed and the end result of their relationship. What I Disliked: the added pop culture references, about Tiktok and celebrities in the real world, I rolled my eyes a couple of times. I counted one male character that was decent and not a total pig it would have been nice if their was at least one more. I could not stand the character of Kylie. Recommendation: If you are a fan of the character of Harley Quinn then this book is a must. Having been a fan of Harley's I've read a lot a not always the best this is one of the better stories about her. This and Harleen by Stjepan Šejić are my favorites which both happen to be origin stories. I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I rated Harley Quinn: Reckoning by Rachael Allen 5 out of 5 stars. This book was right on the nose of 4.5 but the cleverness of it put me over the edge. This book is proposed as a trilogy and I'm so there for the next book in the evolution of Harley Quinn.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bookish Selkie

    The complex evolution of Harley Quinn has always been fascinating to me. When I saw that this book dealt with her origin story, I was very excited to read it. With many writers, she feels misunderstood and not necessarily taken seriously. Her relationships with the Joker and Poison Ivy are often debated. (Personally, I love Poison Ivy and Harley!) However, Rachael Allen makes it clear from the first page that she deeply understands Harley, her bisexuality, her intelligence, and how conflicted be The complex evolution of Harley Quinn has always been fascinating to me. When I saw that this book dealt with her origin story, I was very excited to read it. With many writers, she feels misunderstood and not necessarily taken seriously. Her relationships with the Joker and Poison Ivy are often debated. (Personally, I love Poison Ivy and Harley!) However, Rachael Allen makes it clear from the first page that she deeply understands Harley, her bisexuality, her intelligence, and how conflicted between good/evil she is. In Harley Quinn: Reckoning, Harley must decide whether she is a hero or villain, or someone in between. Allen does an incredible job of including real-world issues such as sexism, sexual abuse, and misuse of power- all with a focus on STEM. The play of power dynamics that takes place in the books is all too real, forcing Harley and her friends to make difficult choices about who to trust. While much of the book deals with serious topics, there is also plenty of witty banter and funny, heartfelt moments. I loved how Harley and her friends ended up forming a vigilante group and working together to discover who is hunting the girls on campus. The writing is witty and razor-sharp, seamlessly chilling as the plot comes together and the villain is revealed. I also appreciated the cameos from later parts of Harley’s life. I hope Allen can write more of Harley’s story! I really enjoyed Allen’s take on Harley’s origin story and found it very creative and nuanced. I can’t wait to see what Allen writes next! Harley Quinn: Reckoning is available now. Thank you so much to Rachael Allen, Random House Children’s, and Netgalley for a free ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jason Carpenter

    This is an incredible book! I think it may be my absolute favorite Harley Quinn story. Great characters, great plot, great storytelling. There's just nothing at all I can find wrong with this book. I'm super super super excited that it's going to be a trilogy. I can't wait to read more! This is an incredible book! I think it may be my absolute favorite Harley Quinn story. Great characters, great plot, great storytelling. There's just nothing at all I can find wrong with this book. I'm super super super excited that it's going to be a trilogy. I can't wait to read more!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Nick Cincotta

    I’ve consistently struggled with this series. I find myself drawn back to them because of the characters, the icons of the DC universe. As I have done with several other books in this series I found myself struggling to connect what I was reading with the characters that I know. There are some aspects of Harley that are seen throughout the book, at the same time it wasn’t Harley and it did not feel as if this was a book about Harley Quinn. I know each author has their own take on each character I’ve consistently struggled with this series. I find myself drawn back to them because of the characters, the icons of the DC universe. As I have done with several other books in this series I found myself struggling to connect what I was reading with the characters that I know. There are some aspects of Harley that are seen throughout the book, at the same time it wasn’t Harley and it did not feel as if this was a book about Harley Quinn. I know each author has their own take on each character at the same time it was so divergent from whether being the animated series, suicide squad, new 52, or any other representation of Harley it did not feel as if it was her. Aside from the characterization I did like the message and I did like the idea of pushing women up an ending a male dominated profession, I like the idea of a woman vigilante group defending other women and righting the wrongs that had been done to them. My biggest issue with this series though is that it is too Batman heavy. 2/3 of the books in the DC icon series reference a bat character or even the bat himself. My question is then what about the other characters, the other icons, the big seven, they have such a huge history. What about a story of the original star sapphire, how about Wally West as he copes with the loss of Barry Allen and his powers and has to re-discover himself not his kid flash but as the flash, that sounds like a good storyline. Move away from Batman and look at the other heroes and villains in the DC universe build the icon series with other great characters that are not directly related to the bat.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jacqueline

    I thoroughly enjoyed this depiction of Harley Quinn. It really sets up the trilogy well when compared to other on screen depictions (looking at you Birds of Prey). Throughout the story Harleen is portrayed as intelligent with a quick wit, internal and externally, which allows some of the other characters to act goofy as well. I really enjoy the subtle nod to wear the story is going to go next with The Joker appearing several times and who I assume is Poison Ivy. I really like that the lore keeps I thoroughly enjoyed this depiction of Harley Quinn. It really sets up the trilogy well when compared to other on screen depictions (looking at you Birds of Prey). Throughout the story Harleen is portrayed as intelligent with a quick wit, internal and externally, which allows some of the other characters to act goofy as well. I really enjoy the subtle nod to wear the story is going to go next with The Joker appearing several times and who I assume is Poison Ivy. I really like that the lore keeps with the bisexual identity with this story. I was really mad at myself for not picking up on Bernice being the mastermind behind everything sooner and that the research Harleen was doing in the lab would play out differently, but it really sucked me into the story. I have mixed feelings with the way the author threw the feminist ideologies into the story. like part of me is like YES YOU GO! and the other half of me is wishes the nods to feminism were more subtle (but like also I'm not mad they were there).

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jay

    Harley Quinn: Reckoning is an origin story that goes back father than most HQ stories. Harleen is an 18 year old intern at Gotham University. But it's hard being a woman in STEM. She's got to deal with the disgusting daily misogyny that forces her to find solace in a girl gang The Reckoning. When one of the women end up dead, the women set out to bring her to justice. I really liked this refreshing feminist take on one of Batman's most loved villains. It was entirely believable that Harley would Harley Quinn: Reckoning is an origin story that goes back father than most HQ stories. Harleen is an 18 year old intern at Gotham University. But it's hard being a woman in STEM. She's got to deal with the disgusting daily misogyny that forces her to find solace in a girl gang The Reckoning. When one of the women end up dead, the women set out to bring her to justice. I really liked this refreshing feminist take on one of Batman's most loved villains. It was entirely believable that Harley would end up the way she did because of how she was treated as a teen. One thing I didn't like was that Gotham was too reminiscent of our modern world with coconut cold brews and social media influencers. Perhaps that was to draw new fans in, but I'm an old school animated series HQ fan and I've always thought of Gotham as anomalous and not really very much like our world. Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for this ARC. All in all this was a good take on a Batman favorite.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Holly Dimitrie

    so happy to find a book about Harley Quinn's origin. loved it this author did an amazing job at getting Harley and letting you seem all of her her sexuality, her thoughts, her brain aka intelligence her ADHD lol and her fight with good vs bad you get to decide if she is a hero or a villain and its a hard decision (by the way) the group the reckoning kinda feels like a birds of prey type of group I have so much more to say but I think it might give away some spoilers and I don't want that so last t so happy to find a book about Harley Quinn's origin. loved it this author did an amazing job at getting Harley and letting you seem all of her her sexuality, her thoughts, her brain aka intelligence her ADHD lol and her fight with good vs bad you get to decide if she is a hero or a villain and its a hard decision (by the way) the group the reckoning kinda feels like a birds of prey type of group I have so much more to say but I think it might give away some spoilers and I don't want that so last thing is you are just gonna have to read this book for yourself FYI this book is part of a series (origin stories of other DC characters) that I cant wait to read I would like to thank NetGalley for giving me the ARC so I was able to read this book and then give a voluntary honest review. :)

  10. 4 out of 5

    Holly Dimitrie

    so happy to find a book about Harley Quinn's origin. loved it this author did an amazing job at getting Harley and letting you seem all of her her sexuality, her thoughts, her brain aka intelligence her ADHD lol and her fight with good vs bad you get to decide if she is a hero or a villain and its a hard decision (by the way) the group the reckoning kinda feels like a birds of prey type of group I have so much more to say but I think it might give away some spoilers and I don't want that so last t so happy to find a book about Harley Quinn's origin. loved it this author did an amazing job at getting Harley and letting you seem all of her her sexuality, her thoughts, her brain aka intelligence her ADHD lol and her fight with good vs bad you get to decide if she is a hero or a villain and its a hard decision (by the way) the group the reckoning kinda feels like a birds of prey type of group I have so much more to say but I think it might give away some spoilers and I don't want that so last thing is you are just gonna have to read this book for yourself FYI this book is part of a series (origin stories of other DC characters) that I cant wait to read I would like to thank NetGalley for giving me the ARC so I was able to read this book and then give a voluntary honest review. :)

  11. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas Palka

    At first did this not feel like a Harley Quinn story. However, this is a prequel. This story is about Harleen, and the events in her life that eventually lead up to her being Harley Quinn. Instead of majoring in psychology, she is studying neuroscience, but it works well because her fascination of the Joker's mind remains. This is a story about a girl with an abusive father, and the explorations of sexism, especially in STEM, and about women in STEM trying to change the system by doing illegal t At first did this not feel like a Harley Quinn story. However, this is a prequel. This story is about Harleen, and the events in her life that eventually lead up to her being Harley Quinn. Instead of majoring in psychology, she is studying neuroscience, but it works well because her fascination of the Joker's mind remains. This is a story about a girl with an abusive father, and the explorations of sexism, especially in STEM, and about women in STEM trying to change the system by doing illegal things. There were also a few things mentioned in the book that piqued my interest that I will be googling later about the warrior gene, some studies on schizophrenia, and some sexism from real life that the book took inspiration from. I am excited for the following books in this series! If you are a DC fan, I'm sure you will be excited by the tease of future storylines/characters.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Logan

    This book really takes smashing the patriarchy to a whole new level. We follow 18 year-old Harley as she navigates being a woman in STEM and how the men in the field cannot seem to see any of the women as equals. I had so much fun reading and following along with this gang of girls and seeing how they take down the next sexist and/creep next! About halfway through it starts taking even more of a mystery/thriller approach which worked so well! I did however find parts pretty predicable but that di This book really takes smashing the patriarchy to a whole new level. We follow 18 year-old Harley as she navigates being a woman in STEM and how the men in the field cannot seem to see any of the women as equals. I had so much fun reading and following along with this gang of girls and seeing how they take down the next sexist and/creep next! About halfway through it starts taking even more of a mystery/thriller approach which worked so well! I did however find parts pretty predicable but that didn’t ruin any of my fun. Harley was written very fun and likable to me and really did feel like a teenage Harley Quinn and not just “Haha Harley Quinn all kooky and wacky”. Since it does deal with people being creeps (but luckily getting their comeuppance) I would say there is a TW for SA, men being creepy and making gross comments in general, and talks of abuse. Thank you so much again Netgalley and Rachael Allen for the chance to read this for free in exchange for an honest review!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tattooed Bibliophile

    You ever read a book and think, "I needed that!" Harley Quinn: Reckoning is the first book in a coming trilogy - a retelling of the making of Harley Quinn. In this book she's just 16, and has been accepted into a sort of intern program into college. But she's a projects girl in an uppity world, and she's also a woman in STEM. So she's facing prejudice on all sides...including at home, where her alcoholic father is one bad night away from kicking her out on the street at best...hurting her at worst You ever read a book and think, "I needed that!" Harley Quinn: Reckoning is the first book in a coming trilogy - a retelling of the making of Harley Quinn. In this book she's just 16, and has been accepted into a sort of intern program into college. But she's a projects girl in an uppity world, and she's also a woman in STEM. So she's facing prejudice on all sides...including at home, where her alcoholic father is one bad night away from kicking her out on the street at best...hurting her at worst. Harley meets Beatrice, who comes up with an idea. An idea that maybe they don't have to take it. They don't have to watch girls be sexually assaulted and watch the boys who assaulted them walk away while they get asked what they were wearing to ask for that treatment. They start a secret society to get the men back - to take something back from the men who would take from them. This was everything I wanted it to be. The only thing I would change is the back and forth in timeline. After that first prologue I don't feel like it was necessary. But other than that this book is a perfect 5 stars, and I will absolutely be reading the next one in the series!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kieran McAndrew

    There is no doubt that Harleen Quinzell has a prodigious genius and has a bright future ahead of her. When her friend tells her that a frat boy refuses to take no for an answer, Harleen hatches a plan to teach the boys and men on campus a lesson. An interesting origin story, the clues to the development of Harley Quinn are all there, with hints of schizophrenia already showing through her teenage doubts and fears. There are a couple of little cameos to set up the future, including the inevitable There is no doubt that Harleen Quinzell has a prodigious genius and has a bright future ahead of her. When her friend tells her that a frat boy refuses to take no for an answer, Harleen hatches a plan to teach the boys and men on campus a lesson. An interesting origin story, the clues to the development of Harley Quinn are all there, with hints of schizophrenia already showing through her teenage doubts and fears. There are a couple of little cameos to set up the future, including the inevitable drop in of Mr J himself. The emphasis on STEM for young women is welcome and highlights the difficulties female scientists experience in the workplace which should ensure that male readers reflect on the way they act and react to their female colleagues.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Meagan

    Three-and-a-half stars rounded to four. The first half of the book was very slow for me. I wasn't not enjoying it as there was nothing going on. Once I reached the half way point of the book I didn't want to put it down however. Bit disappointing there was no 'big bad reveal' and that The Joker was just oddly put in there as nothing. I guess we'll see more in the sequel. Three-and-a-half stars rounded to four. The first half of the book was very slow for me. I wasn't not enjoying it as there was nothing going on. Once I reached the half way point of the book I didn't want to put it down however. Bit disappointing there was no 'big bad reveal' and that The Joker was just oddly put in there as nothing. I guess we'll see more in the sequel.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Erin Mendoza

    I love a good origin story and I love Harley Quinn so this book hit all the marks. In The Reckoning, Harleen is attending a science program at Gotham U when she and some friends decide to TAKE DOWN THE PATRIARCHY. I loved all the characters and especially loved the science Harleen was doing. Recommend to any DC fans 😁 Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an early copy for review.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jessie Drew

    Fun read! Favorite quote: “…Because I am strong. I’m a survivor. I am made of electricity and laughter, and no one will ever hurt me again.”

  18. 5 out of 5

    Maggie

    I got an ARC copy of this book and I can't wait until it's released and I can start recommending it to people. This was the Harley Quinn story I've wanted for ages. It's such a great book that works perfectly as a prequel to the Birds of Prey movie. I got an ARC copy of this book and I can't wait until it's released and I can start recommending it to people. This was the Harley Quinn story I've wanted for ages. It's such a great book that works perfectly as a prequel to the Birds of Prey movie.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Chris The Lizard from Planet X

    Harley Quinn: Reckoning By Rachael Allen, Is a Young Adult superhero novel based on the DC comic’s character of Harley Quinn. This story focuses on a young teenage Harleen Quinzel years before she would become the super villain known as Harley Quinn that would go on to terrorize Gotham. Between Harley’s own experiences of abuse and misogyny and what happens to her friend, Bernice, at a college frat party, Harley’s decided she’s not going to take it any more. Her retaliation against Bernice’s att Harley Quinn: Reckoning By Rachael Allen, Is a Young Adult superhero novel based on the DC comic’s character of Harley Quinn. This story focuses on a young teenage Harleen Quinzel years before she would become the super villain known as Harley Quinn that would go on to terrorize Gotham. Between Harley’s own experiences of abuse and misogyny and what happens to her friend, Bernice, at a college frat party, Harley’s decided she’s not going to take it any more. Her retaliation against Bernice’s attacker catches some attention, and other girls come forward wanting to punish some of the more egregious examples of sexism and abuse on Gotham University campus. Together they become The Reckoning a woman’s rights vigilante group. But when members of The Reckoning are targeted, including Bernice, who has become something more than just a friend, Harley is desperate to find out what is happening to the people who have become like family to her and protect them. I was so excited to see this new series focusing on one of my favorite DC comic’s super villains. Harley Quinn has such a distinctive voice, however, so there was nervousness as well. Rachael Allen absolutely nails the Harley voice with humor, sarcasm, and sparkle. In addition, the characterization is phenomenal. At this stage in young Harley’s life, she’s still growing, learning, and figuring out where her own morality and ethical lines fall. It’s so easy to understand how she becomes torn later on. Alongside the characterization, the relationships in this story shine. First is an adorable (with an edge) romance between Harleen and Bernice. Both are shy to trust and have goals of their own, and they slowly open up to each other. Outside of the romance, I loved the friendships between the members of the girl gang. They have a shared mission that brings them together, and I love the scenes when they support each other outside of the mission too, like when they all attend Harleen’s gymnastics meet. All of the things I know about Harley from previous encounters – her brilliance, her fascination with the Joker, her own penchant for violence, her sexuality, her interest in psychology – are all tucked into this story. Again, the author does this in such a natural way while still telling her own story that’s different from what fans have seen in TV, movies, comics, and video games. It’s really well done. My only complaint is that I feel the timeline could have been more clear. The book starts in one place, then jumps back in time, and then jumps a couple more times. All in all, HARLEY QUINN: RECKONING is a pitch perfect modern take on the early years of Harley Quinn. I can’t wait to see where the series goes next, especially after the easter egg at the end featuring another beloved DC character. I would definitely recommend that fans of both Harley Quinn or superhero stories give this book a read.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Liz (Quirky Cat)

    Yes! I've been keeping my eye on the DC Icons series (reading them here and there), but I just knew that I had to read this one. Harley Quinn: Reckoning, by Rachael Allen, is precisely what I was hoping to see from this series. Harleen Quinzel has been working hard towards her goals. So when she finally gets her big break – an invitation to intern in the psych lab at Gotham University – she jumps at the chance. Perhaps literally. Despite her joy at finally making headway in her goals, Harleen c Yes! I've been keeping my eye on the DC Icons series (reading them here and there), but I just knew that I had to read this one. Harley Quinn: Reckoning, by Rachael Allen, is precisely what I was hoping to see from this series. Harleen Quinzel has been working hard towards her goals. So when she finally gets her big break – an invitation to intern in the psych lab at Gotham University – she jumps at the chance. Perhaps literally. Despite her joy at finally making headway in her goals, Harleen can't turn away from what is happening on campus. Women in STEM are not treated well. Seeing (and experiencing) it every day is breaking something inside her. Harley Quinn fans should be taking note right now because Harley Quinn: Reckoning was written for them (I believe it was also written by a fan if the justice to her character has anything to say about it). I've read (and see) more than a few Harley origin stories at this point. So I was an odd mixture of emotions going into this book. Excited, concerned (never know how new origins will turn out), and curious mostly. Having read it, I can say that it is ABSOLUTELY worth reading. If you liked the unique spin on Catwoman's origin, you'll enjoy how Harley's origin has been adapted for this telling. And that's coming from a Harley Quinn fan, mind you (my favorite rendition will always be Harley as seen in the Batman animated series). Okay, I'll confess that Rachel Allen managed to work Harley's hyenas into the mix was a massive sell for me. I wouldn't have rioted if they hadn't appeared (younger version of her and all that), but I am thrilled to death that they made it in. So, rather than have me list out all the other things I loved about this book, let me say this: read Harley Quinn: Reckoning. Thanks to Random House and #NetGalley for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own. Read more reviews over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks

  21. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    I'm always interested in origin stories about superheroes, gods and goddesses, and even mortals so this one was right up my alley. It's a 3.5 for me. The first in a planned trilogy about Harley Quinn, this well-written accounting of her time interning in a psych lab at Gotham University while she hopes to earn a college scholarship is riveting. The narrative flashes back and forth in time between her internship and her formative years when a traumatic experience left her afraid of small spaces. I'm always interested in origin stories about superheroes, gods and goddesses, and even mortals so this one was right up my alley. It's a 3.5 for me. The first in a planned trilogy about Harley Quinn, this well-written accounting of her time interning in a psych lab at Gotham University while she hopes to earn a college scholarship is riveting. The narrative flashes back and forth in time between her internship and her formative years when a traumatic experience left her afraid of small spaces. Harleen's father is extremely emotionally abusive, and she tiptoes around him when she's at home. Blessedly, she spends as little time as she can there, deeply involved in her lab work which concerns identifying the markers in blood cells for violent individuals. She loves working with Dr. Nelson, her mentor, and is gratefulf for his support. But she becomes increasingly aware of how dismissive some individuals are toward women in science, which troubles her. When two incidents at a fraternity party prompt first outrage and then the decision to take action, she and Bernice, another student in a similar program, decide to take action and pull together a revenge-minded female vigilante group. And oh, how delicious are the acts they take to raise the awareness of those who have tried to victimize them! The stakes are raised as the pranks become much more serious once the members of the group realize that there's a pattern of abuse resulting in disappearing young women and tragic outcomes that seems to lead to one of the university professors. Along the way, though, as the gang searches for answers, Harley learns some hard-to-swallow truths about herself. All of this is fast-paced, and there are some red herrings to sort through as well as relationship drama, some twists and turns, and betrayals. But oh, how satisfying it is to watch some of these powerful men get their comeuppance! Ah, how sweet is revenge! It will be interesting to see what happens next for Harley. Part of the DC Icons series, this one is a title that no feminist should miss.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Morgan

    OMG! Harley Quinn: Reckoning puts any other attempts at an HQ to shame. Neuroscientist & author Rachael Allen brings us an unrivaled look into the early life of Harleen Quinzel. Harleen is a promising young scientist, working as an intern in Gotham U's prestigious Bridge Scholars program for recent high school grads. Between working to research SV1 genetic mutations that indicate greater likelihood of being a supervillain, gymnastics, and avoiding her dad, Harleen's life is packed with successes OMG! Harley Quinn: Reckoning puts any other attempts at an HQ to shame. Neuroscientist & author Rachael Allen brings us an unrivaled look into the early life of Harleen Quinzel. Harleen is a promising young scientist, working as an intern in Gotham U's prestigious Bridge Scholars program for recent high school grads. Between working to research SV1 genetic mutations that indicate greater likelihood of being a supervillain, gymnastics, and avoiding her dad, Harleen's life is packed with successes and daily traumas. Her budding friendship (maybe more?) with another scholar named Bernice takes her down an unexpected path: teaming up with other students to smash the patriarchy through pranks. Their mischief, motivated by justice, starts to change the campus and leads them to investigate a pattern of assaults against women in STEM. Allen gives Harleen the backstory, nuance and compassion she deserves. Harleen is a intelligent, passionate, and vibrant young adult - who's always looking forward to her next great destination whether it's a education, cupcake, or trip to the hyena exhibit. While she's constantly tied to the past, Harleen is a force of hope who stands up against whatever comes her way. She's brave, talented showswoman who is just a teeny bit impulsive. CW: Like many HQ stories, this book deals with trauma, assault, and abuse. These topics are handled with care. But, as always, make sure you have a support system if needed.

  23. 5 out of 5

    A Broken Zebra

    NETGALLEY ARC Plot - 4.5 Characters - 4.5 Writing Style - 4. Cover - 5 ( Love the cover. 🖤) Enjoyment - 4/4.5 Fun and powerful book. It's nifty to get insight on a well-established character before the time that we once knew them (that is, teenaged Quinzel), and with Dr Allen's version, it's a more modern take since it places Harleen in more current times. Sometimes, and it was less than more, but sometimes the feminism/burn-the-patriarchy was heavy-handed. I, being cis female, could easily get behi NETGALLEY ARC Plot - 4.5 Characters - 4.5 Writing Style - 4. Cover - 5 ( Love the cover. 🖤) Enjoyment - 4/4.5 Fun and powerful book. It's nifty to get insight on a well-established character before the time that we once knew them (that is, teenaged Quinzel), and with Dr Allen's version, it's a more modern take since it places Harleen in more current times. Sometimes, and it was less than more, but sometimes the feminism/burn-the-patriarchy was heavy-handed. I, being cis female, could easily get behind 98/99% of the messages and desires included in this book, it's just that on a select few occasions, it read (to me!) as disingenuous. There are, however, very real and very gross/disturbing situations, and Dr Allen includes real examples in her Author's Note that were included yet modified in the novel. I did have a minor, triggery moment in a scene between Harleen and her dad, so warnings abound for those sensitive to abuse in every form. But I friggin' adored lines like this one - "I think the concept of 'basic' is just another way the patriarchy tells us that things women and girls like or are interested in are less than." - because Y U U U P. Insert something equivalent to an 'amen/preach'. Since this book sets up Harleen becoming Dr Quinzel, I wouldn't mind another installment, especially since the author drops a quick cameo or two. It'd be interesting to see HQ's relationships with them further explored in this setting, however, we have a lot of material with said two cameos already, so it's not overly detrimental. The book probably could have been a little shorter, but overall it's worth a read. Most especially for DC, Harley Quinn, strong female protag/vigilante girl group fans.

  24. 5 out of 5

    V

    It's a solid YA book. Some things you see coming a mile ahead, and other genuinely snuck up on me. Part of the story feels so tragic because you know more or less where she ends updater in life, but it also gives you hope that maybe /this/ HQ has better things in store for her. I would give it a solid 3.5, but rounded up or added .5 because I like the characters so much. A few things that really did bother me, was it being set in modern day. I personally feel the story would've been much more effe It's a solid YA book. Some things you see coming a mile ahead, and other genuinely snuck up on me. Part of the story feels so tragic because you know more or less where she ends updater in life, but it also gives you hope that maybe /this/ HQ has better things in store for her. I would give it a solid 3.5, but rounded up or added .5 because I like the characters so much. A few things that really did bother me, was it being set in modern day. I personally feel the story would've been much more effective if it was timeless or set in the 80s/90s/00s. Besides a few cringey mentions of Tiktok, IG influences, and Lizzo, it was hard to place the time it was set in. But those cringey moments brought me put fo the story, and I think fail the characters too. I believe teenagers and college students today have a much more developed education on the patriarchy and smashing it, that didn't really match with the book characters experience. It read more like something it was written from personal experience years ago, what one wished they had done, and then sprinkled some of today's trending topics. I found Harley's relationship with Dr N to be very nuisanced (from her POV), and it has me wonder why her onbssession with the Joker started so young. We see her interact with her, but still don't really understand what draws her to him, when other people similar to him, disgusts her so much. Overall enjoyable read, and I look forward to reading more about her in this universe.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jaymie

    [I received a free electronic review copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.] 4 stars = Great! Might re-read. This is really well done! The author works in all of the classic Harley Quinn traits - her brilliance, her darkness, her obsession with the Joker, her sexuality - while also telling a fresh story. The author also does an excellent job teasing out that darkness while keeping Harley endearing. The central thread - smash the patriarchy - is n [I received a free electronic review copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.] 4 stars = Great! Might re-read. This is really well done! The author works in all of the classic Harley Quinn traits - her brilliance, her darkness, her obsession with the Joker, her sexuality - while also telling a fresh story. The author also does an excellent job teasing out that darkness while keeping Harley endearing. The central thread - smash the patriarchy - is nuanced as you both want to see the misogynists get their comeuppance and also cringe as the girls move further into vigilantism. I wasn't expecting the mystery elements so that was a fun layer to the story. My only complaint is that the timeline jumps could have been clearer - at least in the review copy. Hopefully by full publication those have been more clearly indicated. Apparently this is kicking off a trilogy of stories - and there's a teaser at the end that might indicate whose story is next. And I am here for it. I have really enjoyed this ICONS line from DC and I'm eager to see what comes next. (Some language, references to sexual assault/harassment, grief/loss, LGBTQ+)

  26. 4 out of 5

    Joshua Tompkins

    Let me start by saying I'm a big fan of Harley Quinn ever since she first appeared in Batman: The Animated Series. I really enjoyed reading about the early life of Harleen Quinzel. This reimagining of her backstory is quite great and I love all the Easter eggs the author sprinkled throughout the tale. Harleen was extremely well written and this story shows how she persevered through a horrible childhood and still came out on top. It highlights her intelligence and athleticism as well as that out Let me start by saying I'm a big fan of Harley Quinn ever since she first appeared in Batman: The Animated Series. I really enjoyed reading about the early life of Harleen Quinzel. This reimagining of her backstory is quite great and I love all the Easter eggs the author sprinkled throughout the tale. Harleen was extremely well written and this story shows how she persevered through a horrible childhood and still came out on top. It highlights her intelligence and athleticism as well as that outrageous personality we love. I really wish I could give this a full five stars but I had some gripes with it that I'll go into. The next part of this review will contain spoilers, so if you're not ready for that just know that in my opinion I believe the author tried to push a certain agenda too far. While this story was obviously written to not just tell us the story of a young Harleen Quinzel and her journey into becoming Harley Quinn but to also shine light on the difficulties that women have in the STEM fields, in my own opinion I think this story takes it too far. I find it very hard to believe that every single male Harleen has interacted with in this story to be a piece of shit human being. Literally every male character, except for perhaps one classmate is some kind of sex offender asshole, EVERYONE! If this is a true representation of what it's like to be a woman, than I sincerely apologize, but for me, with everyone being such a trash human being and all the women being such amazing characters, it's just a hard pill to swallow.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin Coakley

    Harley Quinn is such an interesting character, when written well. The version of Harley portrayed in the animated series is a particularly good characterization. What Rachael Allen does here, however, was fantastic. The DC Icons series takes larger than life superhero characters and places them in more realistic settings to tell YA stories. Allen has really biting and meaningful commentary here on young women in STEM fields, issues of harassment and abuse cover-ups in higher education, family tra Harley Quinn is such an interesting character, when written well. The version of Harley portrayed in the animated series is a particularly good characterization. What Rachael Allen does here, however, was fantastic. The DC Icons series takes larger than life superhero characters and places them in more realistic settings to tell YA stories. Allen has really biting and meaningful commentary here on young women in STEM fields, issues of harassment and abuse cover-ups in higher education, family trauma, and more. In some ways it's a murder mystery, while also being a queer coming-of-age story for a brave young woman who has all the cards stacked against her. At the same time, it's also an origin story for the anti-hero we know and love, Harley Quinn, and it feels close enough to her characterization in (recent) comics and TV that it *feels* like Harley Quinn. I was honestly impressed and surprised at how well fleshed out and engaging this was! I'm so glad it will be a trilogy, and thrilled to read Allen's take on the character introduced in the epilogue....

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jess

    I was really excited to read this, and have loved a lot of the series, so far. The villain stories were definitely my most anticipated, but unfortunately I struggled to enjoy this one. The story was interesting, but didn't keep my attention very well, as it took a while for anything to happen. The overall writing was quite childish, and a lot of the dialogue between the friends felt awkward. I liked parts of the modernisation of gotham, but a lot of it was difficult to imagine, especially the pop I was really excited to read this, and have loved a lot of the series, so far. The villain stories were definitely my most anticipated, but unfortunately I struggled to enjoy this one. The story was interesting, but didn't keep my attention very well, as it took a while for anything to happen. The overall writing was quite childish, and a lot of the dialogue between the friends felt awkward. I liked parts of the modernisation of gotham, but a lot of it was difficult to imagine, especially the pop culture references and modern artists being named. I mean, could you imagine a Lizzo concert in arkham asylum?? or a bunch of ghost busting youtubers doing an overnight challenge? I thought the book had a great overall message, and it was refreshing to see, but for me the young narrative, and way Harley was written wasn't my personal favourite of the series. Regardless, I am excited to see which character is next.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Bri

    Yeah, this was fun. Women is STEM smashing the patriarchy - ok sign me up - and it's a Harley Quinn origin story - just take my money. There were some really clever explanations for some of the iconic elements of Harley's character. There were a few places where I was like eehh that's kinda annoying but at the same time that is totally something Harley would do. Not going to lie, the sexual assault parts were hard (content warning for that), but just like the characters I got super angry at the Yeah, this was fun. Women is STEM smashing the patriarchy - ok sign me up - and it's a Harley Quinn origin story - just take my money. There were some really clever explanations for some of the iconic elements of Harley's character. There were a few places where I was like eehh that's kinda annoying but at the same time that is totally something Harley would do. Not going to lie, the sexual assault parts were hard (content warning for that), but just like the characters I got super angry at the injustice of it all, so when they started their vigilante justice I was all for it. My only other critique would be the time jumps. The chapter headings do have dates on them but I was reading on an e-reader and flipping back to check the other dates for continuity was a bit inconvenient. All in all just a really fun read and I would definitely recommend this book and not just to Harley fans!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    This book is really a 5 star book. It was everything I wanted in a Harley Quinn book. Being able to read about her background and why she is now she is. It has a great feminist spin and LGBTQ+ theme. The writing is amazing and so easy to follow. Harleen is working at an internship in a lab at Gotham University. She is working on a big project to hopefully get a full ride scholarship so she can get away from her dad who is abusive. While working in the lab she starts noticing how the girls are tre This book is really a 5 star book. It was everything I wanted in a Harley Quinn book. Being able to read about her background and why she is now she is. It has a great feminist spin and LGBTQ+ theme. The writing is amazing and so easy to follow. Harleen is working at an internship in a lab at Gotham University. She is working on a big project to hopefully get a full ride scholarship so she can get away from her dad who is abusive. While working in the lab she starts noticing how the girls are treated in the STEM departments. Harleen decides that the men who do this to the girls need to pay and starts the Reckoning girl gang. But when one of their own is murdered, it turns into something else entirely. *Thank you netgalley for the book for a honest review.

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