“Super hero icons meet megastar authors” is the tagline from the publishers of a new set of YA novels and Leigh Bardugo, of Six of Crows and Grisha fame, has the honor of being the first one published. Any self-respecting underoos wearing adult, as a child, of course, has fallen under the spell of the blockbuster movie of the same title, Wonder Woman. Bardugo allays any fear of needing to see the movie before reading her book, but I was glad I did just the same. Any background information I can get before diving into a new world can never hurt.
Diana is just like any other normal teenager living under the microscopic view of her mother, seeming never to be quite good enough to gain her ever-seeking approval. Normal is relatively speaking, of course. She also happens to look like a six-foot-tall fitness model, is immortal, and can pretty much kick anyone’s ass if need be. She’s never been battle tested as the other Amazons have been and she is itching to prove her worth. She gets her chance when she spots the wreckage of a boat floating in the sea. Themyscira cannot be seen by man yet this boat managed to come closer than anything she’s seen before. Before she knows it, she’s cliff diving into the sea and plucks out the only survivor, a girl named Alia. Since Alia belongs to the world of man, the island is thrown into chaos. Illness and rot are spreading on the island, and the only solution is to kill Alia. Unfortunately, Alia is a warbringer. Daughter of Helen, and destined to bring chaos and carnage in the World of Man. The Oracle warns Diana of Alia’s fate, but Diana’s faith and belief drive her to help Alia instead of killing her. The two set out for Greece, Helen’s final resting place where Alia can be cleansed of this curse. Instead of Greece, the two land in modern-day Manhattan. Alia is from here, living with her older overbearing brother Jason. Their brilliant scientist parents died several years ago in a car accident, leaving their fortune and company, Keralis Labs. Jason’s protectiveness is come by naturally, death threats are plenty when you are loaded plus the bonus that some people didn’t approve of their parent’s research. Despite Diana’s attempts to keep their presence a secret, soon Jason, Alia’s best friend Nim, and Theo, her crush all find themselves being shot at, almost killed by bombs, jumping out of planes, and stealing cars all to help out Alia.
Diana’s sense of right and wrong are a perfect juxtaposition for the setting of this story. She's seen the ugly side of man while Alia points out the good. Both girls deal with identity and understanding where they belong in the world, something any teen can relate to. All the characters, especially Nim and Theo, were fantastic and I am very anxious to see if this story bleeds into any of the others as it was left somewhat open-ended. Full of action, girl-power, and solid world-building, an easy recommendation for fans or non-fans alike.