Title: Wonder Woman: Warbringer
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: DC Icons, #1
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Release Date: August 31st 2017
She will become a legend but first she is Diana, Princess of the Amazons. And her fight is just beginning…
Diana is desperate to prove herself to her warrior sisters. But when the opportunity comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law to save a mere mortal, Alia Keralis. With this single heroic act, Diana may have just doomed the world.
Alia is a Warbringer—a descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery. Diana and Alia will face an army of enemies, mortal and divine, determined to destroy or possess the Warbringer.
To save the world, they must stand side by side against the tide of war.
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
My Thoughts On…
After the film earlier this year Wonder Woman: Warbringer gives us another Diana Prince origin story. On the island of Themyscira Diana wants to prove herself a legendary warriors like her sisters did, made from clay Diana feels like she doesn’t belong with the Amazons who died for their place on Themyscira. When Diana sees a ship wreck off the shores she faces a hard choice; let the sea claim its victims, or save the person she can hear screaming, breaking Amazon law and risking exile.
I’d already seen the film before reading this book, and as with anything it’s always best to take the two separately. Despite having the same main character the film and this book are telling two very different origin stories for Diana Prince, and while the character of Diana is similar the stories themselves are very different.
Alia is a Warbringer, descendant of Helen of Troy who will bring war and conflict to the world on an unimaginable scale after she turns seventeen, unless she can bath in the spring at Therapne before the sun sets on the first day of Hekatombaion, the first day of Spring However there are plenty of people out there who aren’t willing to give Diana and Alia the chance to reach Therapne, factions who seek to kill the Warbringer before she can turn seventeen and gods who crave the pain, fear and misery the Warbringer will bring to the world.
*Spoilers for Wonder Woman: Warbringer below*
I know I said not to compare the book to the film, and that still stands, but one thing I think the film did better was showing Diana’s personal sacrifice. In the book Diana leaves Themyscira knowing she may face exile if she ever returns, but when she does make her way home again no time has passed for the island. It’s the same night she left and her mother is unaware of Diana’s actions. In my mind it kind of made her journey less because there was never any risk behind it.
*End of spoilers*
Still I really enjoyed this book. It was addictive with a fast-paced story that kept me hooked as Diana, Alia, Theo, Jason and Nim fought their way out of New York and across Greece in their desperate search for the spring at Therapne.
Diana grew up on Themyscira, and unlike the other Amazons she has no personal knowledge of the world of men, it also means Diana doesn’t quite fully belong with the other battle-tested Amazons. She wants to prove herself, which is what leads her to save Alia, to follow her back to the world of man and try and end the Warbringer curse. She wants glory the way all her other sisters found it before they died.
At the heart of it Diana is a purely good character. She’s strong and her inexperience in the world of man could be taken as naivety, but she is determined to get Alia to the springs and though she falters at times when it seems like their quest is impossible she never gives up. Despite being away from them Diana has a strong bond with her sisters. She worries for them, not knowing what their fate would be before she left Themyscira, but she knows what path she needs to walk.
Alia has lived a sheltered life, even before she was the Warbringer she needed to be careful because of what her surname is. Her first taste of freedom from her overprotective brother ended in a ship wreck and a near death experience. As a Warbringer, even before she turned seventeen, Alia was causing conflict between the people around her and after she accepts Diana’s story she is desperate for a way out even if it means her death. She can’t handle the knowledge and guilt that she could be responsible for bringing about a war and countless deaths if she doesn’t reach the springs in time.
Alia’s brother Jason, and her two friends Nim and Theo all join Diana and Alia on their quest. The story of Alia being a Warbringer, of Greek Gods and myths being real, is hard to swallow, but Jason, Nim and Theo are determined to keep Alia safe. The three each have a close bond to Alia and even knowing the truth about her, the truth about the constant arguments between them, they still love and accept her.
I am a massive fan of Greek mythology and that was one of the things I loved about this book. I don’t know much about the Amazons or Themyscira, other than what I learnt about in the film, but Wonder Woman: Warbringer expands on the story and gives us more information. Despite Diana only being there for a short while at the beginning of the book there was a lot more depth to Themyscira, more development of the Amazons and their history and culture. Themyscira is paradise for them, a safe haven from the world of man, and in this book it was easier to see that through Diana’s eyes.
It was only after seeing the film earlier this year that I got excited for the release of Wonder Woman: Warbringer, and while it potentially may have been easier to sink into the story if I hadn’t seen the film first I still loved this book. It was everything I expected and hoped for from a Wonder Woman origin story, and reminded me what it is I love about Diana Prince’s character.
What did you think of Wonder Woman: Warbringer? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.