‘Sister in battle, I am shield and blade to you.
While I live, your cause is mine.’
As the Six Of Crows duology and The Grisha Trilogy is and forever will be some of my favourite ever book series, anything Leigh Bardugo writes is an instant buy for me. So, despite the fact that I knew next to nothing about Wonder Woman going into this book, I ended up loving every page of it. Wonder Woman Warbringer is an origin story. It follows Diana as a teenager, living in the Amazon’s homeland of Themyscira, trying to find her place on the island as the only one born of it’s shores. After making the fateful choice of saving a young girl called Alia, who just so happens to be a direct descendent of Helen Of Troy, also known as a Warbringer, Diana and Alia are thrust into an adventure to prevent a war that will stop at nothing to let ruin and bloodshed descend on the world.
Now, I’m not much a fan of action movies and super heroes, so I was very apprehensive going into this book. Although I love Leigh’s other work I was worried this would fall into the predictable, over dramatic action scene fest we normally see in super hero stories, but Leigh wove her magic and found a perfect balance. This book has everything you would expect from a Wonder Woman novel, the strong female lead, badass fight scenes with beautiful Amazons and a good dose of golden lassoes and shield throwing. Through all this know, you could distinctly hear Leigh Bardugo’s voice. Her messages were profound, her writing lyrical and her character interactions both emotional and comedy gold.
‘Diana felt the cold water beyond the boundary engulf her fully. The sea had her now, and it was not friendly. The current seized her legs, dragging her down, a massive, rolling force, the barest shrug of a god.’
‘ Do you know what the Spartans said when the Persians demanded they lay down their arms and surrender?
‘No,’ said Theo. ‘But I bet it was followed by a lot of yelling and a slow-motion fight scene.’
I also have to take a moment to appreciate the diversity within this book. There were African America as well as Indian main characters which was so great to see. Leigh also very sensitively showcased the racial differences and double standards between Diana as white and Alia as black. When Diana enters the mortal world she begins to witness and be explained to by Alia the different ways she is treated for being black. She isn’t first and foremost showcased as Alia to the world, but just a black girl. How she has to be aware of how she is acting because she knows the colour of her skin makes her stand out. I was so thankful to Leigh for highlighting this within the novel. Diversity is needed within all literature but especially in YA. To educate young people and allow them to walk in the shoes of someone dealing with racism is so important.
There were so many other inspiring and educational messages woven into this story. The juxtaposition between the ancient beliefs and gods that used to be worshiped to more modern influences of money, wealth and technology which have become a form of worship in everyday modern life. The empowerment of female friendships and holding each other up instead of dragging each other down. The idea of personal battles that we fight every day. Anxiety, insecurity, and all the issues we face at points in our life. We may not all be Amazons like Diana, wielding swords and shields, but we fight our own kind of battle through life and everything that comes with it.
I could talk more and more about this book and all it’s brilliant details but I will wrap this up now before this review becomes far too long. This book surprised me. It was not just a Wonder Woman novel but also a book about friendship, hope and self-identity. It was epic, inspiring and wonderous.