Back in July I was lucky enough to receive a copy of Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo (thank you Penguin, especially Sarah!) and did a little happy dance when I came home and saw the parcel waiting for me to open it. With my dad being a huge comic book fan, I’ve grown up with Marvel, DC and a whole load of other action films and stories. I’ve even been dragged to a few meet and greets in my time; meeting Adam West, Dolph Lundgren and (most of) the original A Team cast are my particular claims to fame. Anyway, I’ve always loved and looked up to Wonder Woman and think that the latest film was amazing. I actually cried because it was so inspirational, so you can imagine how excited I was to read this book!
Wonder Woman Warbringer is the first of a new four book YA series, DC Icons, brought together by Random House. Bardugo’s is the first story, followed by Batman by Marie Lu, Superman by Matt de la Peña and the one I’m most excited for (because I both love cats and she is my favourite author) Catwoman by Sarah J. Maas.
From the cover:
She will become one of the world’s greatest heroes: WONDER WOMAN. But first she is Diana, Princess of the Amazons. And her fight is just beginning. . . .
Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mere mortal. Even worse, Alia Keralis is no ordinary girl and with this single brave act, Diana may have doomed the world.
Alia just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.
Together, Diana and Alia will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. If they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.
Wonder Woman: Warbringer was written in third person, with most of the chapters switching between Diana and Alia, with other characters added in the further the story progressed. There was a distinct difference between Alia and Diana’s chapters, with the former feeling more modern compared to the latter whose thoughts felt much more traditional.
I think the part of the book that drew me in the most was the characters. The central characters, aside from Diana who is white, were extremely diverse, with Greek and African American Alia and Jason, Brazilian Theo and Alia’s best friend Nim who is Indian, gay and fat. This was seriously refreshing and really enjoyable to read about. I also loved that Diana said this about her island, a fact with no need for explanation: “Some like men, some like women, some like both, some like nothing at all.” Each of the characters really contributed to the story and had their own arcs instead of just existing to boost the superhero, which made me much more invested in the story.
Alia and Diana had a beautiful friendship which felt very deep and real, and while I did feel early on that there may be a romantic relationship ahead for them I am so happy with where their story went, though I would have been happy with the romance too. The girls were determined, with goals and dreams that they were willing to work hard for, even lay down their life for. One of my favourite quotes from the book is: “We cannot spend our lives in hiding, wondering what we might accomplish if given the chance. We have to take that chance ourselves”. This really resonated with me; I want a Diana with me at all times to motivate me!
Bardugo’s writing skills blow me away every time I read one of her books, and this was no different. The world building was magnificent, with each scene so easy to visualise; the descriptions of Themyscira were just magical. The fight scenes were also impeccable. I’ve read a few fight scenes in other books that have felt quite sloppy, however Bardugo’s were sharp and easy to follow. Diana is just so awesome and she definitely kicked some ass with her Lasso of Truth (and we got to read about her in the classic Wonder Woman outfit, yesss)!
I also love that Bardguo manages to weave in humour throughout. I definitely laughed out loud on several occasions. Alia is particularly funny, often describing Diana as a giant and says she “won’t look a gift giant in the mouth.” I don’t know why, but this just cracked me up. There’s also a scene later on in the story where Diana physically picks one of the characters up by his shoulders and moves him out of her way. I could picture this so easily and it definitely made me giggle.
Through her superb writing, Bardugo shocked me not once, but twice. I didn’t see the plot twists coming – ok maybe the first a little bit but the second one I really did not anticipate. Woah. Wonder Woman: Warbringer was fast paced and packed full of action that really kept me flipping through the pages. I wasn’t bored for even a moment! The mythology that was woven in with modern day throughout the story was also really interesting and I loved reading more about the Gods and Goddesses.
Wonder Woman: Warbringer was a fresh and exciting new take on the classic story of the DC superhero that kept me enthralled throughout. With themes of friendship, family, loyalty and determination with lots of powerful women, I feel seriously inspired after reading it. GIRL POWER! It was easily a 4/5 stars from me and I highly recommend that you go and read it! Now, my dad has called dibs on the book so time to go and tell him how awesome it was…
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