I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Series: DC Icons #1
Published by Random House Books for Young Readers on August 29th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy
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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.
I was lucky enough to get my hands on an ARC copy of this book when I attended YALLWest earlier this year (thank you Random House!). I am a HUGE Leigh Bardugo fan because I’ve loved the four books of hers I have read so far. I was so excited about this book because of the author, despite not being a big comic book hero fan. In the end, not being familiar with the Wonder Woman story might have been a bit of a downfall because, while I didn’t hate this book, I also didn’t love it as much as I had hoped.
The World Building
The majority of this book takes place in our current world, including in New York City and then in the Greek countryside. However, Leigh Bardugo also incorporates various mythology and a magical island where the Amazons are from. I was really out of my element when it came to to the mythology side of things and how that tied into the Wonder Woman story. Like I mentioned, I’m not into comic books or hero stories and I was not AT ALL familiar with Wonder Woman. I had NO idea she had this Greek mythology background. I feel like I didn’t fully appreciate the way Leigh Bardugo wove the mythology into the story because of my lack of experience with it. I also found myself a little confused at times about the various myths and characters she referred to – there were just so many myths that I had a hard time keeping track of them all. I think people who are more familiar with these myths or the Wonder Woman story wouldn’t struggle with this aspect of the story as much as I did.
The plot of this story is the typical quest storyline, which fits really well with the mythology world building in this book. The book starts off with a bang and lots of action, but I still had a bit of a hard time getting into it. My biggest issue with the plot is that I often found the characters actions not quite believable – from the very beginning. As the synopsis says, Diana chooses to save the life of a mere mortal, risking EXILE. That was the first thing that really got to me – I just didn’t find it really believable that Diana would just throw away her life as she knows it for someone she doesn’t know at all. I understood what her motivation was supposed to be (to prove herself as a hero, as the synopsis says), but I had to suspend my disbelief just a bit to fully buy into that. This happened more times throughout the story, where either the characters were acting like everything was normal when I felt they should be freaking out or they did things that I found to be unnecessary. I think this ties into the comic book element of the books but I found I had to suspend my disbelief a little to go along with the plot. (Along those lines, I had a hard time buying into the villain in the story as well).
The characters were the shining stars of this book! I loved most of them and I really had fun with their banter and interactions with each other. Leigh Bardugo is great with banter and character relationships. I loved that there was diversity in the cast of characters and they made such a fun friend group. I especially loved all of Diana’s funny comments and lack of familiarity with our modern world. These characters made this book a fun ride, especially since the plot and world building were a little shaky for me.
Overall, I found this book to be more mediocre than I was hoping. I really wanted to love this! I struggled with the world building and the plot but the characters and their interactions kept me going. I think that people who are more familiar with Wonder Woman and mythology would get more out of this book than I did. In fact, the feel of this book really reminded me of the Rick Riordan books I’ve read (down to the banter between characters!). I think fans of the Percy Jackson or other Rick Riordan books will really enjoy this new Leigh Bardugo release. This definitely seems like a case of “it’s not you, it’s me” and I know this book will be enjoyed by a lot of people!