Random House | August 2017 | 384 pgs
Source: Purchased

Before Wonder Woman, there's Princess Diana of Themyscira and with this first book of DC Icon Series, author Leigh Bardugo tells a coming-of-age story of teenage Princess Diana and the challenges she has to undertake before she becomes a true Amazon; a warrior who not only has the same immortal bloodline like her sisters but also one who is "battle-tested". 

Diana has always felt protected surrounded by her mother and the other Amazons. With the talks that she is the Daughter of Earth who was created from clay, Diana often feels small and unimportant as compared to her other sisters who have fought in battles and have earned their glory as the true Amazons. Her self-pitying takes a turn when she stumbles upon Alia Keralis, a mortal girl who is barely surviving after an explosion on the ship she's travelling. Now Themyscira has its rules when it comes to outsiders and whoever violates the rule of helping or hiding an outsider would be exiled as punishment. Diana wants to prove herself and on top of it, she knew she couldn't just leave the mortal girl behind. 

Alia Keralis is no ordinary girl. A descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, she is a born Warbringer and is fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery. Her escape from death has not only given her a new friend in Diana but also a mission to save mankind if she and Diana could make it to Greece to search for a spring at Therapne, which is at the site where Helen's tomb is. Once Alia bathes in the spring before the sun sets on the first of Hekatombaion, then the world might not suffer an age of bloodshed and the cycle of Warbringers will be broken.  

And this is where the story becomes interesting as the reader follows the girls' journey en route from modern-day New York City (where Alia's home is) to Therapne. Supporting cast is Alia's two friends, Nim and Theo, as well as Alia's overprotective older brother, Jason and as the group follows the girls' journey they will face with a threat and danger more than the quest itself. Now Diana and Alia must stand side by side for the battles which are to unleash upon them no matter whatever the cost is. 

Wonder Woman has always been my favourite heroine since I was a teenager, hands down. I remember watching episode after episode of the Wonder Woman TV series starring Lynda Carter and I was so in awe by her acting; and most of all the superhero acts and the feminism theory behind the Wonder Woman image. We're all more or less familiar with the history of Wonder Woman but not so with her younger version, thus when author Leigh Bardugo comes up with her own story of Princess Diana as a teenager, I knew I've to read it and I'm glad to say I wasn't disappointed. The world building and characterisations are well written and focus much more on the relationship between Diana and Alia and their "sisters in battle" pact. The supporting characters were also a joy to read, and I enjoyed reading their banter which I'm sure many teenage readers are able to relate. As much as I wanted to say more about the story and the characterisations, this is one of those books which is best read yourself (and here I am, itching to discuss it with anyone who's finished reading the book.) Finally, I want to thank Lark, my buddy reading partner, for this wonderful bookish journey. As usual, it's been a lot of fun reading with her (click here for her review.) 

Finally, our usual Q&As section and here are some questions from Lark to me: 

1. What did you think of Bardugo's portrayal of Diana? And did it fit with your idea of Wonder Woman? 
I think the author has done a wonderful job portraying our young heroine. As I mentioned, we're all aware of the grown up Diana, who's become the legendary Wonder Woman and since there's so little mention or story of her childhood/teenage years, I think it's great that we get to take a new look of young Diana through Ms. Bardugo's storytelling. Our young Diana here definitely fits my idea of Wonder Woman; she's brave, selfless and not to mention she kick butt. Yes, she is. 

2. Was there any part of the story that bugged you or that you didn't like? And what about the story did you like best?
Hmm... just the part that took me my surprise, not that it was a bad thing but definitely didn't see it coming. I wished I could say more but it'd be a spoiler. (I'd mentioned this in our little discussion, Lark. πŸ˜€) As for the best part, I think it'd be the battle where Diana and her friends got together to beat the bad villains. I liked it that Diana still persevere that fighting spirit till the end despite what it would cost her. That part really moved me a lot. 

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14 Responses
  1. Lark Says:

    Awesome review, Melody! And thanks again for suggesting this book. I'm not sure I would have read it otherwise, and I would really have missed out on a fun read. :)

  2. Melody Says:

    Lark - Thanks again for reading this book with me, Lark! I really enjoyed all our buddy reading moments and I'm glad you enjoyed this book as well. :)

  3. I was really surprised the novel has a modern setting. I am listening to the audio version right now and enjoying it. I still have a ways to go, but I am looking forward to seeing how it all turns out. I am glad you and Lark enjoyed it!

  4. Melody Says:

    Wendy - Me too. Didn't expect there's a modern-day setting but I think it makes the overall storyline more appealing with the two different world and timeline. Hope you'll enjoy reading this as much as we did.

  5. jenclair Says:

    :) I may have to give this one a try! Glad both of you enjoyed it!

  6. Melody Says:

    Jenclair - Hope you'll enjoy it! :)

  7. The Bookworm Says:

    I've heard good things about this one and it sounds interesting. Glad you enjoyed it.

  8. Jenny Says:

    I didn’t even know this book existed until today. I haven’t read any books by Bardugo yet but have heard such good things that I’m sure she gets Wonder Woman right!

  9. Melody Says:

    Naida - I totally enjoyed reading this and I hope there's more books featuring Wonder Woman. :)

  10. Melody Says:

    Jenny - This is my first Bardugo book and it wouldn't be my last. Now I've gotta check out her other books.

  11. Iliana Says:

    I loved the Wonder Woman series with Lynda Carter. She was amazing wasn't she? Sounds like a fun read especially as it took you back to your childhood memories!

  12. Melody Says:

    Iliana - Yes, she definitely is! I love books that take me back to my childhood/teenage memories. I'm definitely hoping to see more superhero stories in books aside from comic and movies. :)

  13. Susan Says:

    Can't wait to read this one. It sounds awesome!

  14. Melody Says:

    Susan - It was a great read and I'm glad to read it with Lark. :)

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