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Thursday, August 24, 2017

ARC Audio Book Review: Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29749085-wonder-woman?ac=1&from_search=true
Please Note:  I received this audio book in advance from Random House in exchange for an honest review.  This did not influence the opinions of my review in any way.

Synopsis (From Goodreads):
She will become one of the world’s greatest heroes: WONDER WOMAN. But first she is Diana, Princess of the Amazons. And her fight is just beginning. . . .

Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mere mortal. Even worse, Alia Keralis is no ordinary girl and with this single brave act, Diana may have doomed the world.

Alia just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.

Together, Diana and Alia will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. If they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.


Review:
With all the hype over everything Wonder Woman these past few months, I had high hopes for the book, Wonder Woman: Warbringer.  As expected, author Leigh Bardugo created a gripping coming-of-age novel filled with diverse characters and an action-packed story line. 

What I Liked:
Audio Production:
Mozhan Marno's performance brings the book to life.  The narrator makes each character distinct with lively emotion, and humor.  There are several male characters in the book, and she performs these equally as well.  

Amazon Society:
I loved the complexity of the Amazon culture.  The author does a great job of educating me (as a non- comic book collector) on the background of what the Amazon are and why it is so important for Diana to prove herself.  As the daughter of the Queen, Diana is set apart from everyone else.  She desperately wants to earn her spot and gain the respect of all the other warriors on the island.  

While the island may seem ideal, there is still rivalries and jealousy, and possible plots to seize power away from Hippolyta, Diana's mother.  Will Diana's actions aid the island, or place her mother in peril? 

Characters:
Of course, the novel centers around Diana and her quest to prove herself worthy of being an Amazon.  In this day and age of continued gender bias towards women (remember the Google guy's tirade?), her drive to justify her place could be any woman's story.

I liked that Diana was not too naive, or in awe of men, or the "real" world.  It seemed as though the Amazons kept close tabs on modern culture so Diana was not sheltered about most things.

Alia is the girl whom Diana rescues from a boat and disrupts the balance on the island of Themyscira, causing earthquakes and illnesses.  When Diana realizes Alia is a Warbringer, she must decide to either help her, and put an end to the Warbringer's chaos, or let her die and risk another Warbringer being born.

I liked Alia toughness and jaded New York attitude towards Diana.  She can't figure out whether or not Diana is crazy, or if she, herself, is suffering from a concussion.  But as she begins to witness Diana's extraordinary abilities, she accepts what is happening.  

She also brings diversity to the novel.  The book doesn't shy away from presenting the realities of people of color from the distrust of other commuters on the subways, to being followed around by security in a drugstore.  Alia's wealth doesn't shield her from these situations. 

Action:
The perils that Diana and Alia must face are exciting and kept me on the edge of my seat.  The situations start in the Mediterranean, and then on to New York and back.  There is an urgency as Diana must get Alia to a sacred spring by a certain day in order for Alia to shed her legacy of being a Warbringer. 

The author does a commendable job of keeping the action going while also creating a sense of realism.  I loved that there were a variety of situations where characters did things badly.  This may seem strange, but I hate it when people in books are instantly expert fighters, or just happen to have professional car racing skills.  These characters were challenged.

What I Didn't Like:
Characters:
Jason is Alia's older brother,  He is only about five years older, yet he seems on the brink of assuming control of their (dead) parents pharmaceutical empire.  Really?  He can't seem to fathom why the board of the company isn't thrilled to give up the reigns to a kid barely out of college...

He is also a typical romantic interest for Diana, tall, dark, and handsome with (surprise!) amazing fighting skills.  I would have loved for Jason to be a little more complex or for him to challenge Diana in some different way.  Instead, we get a rather conventional character (and story arc) with him.  

I was also kind of hoping for Diana to have a romantic relationship with a female character.  Maybe next time.

Missing Parents Syndrome:
My pet peeve is alive and well with the dead parents trope in this book.  Now, this is par for the course in almost all comic books, but I really dislike this trope because without the parents around the teen characters seem to have no accountability.  They can stay out late (or even leave the country), and no one is there to be alarmed.  Jason does act as a substitute parent to Alia, but he never does more than yell at Alia for ditching her bodyguard and heading out on a ship where no one would find her.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29749085-wonder-woman?ac=1&from_search=true

https://www.amazon.com/Wonder-Woman-Warbringer-DC-Icons/dp/0399549730/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1503372892&sr=8-1&keywords=wonder+woman+warbringer

https://www.bookdepository.com/Wonder-Woman--Warbringer--DC-Icons-Series-/9780141387376

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wonder-woman-leigh-bardugo/1124692404?ean=9780375976162


Rating: 




Release Date:  August 29th, 2017

Genre:  YA Fantasy

Publisher: Random House books for Young Readers

Length:  11 hours, 56 minutes (384 pages)

Format:  Audio Book

Narrator:  Mozhan Marno

Source:  Random House 

Recommendation:  With exciting characters and storytelling, this book is a great addition to the DC Comics universe.

      
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