December 7, 2017

Review: Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons #1) by Leigh Bardugo

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.

Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons #1)
by Leigh Bardugo
Publication Date:  August 28, 2017
Publisher:  Random House Children’s Books

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If there’s one author whose work I love, love, love, it’s Leigh Bardugo’s. Everything she’s written is just beyond exceptional—and I’ve never been able to pass up the opportunity to pick up something that Bardugo’s crafted. Now, when it comes to Wonder Woman: Warbringer (which, for the purposes of this review, will only be referenced to as Warbringer), I was absolutely dying to experience Bardugo’s take on everyone’s favorite Amazonian princess.

                As a long-time DC comics fan, this new DC Icons series is something that’s really grasped my attention. From what I can tell, the entire series is filled with big-name YA authors offering new insight into the young adult days of big-name DC heroes. I remember the days when I used to write superhero fanfiction on Wattpad and, so needless to say, these authors are clearly living thirteen-year-old me’s dream.

Wonder Woman is a character who I’ve always held close to my heart, and the recent release of the Wonder Woman movie that came out earlier in 2017 has brought her to the forefront of public perception. The Wonder Woman film was one that inspired women everywhere, and bearing this in mind, I was absolutely positive that Warbringer would offer that same type of experience.

The one thing that I can say about Warbringer is that, without a doubt, Bardugo’s writing is still as beautiful as ever. There were still passages that left me breathless, and there were scenes filled with raw emotion. I think what Warbringer excelled in was showing the full extent of Bardugo’s capabilities when it comes to a novel filled with action outside of her Grishaverse. All of the fight scenes in Warbringer felt genuine and real, and when you have a young Diana Prince battling monsters and men alike, what more could be expected?

I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Themyscira and the Amazonian culture, and in that regard, I felt like the world-building was very well-done. My one wish was that we could have experienced more on Themyscira before jetting (or maybe, rafting?) off to the modern world of man. There was so much potential to learn more about Diana and the Amazons, and it’s too bad we couldn’t see more of those badass, battle-born women.

The entire Warbringer plotline was entertaining, though I did often question the actions and choices made by the cast of characters. As readers are introduced to Alia, the Warbringer and descendant of Helen of Troy, they are also introduced to her friends and family (I.e. the additional secondary characters) in the form of Jason, Nim, and Theo. Something I noticed this time around was that a lot of these secondary characters fell flat and weren’t the well-rounded, realistic characters a lot of Bardugo’s readers have come to anticipate and expected. Come the end of the novel, it was difficult for me to say that anyone outside Alia and Diana had changed for the better—but maybe that’s just me?

My only true complaints with Warbringer come in the form of needless banter every-other moment in the dialogue, and the fact that Diana didn’t empower me in the way I’m used to from her character. For any readers expecting the Diana we know from comic storylines like Wonder Woman: The Hiketia or from the Wonder Woman film, you may be in for the same surprise I had. Warbringer is a novel laden with constant remarks to Diana’s physical appearance, as well as men refusing to view her as their equal despite the countless times she saves their asses.

All in all, I would recommend Warbringer to any DC comics fans. Any readers who are just settling in to YA might also enjoy this novel, as well as any readers who are looking for a quick, action-packed read with some plot twists attached. Happy reading!


[about-author author=”Leigh Bardugo”]



1 Comment

  1. Carmen

    I actually loved the book, I thought the friendship between Diana and Alia was awesome. At some point, I thought that the plot was too convenient, but I still highly enjoyed it.

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