Assuming you did not spend the summer under a rock, you probably heard that the Wonder Woman movie did quite well at the box office. (And by “quite well,” I mean, “was biggest-grossing movie ever helmed by a solo female director,” according to Forbes.) You’d be forgiven, then, for thinking Leigh Bardugo’s WONDER WOMAN: WARBRINGER was a novelization of the film, covering familiar territory.
You would be wrong.
An entirely original tale, Warbringer tells the story of a teenage Diana, desperate to prove herself worthy of being an Amazon despite being the only one among them who has not been tested in battle. When Diana rescues 17-year-old Alia from a boat accident off the coast of Themyscira, she knows she’s risking exile – but she doesn’t realize she’s putting the entire island in danger. Alia is also a descendant of Helen of Troy, fated to throw the world into a new age of war. As Diana and Alia try to avert the prophecy, they travel the globe, amass an endearing, eccentric, and wise-cracking group of friends, and fight off enemies both mortal and mythological.
Warbringer is fast-paced and funny, with enough in-jokes and Easter eggs to please the most die-hard WW fans – but because it’s an origin story, no prior comics knowledge is required. It’s also a coming of age story, as both Diana and Alia struggle to understand themselves and their place in the world. There’s a depth and emotional resonance to the story that feels incredibly real, despite the mythology and superhero angle.
If you’re a fan of Leigh Bardugo’s previous work, such as Shadow & Bone or Six of Crows, you’ll definitely enjoy this – it’s modern, yes, but still showcases her eye for detail, her rich characterization, and her sharp, funny dialogue. If you haven’t read her books before, Warbringer is a great introduction to a brilliant, insightful, and accessible author.
And just like the movie, you’ll be clamoring for a sequel.