Daughter of immortals.
Princess 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 mortal. Diana will soon learn that she has rescued no ordinary girl, and that with this single brave act, she may have doomed the world.
Daughter of death.
Alia Keralis just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted by people who think her very existence could spark a world war. 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.
Two girls will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. Tested beyond the bounds of their abilities, Diana and Alia must find a way to unleash hidden strengths and forge an unlikely alliance. Because if they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.
When this book was first announced all those months ago, I wasn’t that excited for it. Mainly I was just happy Leigh Bardugo was writing another book but I wasn’t sure that I’d read it. Then I saw the Wonder Woman movie and my perspective changed entirely. I’ve always been a causal comic book hero fan, meaning that I’ve seen majority of the Marvel movies out now (except Doctor Strange, I’ll never see that nonsense) but with DC I’m hit or miss. For example: I love The Flash on The CW but I hate Arrow and I haven’t watched any of the new Justice League movies because I despise Superman. But oh man, after watching her movie I am so in love with Wonder Woman and I knew that I needed to read this book. And the almighty Queen Leigh Bardugo came through once again. From the moment I held this book, not even opened it, I knew that I was going to love it. It felt like I had magic in my hands and I was right. I could say that I don’t think I’ve loved a book as much as this one but that would be wrong because I’ve loved multiple books as much as I love this one. But I can say that this book is absolutely one of my all time favourites and it made me so happy. Let’s get down to why I loved this book so much, shall we?
- As I suspected before starting this book, the writing for this was outstanding. If you’ve read Bardugo before then you’ll be familiar with her Grishaverse novels such as Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows. You’ll know that she’s great at creating universes and her characters are phenomenal. But you also might argue that her writing in her first trilogy isn’t that great and I’d say you’re right. I actually read Six of Crows before diving into The Grisha Trilogy and while it’s not a big deal in terms of the story or understanding the universe, I could definitely see a difference between the writing of both series. But it’s a good difference because it’s one that shows a hell of a lot of improvement from her first series to her second series, and it’s the second series that solidifies how great of a writer Bardugo is. In this book, the writing is just as great as it was in Six of Crows, if not greater. In my opinion, there’s always something that’s magical about Bardugo’s writing. I think it’s in the way she describes the world around her characters and how it’s something you can always envision perfectly. Or maybe it’s just the overall way she structures her writing and sentences and how it all flows like a melody in my head. Whatever it is that she does, I love it. And then there’s how she writes her characters and how there is always one that you can relate to, whether it’s physically or personality wise. She always makes characters that feel authentic and relatable and ultimately like they could be real people. For example, everything about Alia’s reaction to being in Themyscira was not only funny but it was completely accurate. It was, in my opinion, how a normal person would react to being on some weird, ancient looking island with a giant warrior princess telling you that you’re apparently the cause of war. Finally, my absolute favourite thing about Bardugo’s writing is the hilarious banter she creates between her characters. It’s the kind of banter that makes you literally laugh out loud on multiple occasions and is also something that sounds organic, like it’d be a conversation you’d have with your own friends. It’s all of these elements that, for me, make Leigh Bardugo a great writer and it’s why I loved the writing of this book.
- One thing that I truly loved about Diana’s character, other than basically everything about her, was the fact that she was well versed in the history of the “outside” world and that she was aware of what went on outside of the Themyscira bubble. I remember when I watched the movie that movie!Diana seemed to know very little about the world and what was happening, but book!Diana seemed to know almost everything. She knew how many wars the humans had fought in, how their technology evolved over time. She knew about geography and religion and how modern it’s become, but there were still small things that surprised her. Things like the feel of air conditioning or a new car smell were things that Diana viewed as magical and it made her adorable in my mind. I liked that she was aware of the modern world but could still find the magic in it.
- In other books when you have a character like Diana who’s completely out of their element, they always become the butt of a joke. The “modern” people do things that this person wouldn’t understand and then go into hysterics about it. But with Diana it never seemed that way. There were a few social cues that Diana would miss or wouldn’t understand but it never became a running joke. Like there was one time where Nim said “kick his ass” to Diana and she responded by saying something like “specifically his ass?” which you, the reader, find cute but Nim didn’t cackle or make fun of Diana for missing the meaning of the phrase and Theo chimed in by explaining how it was just a saying. It’s things like that that show how there are things Diana doesn’t fully understand but she isn’t made fun of for it.
- A lot of this book emphasized the importance of friendship and overall relationships and I admired that. There was very little romance here and I liked that it took a backseat to the friendships. First there was the friendship between Diana and Alia, then there was Alia and Nim, Alia and Theo, and then Diana, Alia, and Nim. I liked that these were the kinds of friends that would literally die for each other or go to the ends of the earth for each other. And I liked how they all inspired each other to be better people. They felt like the kind of friends you’d want for yourself.
- Ooh, the plot twist at the end was fantastic. I won’t say what it is because this is definitely one that you need to find out for yourself and I’d hate to ruin it. But I will say that it’s one that you’re either going to guess immediately or one that you’ll suspect, brush off, and then be surprised when you turn out to be right. All I’m gonna say is that once again, you should never try to play God, ok? Just don’t do it.
- The end of this book was just so wonderfully optimistic and had a really nice open ending that made you feel like the story of Diana and Alia would never be over. It was kind of like when the four Pevensie children travel back through the wardrobe from Narnia and there’s that promise of returning one day. You just feel like Diana will return to the World of Man one day and she’ll see all of her friends again. Not only that, but what I loved about the ending was how it defined the meaning of being a hero. For Diana, she thought that being a hero was about having the glory and people remembering her name, but she learns that it’s knowing that you changed something or saved the world because it was the right thing to do, not for the glory, that makes you a hero. No one will know what Diana did, but she’ll know and it’s because of that that she’s a true hero and a true Amazon.
- Leigh Bardugo gets a million bonus cool points for all of the Greek history and mythology she used in this book. It made this history nerd very happy.
- Diana was never really referred to as Wonder Woman but I’m willing to overlook that.
THE BOTTOM LINE
- Wonder Woman: Warbringer is a fantastic new take on a beloved superhero that was beautifully written and greatly reflected today’s world, specifically in regards to representation which is something that YA is heavily lacking. It also inspires girls to be strong and to be heroes, and that they can do anything a male hero can do. But most of all, this book gave new meaning on what it is to be a hero and showed that even by just being a friend you can be someone’s hero.
BONUS: how this book made me feel in a GIF
ABOUT THE BOOK
Title: Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons #1)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Release Date: August 29, 2017
Pages: 384 (Hardcover)
Until next time,
What did you think of the book? Leave a comment below!