I should rename my blog from Book and Sword to Book and stab stab stab! Because nothing satisfies me lately, I have become the Grinch of YA books!
I will start off by saying that this was one of my most anticipated releases of 2017. I had so many good reasons to love it:
1. It's written by Leigh Bardugo (she is one of my all time FAVORITE AUTHORS).
2. I LOVED the WW movie when it came out earlier in the year.
3. It's written by Leigh...I've said that already.
Anyway, the most anticipated read quickly turned out to be the most disappointing read ever. I think my expectations were SKY-HIGH, so that didn't help either. Here's the deal - as a Wonder-Woman-hero-novel - this book BLOWS big time. As a greek-mythology-inspired-ya-book-with-Percy-Jackson-vibes - this book is pretty darn good.
As always, I will be honest, and as much as it pains me - I will not be rating this book by what I wished it could have been, but by what it is. Even if Leigh is my favorite author and I am still happy that I pre-ordered her book to support her - it won't change the fact that I really did not enjoy this novel. So sad, but true.
I didn't want this to be YA (to be honest this feels more like middle grade). It was just so PG! I didn't want this to have Percy Jackson vibes. I wanted a Wonder Woman book. Not a Wonder GIRL book.
“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.”
To start off this was incredibly slow paced, like snooze-button slow paced. It took 200 pages for an actual battle action scene to appear. 200 pages! Before that there was just a lot of talking, doing unnecessary and boring things, talking again and just a whole lot of boring. I honestly think that the book could have been at least 100 pages shorter.
It took me forever to read it because the story wasn't holding my attention. I didn't care about any of the characters either (I started to care for them when I had about 50 pages left till the end...).
From the very beginning I didn't like how Amazons were portrayed at all. Amazons were supposed to be a supportive and understanding community. Peace and equality was supposed to be the main focus. But from my point of view they were just a bunch of women who weren't very supportive of one another at all. And the fact that the general wasn't nice to Diana kind of spoiled the whole thing (but I blame the movie for that, as the movie general was the one who believed in Diana and I really liked that).
By the way, if you thought this was a novel based on the movie - you are wrong - it's a totally different story (which I knew from the start, but I still found myself wishing that it could have been more like the movie).
I also didn't really care for the portrayal of Diana either. You see, in my head Diana was this strong, confident and selfless woman. But, in this book Diana was just a teenage girl with insecurities and weaknesses. And while I can appreciate and relate to that, it's just not what Diana as Wonder Woman should represent.
“We cannot spend our lives in hiding, wondering what we might accomplish if given the chance. We have to take that chance ourselves.”
I liked Alia, but I also felt that as a main character she never really reached her full potential. Nim and Theo were nice additions, I actually enjoyed their squabbles. But, I think that their ending was an easy way out. I wished it was just left as it was before, it would have just been more realistic (those who already read will know what I'm talking about). Jason was an interesting character and I enjoyed the story twists that he brought in very, very much.
I really enjoyed all of the Greek Mythology brought into this, especially when gods started to show up and cause havoc in the mortal world. This parts were pretty great.
I liked how many issues were touched upon in this book - feminist issues, racial, cultural, sexual issues. But at times it also felt as if the author was just saying what she felt she needed to say (more specifically what she felt readers wanted to read) and not the actual characters speaking themselves. Well, if that wasn't confusing... In other words - it felt as if Leigh was just writing out her views on the world through her characters, instead of letting her characters talk.
I know that characters are her creations, but you know what I mean... Right?
The dialog also felt very forced. As if the characters were trying to be funny, but they just weren't. But, by the end of the book, about 300 pages in, I did laugh as the humor improved greatly by that point.
To wrap up, if this was just a mythology inspired adventure book - it would have been absolutely great. But as a Wonder Woman super hero book, it just wasn't. It didn't feel like a super hero book and Diana didn't feel like a Wonder Woman.
Freelance BETA reader.