Friday, September 22, 2017

Friday #Review - Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo #YALit #Fantasy

Series: DC Icons # 1
Format: Hardcover, 384 pages
Release Date: August 29, 2017
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Source: Library
Genre: Young Adult \ Superheroes

The highly anticipated, entirely new coming-of-age story for the world’s greatest super hero: WONDER WOMAN by the # 1 New York Times bestselling author LEIGH BARDUGO.

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.

Wonder Woman: Warbringer, by author Leigh Bardugo, is the first installment in the DC Icons series. The book comes on the heels of the mega hit movie Wonder Woman featuring Gal Godot. Bardugo, who is apparently a huge Wonder Woman fan, takes readers to her own world, her own creation, and her own look at 17-year old Princess Diana aka Diana Prince. Let's get some things straight. If you think this book ties into the movie, you'll be disappointed. If you think this book ties into Lynda Carter's version of Wonder Woman, you'd be wrong.

If you think that Bardugo opens the book by having Diana saving a man, you'd be wrong. If you are a diversity reader who would have preferred that Diana have a ship with the female character, you'll be disappointed. If you are looking for a solid story with lots of action, adventure, and friendship grown out of shared experiences, then you'll love this book. 
This book takes place in MODERN times. Meaning not World War I version like the movie. It features a teenaged Diana, not the adult version. A rather large distinction between the movie version. Does that still not make her as likable as the movie version? Nope. This Diana is very interesting, but it's not entirely her story. Capiche?

There's another character who plays at least half as important role in this story as Diana does. Where do you think the Warbringer aspect comes from? Aha! The light has just gone on! The story starts with Diana on the Amazonian Island of Themyscira where she is gearing up to run against her older, more hardened & battle tested sisters. Diana makes a choice to save a human girl from dying after she sees a ship going down off the coast of her island thus breaking all sorts of Amazonian laws which could have her banished forever. Diana soon discovers that her bravery may come with an even bigger cost, not just her banishment. 

It may come with the destruction of her island, and the world itself because of a mixed race girl named Alia who was on a boat when it exploded, and may be the legendary Warbringer after Helen of Troy. After speaking to the Oracle, Diana decides to find the place where Helen of Troy was buried, and in doing so, saving not only her island, but the life of the girl she knows little about but is drawn to helping. From 
Themyscira, Diana and Alia end up NYC where things get really interesting. Along the way, Diana and Alia pick up Jason, Theo and Nima, who is Alia's best friend. In the end, we end up in Southern Greece where the action really kicks into high gear.

Bardugo is all in when it comes to strong female characters, and strong friendships between female characters. In this case, you have not one friendship, but two. Diana and Alia, Alia and Nima who is adorable and the perfect character to bring a bit of balance and laughs to story. The message being sent with this story is that it is OK to embrace the themes of good vs. evil, coming of age, and super heroes from unexpected places who are determined to achieve seemingly impossible dreams.  If you are lucky enough, the first printing actually included a poster of Diana. Since I borrowed this from the library, I can't exactly steal it, can I? 

Story Locale: Amazon Island of Themyscira; Contemporary Greece, and NYC

Series Overview: DC ICONS SERIES: 4 standalone novels each by a bestselling YA author (Each book will include a poster in 1st printing. Collect all four to create the complete DC Icons poster!)

August 2017: Wonder Woman by Leigh Bardugo
January 2018: Batman by Marie Lu
August 2018: Catwoman by Sarah J. Maas
January 2019: Superman by Matt de la Peña

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