Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

Daughter of immortals.

Princess 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 mortal. Diana will soon learn that she has rescued no ordinary girl, and that with this single brave act, she may have doomed the world.

Daughter of death.

Alia Keralis just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted by people who think her very existence could spark a world war. 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.


Two girls will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. Tested beyond the bounds of their abilities, Diana and Alia must find a way to unleash hidden strengths and forge an unlikely alliance. Because if they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.

“Sisters in battle, I am shield and blade to you. As I breathe, your enemies will know no sanctuary. While I live, your cause is mine.” 

This book honestly made me go through so many emotions that by the time I was done with it, I couldn’t help but cry.

This is the first book in the DC Icons series, where four YA authors write a brand new original story based on the teenage years of one DC icon. Leigh Bardugo, one of my favorite authors of all time, wrote about my favorite superhero of all time – Wonder Woman – and I honestly think it couldn’t have been any more perfect for me. I will have to say that if you’re expecting this book to follow the timeline of the movie, you are in for a big surprise. The movie and the book have nothing to do with each other, and honestly, I think that makes both of them that much more amazing.

Seeing Diana as a teenager at the present time was something that I certainly had to get used to. I know that a part of me wanted to envision Gal Gadot as Diana, but eventually, I was able to make her younger in my mind. Her character development from the time we see her beginning the race on Themiscyra through the ending of the book was absolutely amazing and so realistic to me. Diana is not perfect, and her development certainly wasn’t perfect to the point that it was almost godlike of her. She was just a seventeen-year-old girl learning about the new world by living in it and fighting for it, rather than just reading about it from the comfort of her own home. She is still full of wonder when she enters this world, especially when she is thrown into the heart and soul of New York City, and the name of Wonder Woman still applies. She may not be going by her moniker “Wonder Woman” in this book, but we all know who Diana is, and she is a wonderful woman.

Alia, this girl is amazing. I thoroughly thank Leigh Bardugo for creating so many POC characters in this book, and having them as actual main characters rather than just sideline characters. In fact, if you consider Diana to be a POC, then all the main characters are POCs. How rare is that though? I couldn’t believe it, and I loved how they were all written out! They weren’t all just black, or just one-dimensional characters to solely say that the book had POCs in it. No, this was well thought out on Bardugo’s end, and these characters were ones that I actually wanted to root for, that I could actually relate to.

Alia is half Black, half Greek, with her mom from Louisiana. She and her brother Jason attend a private school for the rich and fancy, and of course people like to assume that Alia is poor or a troublemaker because of her skin color. It’s sad, and it’s so racist, but it’s true. It happens in the real world and that’s something that I can directly relate to because I’ve been through similar. There was a passage during their time in New York City where Alia and Diana are in a convenience store, and of course, there’s a cop or security guard or whatever watching Alia because she’s dressed in dirty clothes. He automatically assumes that she’s going to steal something based on her appearance. Diana’s clothes are dirty too from their trip, but there’s no suspicion of Diana from the guard. Just Alia. That part – from the moment Alia noticed the guard starting at her to the time the guard stopped because she paid for their purchase without any issue – hit home for me and made me almost angry. I was angry like Alia was, and it made me wish that things weren’t an issue like that anymore. Alia knew it was because of her skin color, and so would the reader. Bardugo doesn’t hide the fact that racism and discrimination still exist in the world, and I’m glad she included a passage like that.

Alia is the rich one, and yet she was thought to be a potential thief.

Another quote that really stayed close to my heart was one when Alia was thinking about her mother, and when they were first going to the private school: 

“Look them in the eye, she’d always told her. Let them know who you are. When someone asked where you were from. When a new kid at Bennett wanted to know if she was on an athletic scholarship. Look them in the eye.”

This mentality of not backing down, not being afraid to be proud of who you are and where you’re from, making sure that when you tell people who you are you don’t give them any reason to doubt or make you feel inferior was something that I needed to hear in my life at that very moment. Alia has no reason to apologize or make an excuse for why she’s there. She has no reason to, and by making sure she maintains that eye contact, that silent strength about her, will tell the world that she belongs there no matter what they think. It was so important to her that she never forgot about it, and I can tell that she lives with that quote in her life during all of the difficult times that she’s been through. She rarely backs down, and as the book progresses she becomes so much more sure of herself and so strong that it only makes sense that her heritage is so commanding and demands respect. She’s descended from Helen, and she has something to be proud of.

I had so many good feelings about this book, and I loved it so much, in case you couldn’t tell. I hope there’s the potential to meet Alia and Nim again because there’s no way that Diana can only have them in such a small moment of her life. There’s no way. I would be so heartbroken if she never saw them again.

Rated: 5/5 

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo – Book Review

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo – Book Review

Alina Starkov doesn’t expect much from life. Orphaned by the Border Wars, she is sure of only one thing: her best friend, Mal–and her inconvenient crush on him. Until the day their army regiment enters the Fold, a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters. When their convoy is attacked and Mal is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power not even she knew existed.

Ripped from everything she knows, Alina is taken to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling. With Alina’s extraordinary power in his arsenal, he believes they can finally destory the Fold. Now Alina must find a way to master her untamed gift and somehow fit into her new life without Mal by her side. But nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. As the threat to the kingdom mounts and her dangerous attraction to the Darkling grows, Alina will uncover a secret that could tear her heart–and her country–in two.

“I missed you every hour. And you know what the worst part was? It caught me completely by surprise. I’d catch myself just walking around to find you, not for any reason, just out of habit, because I’d seen something that I wanted to tell you about or because I wanted to hear your voice. And then I’d realize that you weren’t there anymore, and every time,every single time, it was like having the wind knocked out of me. I’ve risked my life for you. I’ve walked half the length of Ravka for you, and I’d do it again and again and again just to be with you, just to starve with you and freeze with you and hear you complain about hard cheese every day. So don’t tell me why we don’t belong together,” he said fiercely.”

This book…

This book has been on my TBR list since it first came out. It was initially published back in 2012, and only now, at the very end of 2016 did I get a chance to finally read it. This is actually the case with a lot of other books that I have been meaning to read for years and just never got the chance to. Whether it was because I could never find a copy of the book to buy or borrow, or too many books that I wanted to read came out around the same time and I ended up forgetting about them until the next time I saw it again. Either way, I’m just glad that I was able to finally get my hands on the entire series and start with the first book.

One of the first things that I noticed when I was reading this book was the Russian influence in it. Granted, when I really felt like I was in some sort of alternate universe Russia, I took some time to read one of the reviews on GoodReads where it basically said that Bardugo didn’t do her proper research on Russian culture and messed up on some things throughout her book. If you want to read more about it, just let me know, or a quick search on GoodReads under the review section of this book, and I’m sure you will find it the same way that I did. Either way, since I read any bonus material until after I finished the book, it was at least nice to have it confirmed that I wasn’t going crazy, and that the reason why I felt like I was in some sort of Russian world was because Bardugo made it that way. If you haven’t read it before, the moment you look at the map, you’ll see what I mean.


This was definitely an exciting book for me to end the year with. Honestly, I don’t even want to read another book until the new year starts so that I can end 2016 with a really good story. It was one of the books that I just could not put down, and I really wish that I could have started this book sooner. Years sooner.

To start, Alina and Mal are both orphans, who grew up together under the care of a rich Duke that liked to adopt other orphans. I honestly don’t know if it was a play to be popular among the people, or if he genuinely didn’t want any of these orphans to grow up alone. It wasn’t like they didn’t have to earn their keep. They were working along with the rest of the house servants, as if he was just adding to his personal work force but didn’t have to give them money. I still can’t tell, especially when Alina ends up seeing him again sometime later. Well, Alina and Mal end up growing up together and end up serving in the First Army together, with Mal being an excellent tracker and Alina being a somewhat good cartographer. Well, their unit was sent to cross into the Shadow Fold, this extremely dark curse on the land that is filled with man eating creatures named volcra. Mostly anyone who has tried to cross the Fold winds up torn to pieces.

So when Alina and Mal are forced to cross over with members of the First and Second Army, it should come as no surprise when they get attacked and almost die. In fact, they would have died if it wasn’t for Alina, and that’s where the story really begins.

The Darkling, such a mysterious character that you don’t know whether to trust or run away from, ends up taking Alina under his wing, trying to make her stronger so that she can save her war torn country and bring peace to the lands. But is that really what his end goal is? His beautiful eyes and merciless behavior both draws people in and keeps them at bay. Even Alina can’t seem to resist his pull, and a part of her wants to be by his side, almost like the Darkling’s queen. With the Darkling as the most powerful Grisha in existence and Alina… well on the verge of becoming something great, there really wouldn’t be anything to stop them. But are they good or bad?

Will they save the world, or destroy it?

The different twists in this book had me on the edge of my seat. I couldn’t put this book down except to go to sleep and go to work. It was amazing. The world was one that I could really see in my mind, and Alina and Mal are two of my favorite characters in the entire book. I also liked another character, Genya, which if you’re someone like me, you’d like her too. I can’t wait to continue this series. My review probably didn’t sound like much of a review, but trust me when I say that I thoroughly enjoyed this ride.

Rated: 5/5 

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

Shadow and Bone is the first installment in Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy.

Synopsis provided by GoodReads.