I have to admit, at first I was skeptical on this one. I knew it was a YA novel with teenage characters and so, going in, I thought it was going to be painfully teenagery. I’d never read a Leigh Bardugo novel so I had no idea what to expect. I was more than pleasantly surprised! The story was such a creative one filled with Greek lore. I loved it!
The story starts on Themyscira with Wonder Woman when she’s sixteen. Like in the movies when they flashback to her younger she is grappling with wanting to be like her Amazon sisters in strength but just not quite being there yet. This story took it a little further and gave her the struggle of not being born as the others either. I loved the idea that Amazons are human woman who died gloriously in battle, given second life and immortality as an Amazon on the island. That’s so imaginative! But Diana was never human. She was made of clay and her life was breathed into her by Zeus. She is not like the others, and I think that’s a feeling we can all relate to, teenager or not. A ship blows up near the island’s shores and Diana ends up saving a young teenage girl. Because the girl is African-American the issue of race and injustice is introduced, which is extremely prevalent right now so it fit well. The fact that the two main characters, Alia and Diana, could relate to each other on this level of feeling like outsiders in their own race helped to bond them too. To make a long story short, Diana leaves the island and takes Alia back home after finding out she is a Warbringer, a descendent of Helen of Troy meant to cause chaos and destruction. Typically, a Warbringer has to be killed before their 17th birthday to stop the bloodshed, but Diana has discovered there’s a way to cure Alia of it and end the line forever. Of course, being the savior she is, she chooses that option. She travels to the human world and fights to get Alia to Greece to bathe in the spring that will wash her clean of her Warbringer genes. That’s the summary of the story.
What I really loved about this story was the attention to Greek mythology detail and the research that had to have gone into it to make it what it is. I’m Greek (not from Greece, but my grandparents were) so I have always been fascinated with their mythology. Bardugo really brought that to life in a new way with Warbringer. I also loved that it was a new and different chapter to Wonder Woman’s story. We all know of when she’s older and how she comes to America, the land of humans, from her island and fights for justice, but the author did a great job of placing this as her real first time outside her island and making it fit with the rest of Wonder Woman’s story. At first I wasn’t sure if she represented Diana correctly, but as the story went on I saw how Diana grew into the Wonder Woman we all know and love today. The story was action-packed and had many surprising moments that I just didn’t see coming. I read through this one quickly because I couldn’t stop! It’s made me want to continue through the rest of the DC books in this series when I had no plans to read any more of them before. I highly recommend this one!
As for being my first Leigh Bardugo story, I will definitely be reading more of hers. I really love her writing style and how she is so creative in her descriptions and analogies and metaphors. It flowed well, the dialogue felt natural. I’m going to be looking into her others books to pick one up soon.