December 30, 2020

Abbreviations #116: Wonder Woman: Warbringer, Terrier + The Rise of Kyoshi

It only took me three years, but I finally read Wonder Woman: Warbringer and I loved it! This novel is penned by Leigh Bardugo (one of my favorites) as part of the DC Icons series, which is a series of novels that reimagine some of our favorite DC superheroes as teens. Diana is insecure about her place on the island of Themyscira, constantly questioning her choices and doing what she must in order to earn the acknowledgment she craves. One choice – to save a young woman from a shipwreck just off the coast of their obscured island which just so happens to be against the laws of her people – changes her life forever, as Alia Keralis just so happens to be a Warbringer (AKA an individual fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and chaos). To save both of their worlds from ultimate destruction, the pair must team up to fend off foes mortal and divine alike who would like to kill or possess the Warbringer. While Wonder Woman: Warbringer felt like your typical superhero story at the beginning, Bardugo eventually transforms Diana’s story (and Alia’s as well, really) into one that surprised me at many turns. The lore is brilliant, combining a touch of Greek mythology with the modern world in a way that really worked for me. The character work is well-done, with secondary characters that I thoroughly enjoyed reading about. I cared so deeply about Diana and Alia, who are both just young women trying to figure things out (which is seriously so relatable). And, honestly, I was just so entertained! I laughed, I swooned, and I got the shivers (of the good kind) while I was reading. While it took me much too long to get around to reading it (I’m still kicking myself for that, don’t worry!), it was a stellar book and I’m so happy I finally got to it!

Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons #1) | Pub Info: August 28, 2017 by Random House

is the first book in the Beka Cooper trilogy, which is also the last series set in Pierce’s Tortall universe that I have left to complete. This book is set hundreds of years in the past, and Beka is a young woman brought up in the Lower City and currently in training to become a Provost’s Guard. Under the watchful eye of her two Dogs (her mentors, basically), Beka finds herself involved in two separate murder investigations. She’s determined to keep the folks and place she calls home safe, and so, she takes it upon herself to crack the cases with a little help from friends new and old. I really enjoyed Terrier! It’s different from the other Tortall series because 1) it’s set in the past, 2) it primarily takes place in the Lower City, and 3) it’s narrated through Beka’s journal entries. The book offers a fresh perspective on the world of Tortall, as well as a new heroine to fall in love with who is smart, brave, loyal and determined to see justice done. Add a compelling plot, endearing secondary characters, and Pierce’s easy-to-devour writing style, and you’ve got a winning novel combination – for me, at least! While Terrier could stand on its own, it does work very well as the start of a series too, and I’m looking forward to finding out what happens next for Beka and her pals.

Terrier (Beka Cooper #1) | Pub Info: October 24, 2006 by Random House

As a fan of both Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra, it was basically a no brainer that I would read The Rise of Kyoshi eventually. Luckily, my friend Kristin picked it out of my TBR list for me to read this year! It’s the first in a duology that centers around a young Kyoshi and her journey towards becoming the Avatar we see in the animated series. This novel is so well-done! F.C. Yee pens an entirely new “making the Avatar” journey that not only shares some parallels with Aang and Korra, but it also has enough unique details (including the current political climate and Kyoshi’s own personality) to make it stand out from the group. It was interesting getting to know more about Kyoshi, especially because readers will get to read about her formative younger years. Even though I didn’t immediately click with her, she was still compelling to read about. Plus, she also gets her own Team Avatar, who are so unexpected and absolutely one of the highlights of the book! I also admired how Yee deftly weaves in various worldbuilding details fans are familiar with and captures the spirit at the heart of every Avatar story. It enhanced the reading experience and made me wish that I could see this story animated (especially the bending and action-packed scenes) someday! While I’d be hesitant to recommend this to folks who aren’t already in the fandom (ATLA is still the best starting point), I definitely think that if you do happen to be a fan, you’ll want to read Kyoshi’s story for sure!

The Rise of Kyoshi (The Kyoshi Novels #1) | Pub Info: July 16, 2019 by Amulet Books


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