Wonder Woman is one of those iconic characters, that, even if you haven’t read the comics/graphic novels, you know who she is. And then the recent movie pushed Wonder Woman even further into the pop-culture sphere. Leigh Bardugo’s Wonder Woman lives up to what’s come before and sets the bar for everything that comes after.
Wonder Woman: Warbringer is a total stand alone story. You don’t have to have read a single previous arc or seen the movie to understand what’s going on here. It has a contemporary setting and features a young Diana looking to show she deserves to be a full fledged Amazon and their future Queen.
The story starts with Diana rescuing Alia Keralis after her boat explodes just off shore while Diana is taking part in an annual race to see who the top Amazon’s are. Diana risks her standing and breaks Amazonian law when she rescues Alia. When she brings Alia back to the island, things start going down hill fast. Her Amazon sisters start becoming sick and Alia needs help for her injuries. This leads Diana to her hero’s journey complete with a visit to the Oracle. The integration of the Greek mythology into this story is perfection and makes the story approachable for both long time Wonder Woman fans and those new to her story.
I loved the pacing and dynamics of Wartbringer. Bardugo does a great job of balancing the story, the characters, and the action. I was lucky enough to see her on tour, and she talked about loving to write found family stories and her desire to have a woman on every page of the story. She nailed both of these so well. You really care about Alia, Diana, Theo, Nim and Jason, and the relationships they have. They truly become a family you’re rooting for. And you’re heartbroken when Bardugo shakes things up with several twists along the way.
I also appreciated how Bardugo integrated diversity into the story. The characters just happened to be people of color or gay or rich or orphans. There was no explanation of it, no long drawn out monologues, it was just part of who they are. I loved this, Bardugo is so good at being inclusive without hammering it over the reader’s head. This is why I love reading her stories, everything is just so natural and organic.
I enjoyed this story through Audiobook from Penguin Random House Audio. Narrator Mozhan Marnò does an amazing job at bringing this story to life. Her voice has just a hint of an accent so you know you’re going into a different world, but it’s not so thick you can’t enjoy the story because you’re trying to figure out what she’s saying. Marnò was a great choice to narrate this story.
I also appreciated how the audio was produced. The long pause between chapters can be super distracting and leaves you wondering if something went wrong with music app and takes you out of the story. The digital edition I listened to was cut for CD production, and it was produced amazingly well. The tracks and the chapters flowed perfectly, something I very much appreciate in an audiobook.