“Amazon. Born of war, destined to be ruled by no one but herself.”
Warbringer opens with Diana, Princess of the Amazons and daughter to Queen Hippolyta, struggling to come to terms with her heritage. As the only Amazon born on the secluded and mysterious island of Themyscira, she’s set apart; she does not share the same claim to the warrior qualities she possesses as the others she lives with. She feels she has not earned her place among her sisters. She has not experienced mortal life, only to face death and then be gifted with immortality.
During an attempt to prove that she’s just as worthy as her sisters for her status as an Amazon, Diana finds herself torn. As she spots a shipwreck far from the island and hears screams carried on the wind, she abandons the task in hand to rescue those in distress. Here, she saves Alia Keralis, who is later revealed to be the latest Warbringer in a long line of many; a descendant of Helen of Troy, destined to bring misery and war to those around her. Her mere presence on Themyscira risks the safety of the island and its inhabitants. The island is struck by earthquakes and Amazons disturbingly begin falling ill. Concealing her fear that she’s contributed to this devastating outcome, Diana seeks assistance from the Oracle on the island. This sets the wheels in motion for Diana’s mission that she shoulders the burden of alone.
The doomsday clock is ticking as Diana is pitted against those who would take advantage of Alia’s heritage to find a way to change her fate, and save her from her own destiny.
“We can’t help the way we’re born. We can’t help what we are, only what life we choose to make for ourselves.”
The novel centres around Diana’s journey to work with Alia, her brother and friends, at times facing moral dilemmas, as well as physical ones. Diana struggles with adapting to her first experience of the mortal world, away from her sisters and Themyscira for the first time in her life. Can she find a way to break the Warbringer chain and stop the destruction of the world as we know it? Can she reverse the effect that Alia has had on Themyscira to save her friends? Will she be able to save everyone, including herself, and not lose a single life?
The book keeps you on your toes with exciting, unpredictable turns. Relationships are questioned, friendships are tested. I’ll be honest, I thought I had the main twist down… I was wrong. But that’s what makes a good book, when you never know what’s around the corner.
There are so many lessons to be drawn from the book and multiple themes that are well-written throughout. The book isn’t just about bravery or heroism as you might expect, but it runs deeper than that. Race and sexuality are also gently touched upon.
“[…] people are always going to look. They’re always going to judge, so you can say nothing or you can answer back.”
There’s a reason that Wonder Woman has become a figurehead for so many activists fighting for feminism and LGBT rights, among others. She consistently sees the best of people and pushes them to live in harmony, treating others respectfully, and loving each other. Time is precious; human life is short, so why waste it pitting yourselves against others? We can all learn a lot from Wonder Woman.
“Because the whole world loves to tell us what we can’t do, that we aren’t good enough. The people in your own house should be on your side.”
It’s worth noting that the book does not have any connection to the 2017 film; it’s completely standalone with different characters and a separate storyline. There is, however, a book adaptation of the film, this just isn’t it. If you enjoyed the film, then this is definitely worth a read to immerse yourself in Diana’s world. Even if you’re new to comic book superheroes, here is a great place to start. No previous knowledge is required.
Warbringer has been published by Penguin Random House as part of their DC Icons series. It will also feature Young Adult stories of other superhero favourites, including Batman (Marie Lu), Catwoman (Sarah J Mass), and Superman (Matt de La Peña). I pre-ordered my stunning signed hardback edition of Warbringer from Waterstones as soon as the listing popped up in my Facebook feed. I hadn’t read much about the series, but after this, I’ll be sure to invest in the others, and hope that they have as much to take away as Warbringer. Batman: Nightwalker is due for publication in January 2018, with the others to follow.