Book Review | Wonder Woman: Warbringer

DC Entertainment and Warner Bros teamed-up with Random House for the publication of DC Icons, a series of young adult novels about four of DC’s superheroes: Wonder Woman, Batman, Superman, and Catwoman. The first book in the series is Leigh Bardugo’s take on Wonder Woman and it was released last August.

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Wonder Woman: Warbringer features Diana at the age of 17 as she struggles to prove herself worthy as an Amazon. Diana throws away her chance at glory during a race and breaks sacred rules to save Alia from a shipwreck that happens near the coast of Themyscira. From then, a plague breaks out affecting some Amazons and strong earthquakes follow. Diana consults The Oracle and finds out that Alia has been causing these unfortunate events because Alia carries a curse that could bring the world to ruin. Alia is a Warbringer, a descendant of Helen of Troy who was destined to bring destruction on a catastrophic scale. The Oracle advises Diana to just let Alia die and wait for everything to get back to normal. However, The Oracle also reveals that there is a way to prevent the curse from passing on to another person, and that is for Alia to bathe in the “spring where Helen rests.” Diana, being the risk-taker that she is, chooses the long-term solution, so she takes Alia away from Themyscira to set out for Greece but unfortunately winds up first in modern-day New York. Diana and Alia then undergo a series of misadventures on their quest to literally save the world.

My Review:

I admit I had very little knowledge about Wonder Woman prior to reading this book for I’ve only ever read a few comics about her. I’ve watched the latest Wonder Woman film but it did not really give me more information about this heroine than I already know.  This is why I can attest that one does not have to be a comic book nerd or a DC fan to appreciate this book. Leigh Bardugo supplied enough information for common readers to understand and love Wonder Woman’s side of fictional world.

Stubborn as all girls are stubborn;
reckless as all girls are reckless.

While we’re taken to Diana’s pre-Wonder Woman days, her characteristics do not shy away from the Wonder Woman we always knew. She’s still stubborn and strong-willed, but also noble and compassionate. Her “girl power” actions are scattered all over, superficially fostering women empowerment and feminism.

The plot had touches of the origin story presented in the latest film but it’s unique in its own way. The author exposed Themyscira and the Amazons a little longer while providing a magnificently vivid and detailed visualization of the place and its people.  She has also done a terrific job at crafting the history of the Warbringer, incorporating so much Greek mythology to it and blending it to the modern world. There’s a little touch of romance but it’s nowhere near the Steve-Diana type of romance we witnessed in the movie because it is not the core focus of the story but women empowerment and female friendship. Diana’s unfamiliarity with the world outside Themyscira triggered almost all the funny scenes. It was really amusing to read her reactions.

 Alia waggled her fingers. “Google knows all and sees all.”
“Google,” Diana repeated. “Is Google one of your gods?”

Illustration by Jen Bartel
Illustration by Jen Bartel

What I loved most about this novel, though, is that the characters are incredibly diverse. There are POCs and LGBT supporting characters that added impact and personality to the whole narrative. These characters are not really fighters but they are superheroes in their own ways as each plays an important role in the execution of Diana’s mission. Moreover, they have funny and witty group conversations that have got me smirking most of the time. They’re literally my #SQUADGOALS now.

In the end, the plot took a twist that I never saw coming. It had me gasping to the point of almost throwing my book against the wall. My ship sank but nevertheless I was in awe.

If I were to rate Wonder Woman: Warbringer out of 10, I’d say BADASS/10.  I really cannot think of anything to hate about it. It’s AMAZING and it gives me high hopes for the rest of the books in the DC Icons series.

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