As promised, my first book review of 2018 is on Wonder Woman: Warbringer.
I confess, Wonder Woman was never my favourite superhero. A little part of me died every time I saw that skimpy little leotard costume, and an even bigger part of me died when I realised that she’s the most iconic lady superhero out there. She’s, like, peak lady superhero. Great, the Ultimate Female Superhero™ is a pretty lady in a spangled strapless leotard. Yipee. I’m going to go watch Éowyn stab the Witch-king of Angmar in the face until I feel better.
Then the 2017 movie came out and I watched Wonder Woman be all like
AND I FELL IN LOVE FOREVER AND EVER.
I had also, I confess, never read anything by Leigh Bardugo even though everyone and their geriatric hamster says she’s great. Six of Crows has been on my TBR since summer 2016, and though I’ve managed to get my mitts on a copy, it’s still unread. Every time I look at my bookshelf, it shames me.
Anyways, the short and short of it is this: I didn’t like Wonder Woman until Gal Godot turned up and started flipping tanks in the name of justice. I hadn’t read any Leigh Bardugo but wanted to because I have it on good authority that her books are the bomb.com. And then, one fateful day, I saw a copy of Wonder Woman: Warbringer sitting on the library shelf where any fool could take it.
THIS FOOL TOOK IT AND DEVOURED IT LIKE H*CKING CHYBRIDES.
What Warbringer is about:
Young Princess Diana wants to prove herself to her Amazon sisters, but she instead winds up breaking Amazon law—and possibly dooming the world—when she rescues a mortal, Alia Keralis. Disaster seems to follow Alia everywhere she goes, and with good reason: she is a Warbringer, a direct descendant of Helen of Troy whose mere presence drives people to fight each other. As Alia’s power grows stronger, she poses a greater and greater threat to the world.
Diana believes she can help Alia break the Warbringer curse, but in order to do so, they’ll have to journey halfway around the world and defeat entire armies. Only by standing together will they be able to avoid plunging the world into war.
My thoughts on Warbringer:
Where to begin.
This book was just plain well-constructed. It has a solid plot, solid writing, solid characters, and a solid 157 pages of Wonder Woman beating the stuffing out of the bad guys. When you read a Leigh Bardugo book you are in h*cking good hands. The only weak point that I could find was that some of the jokes felt forced. The characters were just so wild sometimes, so out-there and ridiculous, that it kind of broke my suspension of disbelief.
(but that’s nitpicking so, you know.)
The cast was definitely the high point. The book’s emphasis is 1000% on the power of female friendships, and Diana, Alia, and Nim are the literal embodiment of supportive. I did feel that Theo got the shorter end of the stick—his character didn’t seem to develop as much compared to the female half of the squad—but again, that’s nitpicking. He got less development, but he was so very far from underdeveloped. Also, that bit near the end with the letter? I melted. Maybe Theo didn’t get as much love or screen time, but when he was put in the spotlight, he shone.
The setting was really cool as well. Imagine if Percy Jackson got suuuuper dark. And not, like, “If you think about what’s actually happening it’s actually pretty dark” dark. Actually, seriously dark—with way more guns and deaths and people just really not being okay. I like to think that this is the sort of stuff that Percy and Annabeth grow into as they age.
(actually, no, i don’t like to think that. i want them to stay babies forever.)
However, hands-down, my favourite part was…a part that is a massive spoiler but I’m still gonna talk about it. This is why I wanted to wait to review this book. I CANNOT talk about Wonder Woman: Warbringer without talking about this one very specific, very spoilery thing. If you don’t want things spoiled, just skip to the end. And please…ignore the GIFs along the way.
You’re still here? Yay! Okay, here we go:
Hands-down, my favorite part of this book was finding out that Jason was the bad guy. I DID NOT LIKE HIM. He struck me as controlling, condescending, and pretentious and I did. Not. Like him.
So when he started getting more screen time—heartfelt conversations, a kiss with Diana—there was a fair amount of throwing of books and gnashing of teeth on my end. After years and years of watching YA heroines fall for handsome but ultimately jerky jerk-faced jerks, I was not prepared to try to care about another jerk.
BUT BOY OH BOY DID LEIGH BARDUGO FOOL ME.
It turned out that I was right about Jason all along. Jason is the worst. Jason is terribad. Jason deserves to be locked in a concrete bunker and forced to eat plain Spam for the rest of his dumb life. JASON SUCKS.
And not only was I not forced to care about a hot but insufferable male character, but I got to watch Diana beat the ever-loving mac and cheese right out of him before they exchanged what is possibly the greatest pair of sentences ever put to page:
“I could have been your first everything” “B*TCH YOU’RE JUST A FOOTNOTE”*
(okay so i’m paraphrasing a bit but you get the idea)
All in all, this book gets a thumbs-up from me. If Jason hadn’t been the bad guy, I’d probably be sitting here saying that this book was a massive disappointment. I’d be saying that it was just as predictable as every other YA action/adventure/romance, and that once again I had been forced to dredge up a charitable thought for a character whom I didn’t like.
But Jason is the bad guy. And I was genuinely surprised by that twist. This book both surprised and delighted me in the same fell swoop. I may have reserved judgement on this book for 75% of it, but once that plot twist kicked in, I felt free to really love it.
Have you read Wonder Woman: Warbringer? Have you read the new Marie Lu Batman book? What do you think of this new series of YA superhero adaptations? Who’s your favourite superhero?