I’ll be honest with you–I was afraid I wouldn’t like this book because I’m too familiar with Leigh writing the Grishaverse. While I love Wonder Woman and Leigh herself, I wasn’t sure how to bring the two together. Well, I’m happy to report that I really enjoyed this book! More than I thought I would actually, but I’m almost not too surprised because… Well, it’s Leigh! She’s a great storyteller!
Title: Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons #1)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Random House Children’s Books
Release date: August 28, 2017
Genre: Young adult, contemporary, fantasy
Length: 364 pages (hardcover)
Synopsis: (via Goodreads) “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.
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.”
Oh, this was a delicious plot, completely unexpected and made me gasp out loud while listening to the audiobook. I definitely enjoyed all the elements of the story, and I love what Leigh does with the lore of Wonder Woman, but also of the varying woman warriors on the island. I love how she weaved these women’s stories into the lives of both Diana and Alia. Typical me who sucks at guessing plots and what’s going to happen next was caught off guard by the events of the latter 1/4 of the book. I was rooting for this character, too, and really enjoyed the dynamic of their relationship with the main characters but alas! Foiled again! When I finished the book, I knew I wouldn’t mind more of this world if it were written by Leigh. She does the story justice, and she creates such wonderful, real, and diverse characters.
Another confession: I know very little about Wonder Woman lore outside of the recent movie with Gal Gadot. I can’t imagine the amount of research that went into writing a full-blown book about WW, so cheers all around to Leigh!
Speaking of characters, I really did love them all (well, except one and if you’ve read the book, you know who)! I loved the tentative yet growing friendship between Diana and Alia, and how they really came to rely on each other as women and as friends. I loved Theo and Nim, too, their banter and their friendship with Alia and Jason, too. Jason, too, was fun though at times he came off as a little overbearing (for some good reasons) in his protection of Alia. I loved the dynamic of all these characters and how real they all are. Leigh isn’t afraid to face the issues of prejudice and racism these characters feel, which is something Diana has never seen face-to-face before.
I’ve said it before (maybe not on the blog) and I’ll say it again, Leigh’s writing style matures with each book she writes. (I noticed the difference when I started reading Six of Crows.) Of course, Wonder Woman was no different. She creates a story out of nothing and writes it well enough that you’re a little sad when it ends.
You can check out other reviews here:
- Alyssa over at The Eater of Books gave this book 4 stars.
- Tshepiso at Superkitty21 Books wanted to DNF the book and felt a bit “meh” about it.
- Jananee filmed a book review over on her BookTube channel, Head in Her Books!