Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo: powers and islands and feminism

This was certainly epic, superhero-y, and feminist.


And, generally speaking, it’s pleasing. I’m pleased. It was fun, and quite a quick read, and it was also funny and interesting and just so very Bardugo, you know?


And speaking of, let me take a moment to declare that this is my sixth Leigh novel, so that’s something! It was very interesting to see how her style changed in a contemporary, and all that. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

But if you love Leigh, you say, eyeing my rating skeptically, why the three stars?

Interesting question. And to answer it as efficiently as possible, I’ll organize this review in a fabulously list-ly fashion. Because obviously.



I really liked Diana! Particularly her superhero selflessness and her ignorance of the mortal world (those scenes were hilarious. very.) Her loyalty to her Amazon sisters and the fabulous female friendship (look at that alliteration, woah) with Alia was delightful to behold. So MC-wise? A solid yes from me.





The squad dynamics were on point. Diana, Alia, Jason, Theo, and Nim worked quite well as a squad with all their banter and teamwork (or lack thereof) .. which wasn’t quite surprising, given that Leigh is the actual Queen of Squads. Although I do maintain that I preferred the Six of Crows group more? I don’t know. Technically speaking, there’s really nothing wrong with the WW crew here, so it’s just a personal preference, I guess.


Leigh’s writing continues to be the lovely thing it always is. There’s just something about it that .. clicks, you know? It’s immersive. You find yourself finishing the whole book in the fraction of the time it takes another author’s. Or maybe Bardugoan books just have that effect on me? Tell me I’m not alone.



But unfortuanately, there are some things I wasn’t the biggest fan of? Or just felt shaky? Such as:




Some things felt quite inconstant at times. Particularly the magic system with the Greek gods and all. And I’m not talking the concept as a whole (Leigh has no control over that, obviously), but rather: the way they played into the major plotline and unfolding of things. Yes, I realize I’m being hella vague, but I don’t want to give spoilers. Just know this: the magic system seemed a bit unrestricted, is all, and made for some Wait, they can do that? instances. Which I very much hate.


One character had a complete personality transplant that left the reader, me, reeling. Again, spoilery territory which I shall not type out, but just … no. No, that’s not how you plot-twist things. It was very sloppy and frankly random, and it obviously dampened my enjoyment of things. Could it have been handled better? Absolutely. But it just sadly wasn’t.



I think that’s it for technical dislikes? The only one remaining that I hesitate to include in the list above is this: WW:W just didn’t live up to Leigh’s other works. And when the previous one I read before this one was the monstrous twisty-genius of a novel that was CROOKED KINGDOM, Wonderwoman lacks. Big time. But to be fair, they can’t all be CK, which is why I didn’t put such a subjective point in the dislikes list. But just know it’s there.



All in all? A fun quick read by a fabulous author. Although I couldn’t stop picturing Diana as Gal Gadot in my head. WHY MUST MOVIES EXIST UGH.

Wonderwoman-wise, though, I liked Leigh’s take on it more than Hollywood’s (because squads and female friendships, yo.) And because anything is better on the page than the big screen.


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