WONDER WOMAN: WARBRINGER
by Leigh Barduga
There is no hiding that I’m a Wonder Woman fan and have been since I first glimpsed reruns of Linda Carter’s kick-assery one fateful evening and then had to run out and find my first comic featuring the Amazonian icon. She’s one of my favorite super heroes, and her newfound popularity is making me happy.
When I saw that Leigh Bardugo, a fantasy author I’ve enjoyed reading before, was penning the first DC Icons book, I got quite excited. This had a recipe for greatness written all over it.
My overall impression of the book is that of a good book, it was entertaining, it was heartfelt at times, but I was blown away. Barduga did a lot of things with this book that were great, but the impact on me as a reader wasn’t blown away, which is where I wanted to be. And it’s probably because Barduga was within a restricted storyline, of the already established Wonder Woman world, and couldn’t wiggle as much as she wanted. So, in that regard, this is a good book. Fans of Wonder Woman will love it. Fans of Leigh Barduga that aren’t really fans of Wonder Woman, or are familiar with the Amazon, might get something a lot different than what they are used to with Barduga’s usually creative fantasy explosion.
Now let’s break it down.
The book starts out with Diana on her island. Much like the movie starts out. She rescues a girl, Alia, instead of a man, and to save the world, Diana must take Alia to Greece and perform a ritual. It’s a lot more complicated than that, but I’m not going to regurgitate the plot.
What Barduga brings into the story line is a very diverse cast. Alia is half Greek and half New Orleans creole (African American). Alia’s cast of friends are all diverse, Indian, Brazilian. I liked this diversity within the storyline, but there were a lot of references to it. It seemed to define Alia because she was constantly referencing that in some way her skin color, that she was marginalized by her skin color, that she went to a school where she treated differently as a POC etc. Everything seemed to be about her skin color. Again, great that the storyline had mostly POCs as their main characters because they were main characters – Diana was one of many characters. But, the constant reference to it, whereas not the action of it, was repetitive.
That being said, the characters were well-done, multi-dimensional, and I liked that Barduga put the focus on a platonic friendship between girls, instead of a male character for Diana to “fall in love with.” There was romance hints, but this is not a romantic story in-the-least. The females stole the show on this one, which is where I liked it. The character of Nim, who is described as a short, fat, gay, fashionista, with India heritage, was a kick. She did play the stereotypical comedic side-kick, which I don’t always like seeing for an LGBT character…but it did work. And again another diverse box checked, if she would have been transgender it would had filled the card. Please don’t take this as me trivializing this, I do think we need more diversity in books and I loved these characters and how they integrated within the story. But, to have diversity does it have to be so in your face?
That issue and some of the fight scenes were the only problems I had with the book – and the reason it’s a 4-star and not a 5, making the book good, but not a perfect read. On the fight scenes I’m being picky, Diana was being held down by sniper fire and is frozen in place for the “bad guy” to make his appearance, but when the fight erupts between foot soldiers, the snipers are no longer an issue. That sort of thing. It popped me out of the story, the only reason I’m mentioning it. There were a few scenes like this that had me scratching my head. But, this book is not about fight scenes, even though Wonder Woman is ass-kickery perfection. The focus is on friendship, and sacrifice, and doing the right thing. That mixed with a touch of humor, some Greek mythology, great dialogue, and coming of age introspection…made for a really good read.
Narration by Mozhan Marno was on point. I couldn’t stop listening. If you are looking for a good action-packed YA novel, you will not be disappointed.
Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons, #1) by Leigh BardugoSeries: DC Icons #1
Narrator: Mozhan Marno
Published by Random House Books for Young Readers on August 29th 2017
Genres: YA Fantasy
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.
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