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.
In this book we meet Diana, the daughter of clay who longs for glory and to be an equal to her sisters, the famous female warriors throughout history who called out to a deity before their death and were deemed worthy to enter the utopia of Themyscira. As she is racing to prove her capabilities to her sisters she hears a call for help at sea and, despite her better judgement, answers it.
After finding that Alia, the girl she saves, is not just poisoning her land (for no mortal may step foot on Themyscira) but also the next warbringer who is descended from Helen of Troy herself. Thirsting for glory, Diana decides to go on a quest to cleanse Alia of her curse and keep the world from spiraling into chaos.
What I Liked
I loved the mythology of this book! I don’t know how much of it existed before or how much of it was Bardugo’s contribution, but it makes a lot more sense to me than that presented in the recent Wonder Woman (2017) movie staring Gal Gadot. That the women came from all over the world by the grace of so many deities made it inclusive in a way that made me so happy.
I also loved that Bardugo took advantage of the opportunity to make this book so celebratory of diversity and diversity in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). Alia is half-Greek/half-black and super smart. As we get to know her, we see how her parents raised her to aware of how people may treat her because of her brown skin but also to be proud. Bardugo also avoids tokenism by including a cast of diverse friends in form of Theo and Nim, characters who brought so much humor and heart to the story.
On the subject of friends, I loved how this book celebrated the power of friendship and choosing your tribe. While many YA novels these days make romantic relationships integral to the protagonist’s storyline, this one has friendship at the heart. Yes, there’s some romance in it; but more important is the bond between friends that Diana forms with Alia and her friends. In this book, it’s because of friends that Diana sees the good worth saving in humanity.
What I Disliked
I can’t really fault this book at all. The onus is on me; this kind of book just isn’t really my style. It wouldn’t have been something I picked up if it wasn’t written by Leigh Bardugo who is one of my favorite authors. I also wasn’t the biggest Wonder Woman fan beforehand. While I do love Bardugo’s Diana tremendously, I’m not sure I’d like her written by anyone else.
While I can appreciate what Bardugo has accomplished in this book, it doesn’t really change the fact that I’m not a big fan of stories where the protagonist and antagonistic forces are so disconnected. Saving the world for the sake of saving humanity is the such a basic and boring plot to me. There were some surprises though!
Have you read Wonder Woman: Warbringer? What did you think?