Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

WW Warbringer

# of Pages: 364

Time it took me to read: 5 days

# of pages a day to finish in a week: 52 pgs

Rating: 5 out of 5


Diana has lived her whole life on the beautiful, isolated island of Themyscira. Her mother, the Queen, and her battle-tested Amazon sisters have always made Diana sure that she has something to prove. What Diana doesn’t know when she pulls a young girl from the wreckage of a sinking ship, is that this girl holds the fate of the world in her very breath. Alia Keralis has been facing the threat of danger her whole life, but what she didn’t know is that it’s because she is the Warbringer, the latest in a long line of descendants of Helen of Troy, the face that launched a thousand ships and brought war to the Greeks and Trojans.

The pair make an unlikely team as they escape from Themyscira and hurry towards Greece, because only at the resting place of Helen can Alia be purified and end the line of Warbringers forever. But the World of Man is unfamiliar to Diana, and though she has sworn to protect Alia, there are enemies hidden all around them: those who would seek to destroy the Warbringer before she comes into her full powers, but also those who would seek to use her powers to thrust the world into a new age of war.

I just have to start by saying that this book was amazing! Like, I’m really not surprised, but I’m also just a little bit surprised. I’m not really into reading books that come from movie franchises. I’m all for the books that I like getting turned into movies, but vice versa? Not so much. Though this book is not a literary retelling of the Wonder Woman movie, don’t be confused (though if you’ve seen the movie and you read the description at the top, you’ll know they’re nothing alike). They are set in the same DC world, but the mythology and timeline of the book and movie are very different. Diana is a fully grown adult in the movie, which takes place during World War I, but in this book she is only 16, and it is the modern day. The reason I’m not a) mad about it, and b) actually really loved that aspect of it, was because I’m not into the DC Comics world at all. I’m a Marvel girl all the way, and even then, just the movies, not the comics. Also, this book delved much further into the Greek mythology aspect of the Amazons and included Helen of Troy and other deities much more than in the film.

The reason I’m not surprised that I loved this book was because it’s Leigh Bardugo, whom, if you read my first Throw Back Thursday mini review, you’ll know I’m absolutely in love with. I’m not surprised she was able to make a world that was totally her own, while remaining true to the Wonder Woman character that we all fell in love with this last year with the release of the film. I’m very impressed that she was able to make something creative and different, because it would have been very easy for her to fall back on the world building and mythology that was established in the movie and the comics, and though I’m sure that she borrowed from both, the world felt more realistic than comic book worlds usually do, even with all of the gods and monsters Bardugo invokes (which is very much her style).

Now, to talk a little bit about characters. I absolutely loved teen Diana, because though she is still the strong, socially inept badass that we know and love from the movie, she is a lot more relatable as a teen, because she hasn’t come into her powers and isn’t as sure of her place in the world, which is something that I’m sure a lot of young readers will identify with. I’m sure of this because I identify with it, and at 23 I’m seven years Diana’s senior in this story.

The other main character in this book is Alia Keralis, the daughter of two of New York’s most famous scientists, and the descendant of Helen of Troy. While it is clear that this girl is much more comfortable buried in books, she still contains the street smarts of a girl who has grown up in New York city. Alia is also black, from her mother’s side, and Bardugo doesn’t shy away with making commentary on race in this story, though she does not fall back on using stereotypes at all which is awesome. Alia seems like a totally realistic teenage girl from the city; self conscious, but also scrappy. Though she is initially disbelieving of the world of mythology that she falls into when she meets Diana, she goes from skeptical to resilient and brave in the face of adversity, which is what we all love in our YA heroines.

Quite possibly my favorite part of this book, however, is the insane plot twist at the end. Like, honestly, I haven’t been this surprised by the climax of a book in probably years. While there are usually little parts of every book that are unpredictable and exciting, I typically finishing the book able to say that I guessed pretty well how it was gonna turn out. But I have never let out a more emphatic “damn, I did NOT see that coming” than I did when I got near the end of this story. I won’t say any more, but seriously, so good. No punches pulled at all with that one.

Anyway, just a few last things before I sign off. The pacing of this book was excellent, I was constantly on my toes, excited for that next page, which I haven’t been for quite some time, so that was very refreshing. The side characters were funny and dynamic, very well written additions to this story. The plot was engaging and fresh, thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish. This book is well-deserving of every one of its five stars.

I’m kind of digging this idea of hiring famous YA writers to retell classic stories. They’ve got a bunch of ones based on Disney movies, of which I’ve only read one, and it was okay, but this one was a win by far. This book definitely proved the Leigh Bardugo is more than capable of escaping her fantasy-dystopia niche.


If you liked Wonder Woman: Warbringer, try: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

AntiGoddess by Kendare Blake

Defy by Sara B. Larson

Siren’s Song by Mary Weber

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