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 (DC Icons #1)Featured
Disclaimer: I didn't particularly like the canon alterations in the Gal Godot movie version of Wonder Woman, but I loved so much about the rest of it I've just come to accept it. Unfortunately, this book throws all that continuity out the window and gives us yet another alternate universe version of Diana Prince. One in which it is modern day, and she is just 17. Which sets us up for the uncomfortable-yet-strangely-inevitable: Teenagers playing truth-or-dare with the Lasso of Truth. >.>
Bardugo's writing is a highlight. She captures Diana's personality with the air of a true fan--portraying all her straightforward strength and guileless naivety in convincing depth. (Although, she shares nearly half the 3rd-person stage with Alia... who is, sadly, often more bratty than interesting.) The side character of Theo ended up being an endearing bit of candor and comedy I would have liked to see far more of.
Up until the final 1/4th of the story, the pacing is fairly slow. But the biggest drawback, to my mind, was the choice of Diana's bland and rigid (sort-of) love interest. I could never find him remotely likeable, and there wasn't enough chemistry for me to suspend a sense of cringing disbelief over their apparent attraction.
Overall, my impression was a bit middling. I'm afraid I won't end up remembering much about this one.
What I Loved:
I was pleasantly surprised to find that this novel is set partly in the modern world, where technology reigns and yet humans haven't learned from past mistakes. The stark difference between Themyscira and our world is wide, yet they seamlessly clash as Diana and the Warbringer, Alia, are thrown together, setting off on a quest to stop the Warbringer legacy in Alia's blood from bringing more chaos into the world.
As one would expect, Diana is already an amazing force in Wonder Woman: Warbringer, despite not yet being the heroine known in the human world. Fiercely loyal and with dreams to prove herself as a true Amazon warrior, Diana breaks the rules and risks exile in the hopes to somehow stop the oncoming war that Alia is drawing. Diana's point of view was an absolute joy to read about as we see her grow into the heroine she wants to be. However, when she starts to recognize our value thanks to beautiful characters introduced in this novel—to the point that she is willing to FIGHT for us humans, despite how other forces perceive us—it basically had me cheering at the top of my lungs.
Actually, in this book we also get another point of view from an equally amazing heroine! Alia is tied in first place (with Diana) as my favorite for she is smart, brave, and incredibly inspiring. A girl who tries hard to do anything for her brother and the people she loves, yet someone who yearns to be free to do whatever she wants without compromising anyone's safety. I simply LOVE Alia so much and I'm super glad to have met her!
Oh, but I cannot leave without mentioning how much I ADORE the rest of the characters in this book. The dazzling Nim with her love for fashion and Theo with his uncanny ability with technology, even Jason who would pretty much do whatever it takes to protect Alia. Such a splendid cast of characters!
It's truly a dream come true having a YA novel about Wonder Woman written by none other than Leigh Bardugo. I'm positive she did more than justice to Diana's story and if there's one author who I would trust Wonder Woman's origin story with, it would be her. Leigh Bardugo's writing is always rich and powerful, and you can see it highly reflected in this DC Icons novel.
Wonder Woman: Warbringer is fantastically diverse and entertaining, it shows the points of view from two heroines of different worlds, and reading about their fights, their hopes, and their dreams, surprisingly left me with tears of joy running down my face. It's a truly wonderful gem of a book and new and old fans alike of Wonder Woman are in for an empowering treat!
Diana was definitely a badass but she was a badass who had yet to prove herself to her sisters and to her mother. She was still young compared to most of them and longed to be accepted. She was really easy to relate to in a lot of ways. She just wanted to do what was right and keep her family safe. She was smart and determined and brave. And while she was trying to save everyone, she was going through her own self-discovery journey.
The plot ticked off most of what I would expect from a book based on a superhero. The origin story, the moral dilemma, the mission, the sacrifice, and of course the good versus evil. I could recognize Leigh Bardugo’s signature storytelling through the whole book and it just drew me in. There were a few predictable moments but still many twists that were surprising and makes me wonder if we’ll see another Wonder Woman book coming out soon.
I thought the book did a great job showcasing a young Diana on the cusp of her legacy, making her relatable but also other-worldly. The supporting cast were all wonderful additions and the five teens that ended up on the mission together were a lot of fun to watch banter back and forth. If there is a sequel, I will definitely be reading it.
What I loved most about this book was that it wasn't just a book about Diana Prince (Wonder Woman). There was a big focus on Alia, friendship, and humanity.
Diana: She made me laugh. Just the awkwardness of being in a human world that she had never been a part of. I loved her strength, determination, and loyalty. She wanted to save people and it never felt like she was doing it for herself. She wasn't selfish at all.
Alia: She was one of my favorites in this book. Alia definitely had some self doubts, but she was such a good person. Her friendship with Nim was great and I loved how she included Diana so quickly as part of their group. Alia was willing to sacrifice herself if it would save others from war.
Nim: She was another favorite. Her sense of humor and loyalty to Alia really stood out to me. She would do anything to help her friend.
Theo: He was another one who had the humor to help break up serious moments. He was smart and I could see why Alia had such a big crush on him.
Jason: He was also super smart, but way too serious most of the time (that was his personality). Jason was trying to keep his family's legacy.
The story and characters were well written. There was enough action to make it exciting and the pacing was good. I loved all the information on the gods/goddesses and humanity in general. Some of the book felt very relevant for the times right now.
Diana grew as a person during the book. She was able to think for herself more and realized that humans weren't always bad and that they were worth fighting for.
"Human courage was different from Amazon bravery. She saw that now. For all the suspicion and derision she'd heard from her mother and sisters about the mortal world, Diana couldn't help but admire the people with whom she traveled. Their lives were violent, precarious, fragile, but they fought for them anyway, and held to the hope that their brief stay on this earth might count for something. That faith was worth preserving."
Diana believed in peace. She believed that everyone deserved a chance to live and be happy. She wasn't sure at first, but something made her risk everything to save Alia. Spending time with them just reaffirmed what she though.
"These people, these mortals-fragile, foolish, brave beyond all common sense-deserved a chance at peace."
5 stars for this one. I really loved it.