Review: Wonder Woman: Warbringer

“I am done being careful. I am done being quiet. Let them see me angry. Let them hear me wail at the top of my lungs.”

Title: Wonder Woman: Warbringer
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Published: August 29, 2017
Genre: Young adult fantasy
My rating: 3.5/5 stars

Synopsis:

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.

Together.

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.

I need to preface this review by saying that: 1) This is my second Leigh Bardugo book, the first being Shadow and Bone, of which I didn’t particularly sing hymns of praise and 2) I don’t know a lot about Wonder Woman apart from seeing her in Justice League cartoons as a kid and then seeing the recent movie. So I went into this book without the high expectations of a huge fan. Okay, moving along.

I do have to say that with Shadow and Bone being my only point of reference, I was pleasantly surprised by this one. The writing is top-shelf, and dare I say Leigh Bardugo has matured significantly in the craft of writing since the Grisha trilogy. The prose was tight and there is just the right amount of description without lingering too long on anything. I really got a great visual of the setting and characters without feeling bogged down.

We are given a cast of such strong and unique diverse characters where feminism is song sung between them. The biggest success in my opinion is how feminism is not presented as “in how many ways can the female characters best the male characters” but rather “women who recognize each other intersectionally and lift each other up completely.” The friendships between the female characters really made this book shine and everyone should give a collective sigh of relief to read a story of supportive female friendships and not one of waging petty wars over boys and popularity.

As much as I loved certain aspects of the book, it felt like a very toned down superhero story arc. I would have loved to see less chatter and more action. Pages of funny banter would go by and I wouldn’t know what the characters are doing while they talk. The dialogue was entertaining but it was almost too light-hearted and undermined any desperation of the situation the characters found themselves in. The plot was also quite simplistic with few surprises. The lack of intense plot-driven action and abundance of childish dialogue made it feel kind of Saturday morning cartoony, rather than like the epic blockbusters we are used to seeing at the cinema.

I’m happy to say that I enjoyed this book overall even if it lacks a certain punch.

Have you had the chance to read this book yet? I would love to hear what you thought about it!

-Kath


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