I was one of the people that liked Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman but didn’t love the movie that much (though the scene where she crosses No Man’s Land was pretty amazing). Something about her character felt too naive to me – “humans are innocent, if I kill Ares, all conflict will stop forever.” As a result, I liked this teenage Wonder Woman much more. She believes in helping humans, giving people opportunities, but also doesn’t think that one thing alone can be blamed for human actions and wars. This is why she can be sympathetic to the titular Warbringer and her ancestors – they may have been the catalyst, but they could only be catalyst because those behaviors already existed in humans and were waiting for a spark.
After Diana witnesses a ship explode off the shores of the island, she rescues the lone survivor despite the prohibitions against bringing outsiders to Themyscira. When Diana consults the Oracle, she realizes her actions could have far more reaching consequences than she realized. Alia, the teenager she saved, is more than simply an heir to a biochem company who was caught in an unfortunate accident. As a descendant of Helen of Troy, she is a Warbringer. Descendants of Helen have been unintentionally acting as catalysts for war for millennia, and the ship’s explosion was on purpose and intended to prevent Alia from reaching the time when her powers would lead the world into chaos. Alia knows nothing of this, and Diana is quick to recognize that Alia is an innocent victim to fate and the gods in all this.
Fortunately, the Oracle also mentions a potential way to save the world that doesn’t involve Alia’s death, and Diana, being the developing hero she is, chooses the hard route over the easy and guaranteed win. Naturally, Alia thinks the whole things is insane but plays along simply to get back home, and then eventually comes around to Diana’s views. Bardugo does a great a job on this part, too – Alia doesn’t believe Diana right away, but also doesn’t spend too long resisting given all the odd happenings around them, making for the right amount of tension without prolonging it unnecessarily.
Alia’s older and very protective brother, Jason, her best friend and her crush round out the cast of characters. I honestly picked this up more out of curiosity and to hold me over till DC’s Catwoman novel is released because Sarah J. Maas wrote that one (!) so I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this one. I somehow missed out on Wonder Woman as a girl so I have never had a strong connection to the character, and I wasn’t a huge fan of Bardugo’s first Grisha book (I started the audiobook of Six of Crows at a time when I didn’t really have time for audiobooks so still working on that one) and I immensely enjoyed Bardugo’s writing in this one. Her characters are well fleshed out and developed in this one, and as I said before, this Diana Prince is absolutely one I can get behind – hopeful, driven by what’s right, believing in the good in people without being too naïve about human nature.