book review – Wonder Woman: Warbringer

Sisters in battle, I am shield and blade to you. As I breathe, your enemies will know no sanctuary. While I live, your cause is mine.

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Superheroes are getting a fresh YA makeover in the DC Icons series starting with Leigh Bardugo’s Wonder Woman: Warbringer. 

My review in short: asdfj;ljk;llheYYAAAAASS!!

(I just finished it last night, so I’m in that end-of-epic-book high)

In the story, Diana is eager to prove herself as a true Amazon, as brave and heroic as all the other women on Themyscira, but she breaks their laws in order to save Alia from a shipwreck close to the island. Alia is a Warbringer, unknowingly causing war and destruction wherever she goes, and her presence in Themyscira starts to wreak havoc for the Amazons. Diana and Alia set off to the mortal world to save everyone, and end the line of Warbringers for good.

The story has a perfect blend of action, mythology, and humour, but the greatest thing about this book, and the main reason I love it so much, is that the heart of the story comes from strong female friendships. Women supporting women, lifting each other up, genuinely liking each other, can I get a hallelujah?!

And also women just generally being strong and amazing

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

There is a refreshingly diverse group of main characters, and I love how Bardugo always fleshes out each and every character. No one is there just for the sake of it, or just to be the side kick or comic relief, and Bardugo creates strong, realistic dynamics between her characters.

I especially loved the unapologetic Nim. If there’s a Nim out there in real life, I want to be your best friend.

I was happy that romance wasn’t a huge part of the story, honestly I could have done without the little that there was; I feel like it didn’t add much to the story, although it did lead to a pretty amazing, badass, bit of dialogue that I won’t get into cause of spoilers.

There are a lot of humorous moments as Diana struggles to navigate around the human world, odd male behaviour, and modern slang. But seeing her fresh perspective of humans in general is very warm and uplifting. She is the superhero, the strongest, the most beautiful, immortal, and so on, but she sees heroes in the humans around her, and a new kind of strength.

Human courage was different from Amazon bravery. She saw that now. For all the suspicion and derision she’d heard from her mother and her sisters about the mortal world, Diana couldn’t help but admire the people with whom she traveled. Their lives were violent, precarious, fragile, but they fought for them anyway, and held to the hope that their brief stay on this earth might count for something. That faith was worth preserving.

This book was fun to read, feminist AF, and left me with a strong, desperate desire to be descended from a long line of mythological legends causing death and destruction across the world, just on the off-chance I might meet Diana and become her friend or be heroically killed by her if we’re too late to save the world (just seems like a good way to go). Which means it was great!

I definitely think Bardugo has done Wonder Woman justice (pun intended).

We cannot spend our lives in hiding, wondering what we might accomplish if given the chance. We have to take that chance ourselves.

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