I’m back today with another review from my Feminist Lit February TBR! After reading some rather heavy nonfiction with Daring to Drive, I wanted something lighter and more fun, so I went with Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo.
I got this at a book signing last September, and even though I was really excited to read it, it just went on my shelf…and sat there. And now that I’ve read it, I seriously regret letting it sit around for so long, because it’s so good!!
For those who aren’t familiar with this book, it’s a unique spin on the Wonder Woman origin story. Unlike the movie where Steve Trevor crashes his World War I plane near Themyscira, a teenage girl named Alia is the only survivor of a boat that was blown up off the coast of Themyscira. Even though she knows she faces exile for rescuing Alia and bringing her onto the island, Diana still does it, only to find out that Alia is a Warbringer descended from Helen of Troy and fated to bring about an age of bloodshed. In an attempt to save both Alia and the world, the two embark on a quest to cleanse Alia’s bloodline and break the curse of the Warbringer.
I think one of my favorite parts of this book is the mythology. I really like the idea that the Amazons are all women who call out to a female goddess of any religion in their final moments, and I’d love to learn more about all of these different women on Themyscira. I was also fascinated by the concept of the Warbringer and its connection to Helen of Troy. Plus the mythological aspects of this story made it feel a bit like an older, more feminist Percy Jackson book, which was a lot of fun.
In addition to the mythology, I was also a big fan of the cast of characters in this book. I really enjoyed Diana and how confident and badass she is, and she had a great group of female friends in Alia and Nim. They were all really believable and fleshed out characters to me and had great relationships with each other.
Even though this book is about Wonder Woman, who’s viewed as a super feminist icon, I was surprised that this book wasn’t as overtly feminist as I was expecting. Don’t get me wrong, it was still very feminist in that it focused on really strong female characters and female friendship, and I thought Diana had some great commentary on gender dynamics when she first visited New York, but it was nothing to the extreme of, say, The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis. I don’t think it’s good or bad, it’s just something I noticed and was surprised at, and I would say I’m definitely happy with this as a pick for Feminist Lit February.
I actually just enjoyed pretty much everything about this book. It was a lot of fun and I really liked the premise and the characters and I wound up reading through it way faster than I thought I would. And holy crap, that plot twist! Obviously I’m not going to spoil it for you, but I totally did not see that coming, and while I kind of hate it, I love it at the same time. Let’s just say Bardugo is very good at playing with your expectations and completely turning them on their head.
Overall I’m a huge fan of this book and I’m beating myself up a bit for not reading this earlier, so if you’ve been meaning to read Wonder Woman: Warbringer and haven’t yet, I suggest you go out and remedy that immediately! It’s got all of the things I love from Leigh Bardugo’s fantasy books in addition to featuring Wonder Woman, and it’s awesome. I’m so sad that this isn’t a series of Wonder Woman books, because I would love to read more about Diana’s adventures and learn about the other Amazons, plus I’m not ready to leave Alia and Nim and everyone else behind just yet.