What an epic novel.
With the Wonder Woman film being the blockbuster of summer, it seems fitting to end the season with something new about the legendary Amazon princess. As part of a new young adult series of books based on icons from DC Comics, Leigh Bardugo brings us a story of Diana, as a young Amazon princess, and explores themes of friendship and bravery in a way that is completely fitting for this DC Icon with Wonder Woman: Warbringer.
The book’s title itself is one to admire, such an unabashedly bold title feels very indicative of the story you are about to dive into. In Warbringer, we meet Diana as she enters a race in the Amazons’ games. While her mother, the queen of Themyscira, must be impartial to who wins the race, she can’t help but remind her daughter that losing is not an option. But during the race, an explosion happens in the ocean between their home and the World of Man. Seeing someone in need, Diana saves a mortal’s life, knowing that she faces exile by bringing one to shore. The mortal she saves is Alia Karalis, who as a descendant of Helen of Troy, is a Warbringer. Basically, when a Warbringer is born, wars tend to follow. So by saving Alia, who was meant to die in the ship’s explosion, Diana risks the fate of the world. As we all know, Diana is compelled to set things right, but this time with Alia by her side.
One of my favorite parts of Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman are the scenes in Themyscira and the camaraderie between the Amazons. Bardugo beautifully captures the spirit of the fierce Amazons in this novel. If you wished for a little more of them in the movie, Warbringer delivers that to you. Yet, it’s the strong themes of female friendship and the lengths that friends are willing to go for each other that makes this novel something very special. Female friendship isn’t anything necessarily new to YA, but it feels so wholly explored here in its complexity amongst an action-packed backdrop that keeps the pages turning.
After reading this, I couldn’t imagine anyone else writing Diana’s coming of age story better than this. It is fully representative of the Diana we’ve come to know through comics, the TV show and the new film. Bardugo brings her to life with grace and power, but still making her feel young and with a long road ahead in her journey. It’s a story that made me love Wonder Woman even more.
With three other DC Icons getting their YA novelizations soon, Warbringer gives me high hopes that the rest of this series will take on these iconic heroes with a sense of respect for the source material but also embracing new and exciting storytelling on an epic scale. Wonder Woman: Warbringer delivers on all that and more and definitely earns its status as a must-read for 2017.
Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo is now available wherever books are sold.