Published by Random House Children's Books on August 29th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
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She will become one of the world's greatest heroes: WONDER WOMAN. But first she is Diana, Princess of the Amazons. And her fight is just beginning. . . . 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 mere mortal. Even worse, Alia Keralis is no ordinary girl and with this single brave act, Diana may have doomed the world. Alia just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn't know she is being hunted. 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. Together, Diana and Alia will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. If they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.
“Sister in battle,” murmured Diana, “I am shield and blade to you.”
“And always your friend.”
Wonder Woman has gotten quite the makeover this year and I must confess: I really like it. From the movie with Gal Gadot, to this wicked little tale of female empowerment, one of my least favourite superheroes is rapidly becoming a new favourite. And apparently Catwoman, Superman and Batmanare also being remade by popular YA authors. After this, I’m excited for more.
You know, at first, I was a touch disappointed that Bardugo didn’t take this opportunity to have a gay romance for Wonder Woman. When she opened Diana’s story by swapping out the arrival of army captain, Steve Trevor, for a Greek/African-American girl called Alia, I was secretly shipping them. And yet, I soon realized that Bardugo was doing something perhaps even more important– showing the power of female friendships above all else.
I expected certain things from this book – action, death, drama, Greek mythology, a hint of romance – and I definitely got them, but I was surprised by several things. I was surprised by the strength of the characters and their relationships, and how well the author used dialogue to create warm, funny and touching dynamics between them. I was surprised that it was, at times, a funny book. And I was surprised by how much emotion Bardugo packed into it.
In this Wonder Woman story, Alia is on board a ship near the island where Diana and her Amazonian sisters live when a bomb detonates. Diana pulls her from the ship, but soon discovers her act of bravery may lead to disaster for both the human world and the Amazons. Alia is a Warbringer, and she unwittingly brings death and war wherever she goes.
Determined to save the world and Alia, Diana sets out to find the last resting place of Helen of Troy, and hopefully put an end to Alia’s destiny. They move from Themyscira to New York City to Southern Greece, joined by Alia’s brother and their friends, Nim and Theo, along the way. Girls sticking up for one another is a major theme, as is friendship in general.
It was also very refreshing to see an almost entirely non-white/European cast of central characters. Aside from the white Diana, Alia and her brother are Greek/African-American and identify as black, Theo is Brazilian, and Nim is Indian, gay, fat and so very fucking awesome.
What I thought was an interesting choice that somehow worked is that the author kind of makes this Wonder Woman story as much about the other characters as it is about Diana Prince. With superhero stories, I almost always feel like every other character exists in relation to the superhero, revolving around them and having no real individuality. But that’s just not the case here. Each character is important and memorable. I cared about Diana Prince in this book, sure, but I cared about the others just as much.
The ending closes this chapter but leaves us with the suggestion that there could be more Wonder Woman books in the future. I can only hope there is.