Title: Wonder Woman. Warbringer
Series: DC Icons #1
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Genre: YA Fantasy, Superheroes
Blurb from Goodreads
Daughter of immortals.
Princess 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 mortal. Diana will soon learn that she has rescued no ordinary girl, and that with this single brave act, she may have doomed the world.
Daughter of death.
Alia Keralis just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted by people who think her very existence could spark a world war. 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.
Two girls will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. Tested beyond the bounds of their abilities, Diana and Alia must find a way to unleash hidden strengths and forge an unlikely alliance. Because if they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.
What a waste of my time. Wonder Woman Warbringer was a complete and utter joke.
Here we go with a rant rather than a review because face it, rants are more fun!
Also mild spoilers ahead!!! You have been warned.
I’m embarrassed for Bardugo that she put her name to this. It’s the very definition of prosaic. The dialogue is awkward and clunky with forced humour and cheap jokes. The plot has no flowing narrative. Instead it reads like a ham-fisted amalgamation of scenes from every clichéd 80s action film you’ve ever seen. Complete with superfluous characters who are merely inserted into scenes to die. You know, to give the illusion of peril but without the fear of any of the main characters dying.
The characters are utterly bland.
Diana. Wonder Woman herself: Where was the inner conflict about stepping up to the plate as a powerful superhero? Where was the confusion / bewilderment / loss of innocence / wonder / joy etc etc at being let loose from her home island away from under her mother’s thumb? Where was her chemistry with any other character? She was a vanilla automaton who didn’t even take centre stage in her own origin novel.
Her new friend. Alia: Aka generic feisty bestie whose life is in peril because we need a catalyst for Diana’s story BUT whose story overtakes the entire plot of the book eliminating all chance of a character arc, any sort of personal growth etc etc for Diana. Also she must come with a side of cheesy teen love story for some cute-nerdy boy aka one of the extras in the band of friends who come together to help save her life. Yes I’ve already forgotten the names of the “extras” who were supposed to be cute-nerdy (boy) and sassy-independent (girl).
But back to Alia. Why do we give a flying shish-kebab about her story??? Why?????
It does nothing but take the spotlight away from the coming of age aspect of Diana’s Wonder Woman story.
In fact THERE IS NO BLIMMIN COMING OF AGE ASPECT!!!!
And the whole Greek mythological history to Alia’s blood was initially one of the first things I liked about this book. Sorry. ONLY thing I liked about this book but then it grew more tiresome because it ultimately detracted from the uniqueness of Diana and her Amazonian background.
See this book might have worked a little better if it wasn’t Diana’s first foray into the spotlight as a superhero.
If this was maybe book 2 or 3 in a series that had already dealt with her origin story, and any issues arising due to her in/acceptance of her power and responsibilities towards protecting mortals then I could see how a plot like the one in this novel would work. In that situation it would’ve been acceptable to bring all the other Greek mythological *baddies* into the mix because Diana already would have been clearly defined as a character. Her personality would have a stronger on-the-page presence, and therefore the spotlight on those she needed to defend and to protect against would have been the automatic primary focus of those books.
But again. I repeat.
THIS IS AN ORIGIN STORY.
ORIGIN definition: The point or place where something begins.
So therefore LET’S PUT THE FOCUS ON THAT BEGINNING FOR WONDER WOMAN!!!!
And quit with this alternate perspective malarkey that Bardugo subjected us to.
Instead of developing an identifying inner voice for either Diana or Alia we got two simpering narratives instead that were practically identical to each other and therefore added to the overall limpness of their personalities.
Either choose to use Diana’s voice and let us hear her inner turmoils and struggles with how she’s coping in the human world for the first time.
Choose to use Alia’s perspective as a lens with which to view Diana’s coming of age and personal growth into the fully fledged superhero we all know and love.
Jason. Alia’s brother: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA no. Zero chemistry with Diana so that relationship always felt entirely forced and fake, and therefore entirely obvious that it was purely a lazy plot device attempting to blindside the reader. Which it didn’t as there were zero surprises with his character arc.
Wonder Woman Warbringer was an utter waste of my time.
It wasn’t even that amusing to trash or be considered as a hate read for when you want to vent your own frustrations at some frivolous piece of fluff fiction. Nope, this was simply too cringeworthy and too depressingly clichéd. It just read like a bazillion other books or felt like the plot of a bazillion films. There was nothing about this to make it stand out from the crowd of what has been written or indeed filmed before about Diana Prince aka Wonder Woman.
Other Books from the DC Icons Series I’ve Reviewed
- Batman: Nightwalker (Marie Lu)