Diana dreams of greatness and glory, an earned place among her Amazonian sisters. She gives all this up to help Alia, a Warbringer, save the human world from the brink of war.
Published: August 29th, 2017
Publisher: Random House
“We cannot spend our lives in hiding, wondering what we might accomplish if given the chance. We have to take that chance ourselves.”
During a footrace on Themyscira, Diana is distracted by a ship wreck just outside the island’s bubble. Diana hears a cry for help and against her better judgement leaps into the water to rescue a drowning young woman. After bringing her onto the island, however, her sisters begin to fall ill and the island is shaken with terrible earthquakes. Diana, already fearing these are her fault, consults the magical Oracle. The Oracle confirms Diana’s fears, telling her that Alia, the girl she saved, is a Warbringer. Descendant from Helen of Troy, Alia is meant to throw the world into a long decade of bloodshed and war. The Oracle tells Diana to let Alia die, to save Themyscira and the rest of the world, but Diana refuses. She and Alia, as well as Alia’s brother and two friends, soon embark on a journey from New York to Greece to cleanse Alia and save the world. It won’t be easy, as there is at least one military-like force trying to take them down, as well as the Gods to contend with.
My level of hype for this book couldn’t have been measured. I love Bardugo’s other books, I love Wonder Woman, I figured this was the best of both worlds. I bought this the day it came out, and I even got a copy with a beautiful poster in the back. The cover was gorgeous, the girl power aspect was pulling me in, it was all there. So, why, oh why, did I not love this?
This was so different from what Bardugo usually writes, and I missed her usual style. Don’t get me wrong, the writing was still great because she has a wonderful way with words, but this book just felt very high school-ish, I guess. I wanted more death, and action, and sexual tension. I hoping for more kick-ass scenes and that high stakes feel but it didn’t have any of those elements.
I didn’t feel particularly attached to any of the characters besides Alia and Diana. All the side characters to me just felt unimportant and they were a little annoying, honestly. I didn’t like Jason, I didn’t really like Nim, and I only kind of liked Theo (because I thought he was actually pretty funny). It was like this book focused more on family drama than actual like ‘save the world’ drama. Diana was constantly trying to please her mother and sisters, Jason and Alia were trying to live up to their family name and Jason was trying to ‘protect’ Alia, Theo and his father were basically enemies, and Nim was fretting because she had never told her parents she was gay. I understand that family and peer relations are a big topic in young adult literature, but it seemed like this was the only sort of conflict present in the books at some points.
There were a great deal of things I did really like about this book! It wasn’t all bad.
- The Representation: I loved that the whole cast were people of color and addressed issues that related to that community. Alia pointed out that people look at her and see things other than who she really is, that appearances were more important for her family, and so on. I loved that whole aspect and I don’t think we see it enough in YAL.
- The Gods: I really liked all the mythology thrown in the mix. The whole idea that the Gods were following them, trying to derail their plans, was so interesting and I wished it had been in more than just the back half of the book. It was obvious that Bardugo did a lot of research for this particular aspect of the book, so bravo to you, Leigh!
- The Twist: No spoilers here, BUT, if you’ve read the book already you know THE TWIST. A very twisty twist. It was very much like Bardugo to have a twist like that, and I was allllll for it! That part of the book literally made me gasp. There were a lot of little things leading up to the big one that were also crazy, but that big twist man, that one got me.
So while this book didn’t live up to the hype for me, I didn’t hate it either. It wasn’t my cup of tea, which I’m sad about, but I did love some of the other aspects to the book aside from the plot. I think I’m the first person to review this with less than four stars, but I’m not going to hide my disappointment for this book. I would say read it if you were as hyped as I was, but don’t go into it expecting it to be like Bardugo’s other works, you’ll be seriously let down.
Side Note: Now, this book is a part of a DC Icons book series and I know a lot of people are eagerly awaiting the Batman book coming out soon. I won’t be reading the Batman or Superman books (because they just aren’t my thing) but I WILL be reading Sarah J Maas’s Catwoman novel because lets be honest here: Maas is my Queen, and Catwoman is my icon.