A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Wonder Woman: Warbringer is the first book in a DC Icons series that assigns popular Young Adult authors different DC world superheroes. Leigh Bardugo, bestselling author of the Grisha Trilogy and the Six of Crows spin-off series brings readers this alternative origin story with modern-day diverse characters. Expect the same amount of violence as a PG-13 superhero movie. While there aren't whole armies facing off, like in the 2017 Wonder Woman movie, there are still plenty of skirmishes with explosions, gunfire, swords, a plane and some cars ripped apart, and a boat exploding with most passengers drowning. The most common way people die is by being riddled with bullets from automatic weapons. The grossest death: an exsanguination (someone being completely drained of their blood) by a huge mythical creature. There's a little strong language at times of stress, "s--t" and "bitch" being the worst of it. Plus, there's some kissing and nonsexual swimming-hole nudity. Readers will learn a bit about Greek heroes, gods, and Amazons and appreciate the strong anti-war message.
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What's the story?
In WONDER WOMAN: WARBRINGER, Diana, princess of the hidden Amazon island of Themyscira, is finally given a chance to prove herself to her Amazon sisters. She's entered a race across the island and as her mother, Queen Hippolyta says, "You do not enter a race to lose." No pressure. Taking a secret route she mapped herself, Diana's all alone as she sprints along, thinking she's sure to win. Until she spots a ship exploding way off the coast, on the other side of the island's protective barrier from the outside world. Diana decides she can't just leave people to die, and she abandons the race and rescues a girl her age named Alia. She hides Alia from the other Amazons, trying to figure out what to do with her -- bringing an outsider is against the rules of the gods. In just a few hours, Amazons begin to fall ill and the earthquakes start. Diana consults the island's Oracle and is told to let Alia die. This girl is not just any girl, but a Warbringer: someone descended from Helen of Troy whose very existence brings on an age of war. When Diana refuses to kill her, the Oracle tells her Alia may be purified in a spring in Greece. That means leaving Themyscira and all Diana knows behind, with the chance that she may never be allowed to return.
Is it any good?
This pairing of author Leigh Bardugo and a Wonder Woman origin story is one of the rare perfect occurrences in the universe -- like a total solar eclipse out your window or comfy high heels. Bardugo's take is both modern and fresh and steeped in Greek myth. The modern-and-fresh part will come as a surprise after the 2017 World War II-set Wonder Woman movie. Wonder Woman: Warbringer includes a cast of diverse New York City teens and young adults: Alia is half-black and wears braids, her best friend Nim is Indian, Jason's friend Theo is Brazilian with dark-brown skin. They all have a fun chemistry. Bardugo writes some great dialogue for them during those rare moments they're not in immediate danger. If you're the sort to start to roll your eyes at the unending battles in superhero movies, you'll appreciate the careful character development layered in here.
If you're the sort to shout, "Get on with it," you'll be taken care of, as well. The action scenes really pop the way superhero action should; a plane ripped apart, a car thrown in the air, a hail of bullets here and there, and a nightmarish Greek monster thrown in for good measure. The whole package is an immense treat for teen and adult Wonder Woman fans.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the diversity of characters in Wonder Woman: Warbringer. What experiences did Alia and Jason have growing up half-black that made them see the world differently?
In the Acknowledgements section, the author lists many books she used as research. What did you learn about Greek heroes and gods from this book?
Did you choose this book because of the superhero featured? Because of the author? Will you read more in this DC Icons series by the different authors?
- Author: Leigh Bardugo
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Superheroes, Adventures, Brothers and Sisters, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
- Publication date: August 29, 2017
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 18
- Number of pages: 384
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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