Review of Rachael Allen’s HARLEY QUINN: RECKONING

Harley Quinn: Reckoning by Rachael Allen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ordinarily, this is where I’d insert a rant or at least a disclaimer for my usual disdain for present tense. I hope you’re sitting down because it’s not going to come. (Believe me, I’m as shocked as you) The ONLY reason I’m reserving the vitriol this time is that Ms. Allen read the assignment. The tense doesn’t add anything to the plot, but it DOES make sense for the character. And having read pretty much every Harley comic I can get my greedy fingertips on, I promise you it was a breeze to read through the chapters without losing track of what was going on.

A first for the present tense novels I’ve encountered.

This is all I ask of a writer. If you’re going to play around with the tense, then make it make sense. If all you’re trying to do is follow the “trend” of what some random person has declared, don’t waste my time.

I shouldn’t be surprised, though. Ms. Allen’s take on Harley was brilliant from the first moment. She added so much dimension to the character, creating a fresh narrative for an icon that so many people have refined and rebirthed numerous times. It’s a rallying cry for every budding feminist to stand behind – without alienating anyone. She handles the topic with the perfect balance of broken innocence, female empowerment, and determined brilliance. Everyone who’s ever felt pride in their work and found it trampled under the cold feet of someone else will feel a kinship with Harley and the Reckoning.

This is the kind of book you want delivered into the hands of every girl before they reach high school. In those moments when they’re deciding whether they should bite their lip and hide because they love science – or because someone made a snide remark when they showed interest in anything other than “girl stuff.” It’s sheer genius, and Ms. Allen deserves a standing ovation.

The fact it’s a Harley Quinn novel? That’s nothing more than a delightful bonus.

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