Genre: Fantasy Age Range: YA Star Rating: 4/5 Series: Yes - 1st DC icon (each book is a different superhero)
Diana is Princess of the Amazons. Unlike the other Amazons on Themyscira, she’s isn’t battle-tested – she didn’t die in battle, selected by a goddesses for her bravery and skill to have a second-life, a second chance to save the world. All she’s known is the safety and tranquillity of Themyscira. And though she’s trained all her life, it isn’t the same as war.
When she saves mortal Alia, Diana must choose between letting Alia die or sending her back to the mortal realm. But Alia is a Warbringer – a descendant of Helen of Troy who heralds major conflict. Together, Diana and Alia must seek an end to the Warbringer curse but forces, both mortal and divine, seek Alia. Some want to kill her, but others want to capture the Warbringer and control the tides of war.
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Before WARBRINGER, my only exposure to Wonder Woman had been the DC movie – which I enjoyed. I largely picked this up because I love the Grishaverse, and wanted more of Leigh Bardugo’s writing in the wait for KING OF SCARS.
I was not disappointed.
The book is fast-paced and adrenaline-filled, even though the action scenes are spaced out. This is only on reflection that I realise how few ‘set-pieces’ there are. The relative lack of action like you’d see in a typical superhero movie is great – the book really dives into the characters. Their journeys are well-crafted and explored.
Diana is charmingly naive in our world – which is often very funny. She starts off very unsure about her place and whether she should be an Amazon, and her uncertainty is heightened initially in the mortal realm. Her journey doesn’t feel forced.
However, Alia was my favourite – closely followed by Nim. I was laughing a lot during Alia’s chapters – particularly her reactions/opinions about Diana initially. She’s also more relateable as she isn’t a super-fighter/supermodel. She’s afraid and geeky and unsure.
Jason is an interesting character. I really liked him, and the way he was portrayed. I kept thinking I had him worked out, but he was so much more complex than I initially thought. Nim is the sort of best friend we all wish for, and very nuanced for a secondary character. Theo’s the techie, who’s great moral support.
I was so glad when Nim and Theo came along for the ride. When they were initially introduced, I thought it was simply to show Alia’s life and show that she couldn’t just die and solve all the problems. But when they joined the ‘quest’, in a very natural way, I was so pleased. the dynamic between the five (Diana, Alia, Jason, Nim and Theo) was brilliant
The love focus in the book is very much platonic. There are a few romantic scenes, but they are very few and far between. Instead Diana and Alia’s relationship takes centre stage, followed by Alia and Nim’s. It is so wonderful to see healthy and well-rounded female relationships take centre-stage. The boys and any romance take back seat (the two seats crammed in the boot of a seven-seater).
I love the final twist. I knew something was going to happened but my guess for what was so very wrong.
Biggest criticism? It’s very small. Both this book and the movie start of Themyscira with Diana saving a mortal and then going to the mortal world, so the beginning felt a little same-y but this book is set in our time – and New York and Greece. Once they get off Themyscira any resemblance to the movie is gone. I certainly enjoyed the mortal world bit more because I wasn’t comparing it to the movie.
This is a wonderful start to the DC icons books. I’m really hoping they’re sucessfull enough that they make more books because I would love more books about Diana as her journey isn’t over.
Read my reviews of other books by Leigh Bardugo
For Young Adult:
- SHADOW AND BONE (Shadow and Bone #1, GrishaVerse #1)
- SIEGE AND STORM (Shadow and Bone #2, GrishaVerse #2)
- RUIN AND RISING (Shadow and Bone #3, GrishaVerse #3)
- SIX OF CROWS (Six of Crows #1, GrishaVerse #4)
- CROOKED KINGDOM (Six of Crows #2, GrishaVerse #5)
- KING OF SCARS (Nikolai #1, GrishaVerse #6)
- NINTH HOUSE (#1)
Other DC Icons Books:
- BATMAN: NIGHTWALKER, by Marie Lu (#2)
- CATWOMAN: SOULSTEALER, by Sarah J. Maas (#3)
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