Wonder Woman: Warbringer

She will become a legend, but first she is Diana, Princess of the Amazons. And her fight is just beginning….

Diana is desperate to prove herself to her warrior sisters. But when the opportunity comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law to save a mere mortal, Alia Keralis. With this single heroic act, Diana may have just doomed the world.

Alia is a Warbringer – a descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery. Diana and Alia will face an army of enemies, mortal and divine, determined to destroy or possess the Warbringer.

To save the world, they must stand side by side against the tide of war.

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I picked up Wonder Woman: Warbringer a little while back on the theory that if Bardugo wrote it then it must be good, but despite that, found myself lacking enthusiasm to actually read the thing. What would it be, I asked myself? Would it just be a straight up retelling of the movie? Don’t get me wrong, I liked the movie, but I couldn’t see the point of reading it again in book form. Then I’d wonder, how does a comic book translate into a novel?

Eventually I started actually reading and realised the truth I had known all along: always trust Leigh Bardugo. She knows exactly what she’s doing.

Wonder Woman: Warbringer in many ways satisfied me in all of the areas that the movie didn’t. Far from being a rehash of the plot I was already familiar with, Bardugo took the story in a completely different direction. While there were some similarities between the two, where the movie leaned towards romance and the only girl in the gang thing (after the first fifteen minutes of the Wonder Woman movie, Diana didn’t spend a lot of time with other women, and I never saw Justice League but it looked much the same) – Warbringer was an ode to female friendship and power in various forms.

Diana has spent her whole life feeling like an outsider. Born of the earth of Themyscira, a kind of heaven for women killed in war, she is the only Amazon not to have earned her place there through battle – and death. Her mother, Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, hopes that Diana will one day take over her rule, but a question mark hangs over whether she’ll ever be ready. Or worthy. Diana has never known battle or sacrifice. She isn’t as strong as her fellow Amazons.

None of them will let her forget it.

So yeah, Diana is a woman with something to prove. Problem is, when you live in what is essentially heaven there aren’t a whole lot of battles to fight, so she’s stuck desperate to prove herself but unsure how to do it, until one day fate intervenes, and Alia Keralis’ ship explodes right as it passes Themyscira.

Alia has also spent much of her life feeling like an outsider. After her parents were killed in a car accident a few years ago she was separated from her peers by her grief, and then her overprotective older brother, Jason, who became convinced that someone was trying to assassinate them both. She’s one of only a few brown girls in an overwhelmingly white school of kids who won’t stop asking her if she’s a scholarship student. And she’s kind of the embodiment of the apocalypse, which causes people to literally start beating the shit out of each other simply because she’s nearby. She’s the Warbringer, which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like.

Both Diana and Alia were strong in different ways, and watching them go on their journey and develop separately and together made me so damn happy. It’s rare we get to see super-powered woman hanging with their female friends. Yes, Jessica Jones changed things up a bit, but The Defenders took things right back to the status quo. I get the feeling that often creators don’t know how to integrate the ‘super’ element with the ‘is a woman’ element and so balance out her superness by surrounding her with masculine energy. Seeing an alternative, the friendship of two burgeoning badasses made this such a joyful read for me.

Wonder Woman: Warbringer is a pacey adventure and coming of age tale about strong women fighting for what is right and the evil that might be lurking in those closest to you. It’s a super fun read and a worthy edition to the evolving canon of Bardugo. I’m glad I finally got around to reading it.

Author: Lydia Tewkesbury

27. Loves a good story.

18 thoughts on “Wonder Woman: Warbringer”

  1. I’m glad you enjoyed this one so much despite having doubts at first! I love your motto: always trust Leigh Bardugo. And ain’t it the truth, though? I loved her Grisha series and found The Language of Thorns super nice as well, although I wasn’t a fan of all the stories in it. But still, one cannot the deny the woman’s talent.
    It’s nice that she took a completely different direction and made the story her own, from her own unique perspective. Both Diana and Alia sound amazing and it’s great to see female friendship and bonding taking center stage. You’re right, it doesn’t happen often, especially in big blockbusters.
    I loved the movie and hope I will love the book too. Wonderful review, Lydia! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have heard only good reviews about the book but I haven’t had the chance to read it yet.

    On a side note, am I the only one who thinks that WW’s outfit is ugly? 😂

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    1. It’s definitely worth it when you have the time. I recommend it as a refresher book after you’ve read something super heavy.

      The outfit is very problematic for me too! Aside from anything, it just seems so impractical for war. I know she’s basically bullet proof, but still.

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  3. Honestly, after reading Six of Crows, I thought the same about Bardugo. Anything she writes would probably be hella impressive. I have a copy of this book waiting after me and I’m definitely excited to see what she did with one of the most popular superhero of all time. Glad to hear this was different from the movie and still pretty enjoyable! Great review again! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Yeah I am a Bardugo fangirl for life at this point. I hope you like the book! She takes it in such a fun direction – and honestly, it was kind of a relief to read a super hero story that didn’t have romance at the centre of it for once.

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  4. I totally read Wonder Woman because Leigh Bardugo wrote it, to… but I also didn’t feel that instinctual pull to read the book. In the end, I only read it because my book club was reading it, and I ended up being disappointed because I kept trying to compare it to the Six of Crows duology (bad choice, considering that SoC is really a YA masterpiece 😊). I did love the portrayal of friendship in the story too! Thankfully it didn’t follow the cliche plot of romance present in what seems like every superhero movies these days, and I appreciated Leigh Bardugo for doing that. Great review! 😋

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