12th Oct2020

‘Diana and the Island of No Return: Wonder Woman Adventures #1’ Book Review

by Chris Cummings

Written by Aisha Saeed | Published by Random House | Format: Hardback, 250pp

Written by the massively talented author Aisha Saeed (Amal Unbound, Written in the Stars), Diana and the Island of No Return is a new Wonder Woman adventure, the first, in fact, of three middle-grade adventures in this new series.

A slick, easy-to-read 250 pages, Diana and the Island of No Return tells the story of a young Diana who desires a life as an Amazon, and wishes to train with them in her home of Themyscira. She pushes and pleads and tries, as she plans to get a blessing from her mother, the Queen of Themyscira, Hippolyta. Then things become a little more problematic for the strong-willed and focused young princess, when a boy visits the island to inform them of an evil that wishes to destroy all they hold dear. With a plan to fight against this new risk to Themyscira and the lands around it, Diana and her friend Sakina must try to save everybody by going head-to-head with this cruel force of bad.

It’s a coming-of-age tale in the guise of a young Wonder Woman finding who she is and realising her true potential, and it works wonderfully. This is the perfect introduction, for young readers, to the world of Wonder Woman, Diana and Themyscira, tangling these new characters around this existing land in a very slick way. There’s an emphasis here on cultural diversity in the characters, and the way Diana is built as a character in the 250 pages is done masterfully by Saeed. There isn’t all that much more to say about the plot, because the plot really is about a group of kick-ass kids who aim to defeat a demon. It’s pretty wonderful, really (pardon the pun).

It’s a tale with a lot of heart, with characters packed with likeability and, to those of the desired demographic, relatability. It’s fast-paced and doesn’t ever feel sluggish or tedious, which is important. It’s just plain fun, and yet it has plenty to say that is important for younger readers to think about. A tale of individuality, of finding a passion and pushing to follow it, and to believe in your own abilities, Diana and the Island of No Return is a strong start to a new series with potential to be something very good indeed. The ending was a touch on the ambiguous side, not really filling in all the gaps or answering all the questions that were asked during the tale, but there’s time for that, surely, in the future books.

This is a breezy release, a book that will appeal to the 8-12 year-olds that it aims to reach, but it’s also a great deal of fun for those who just enjoy Wonder Woman and want to read something of an origin tale in the guise of a very light story. Smart writing with characters who feel multidimensional and intelligent, it has a lot going for it, and I recommend it for sure. A great deal of fun.

**** 4/5

Diana and the Island of No Return: Wonder Woman Adventures #1 is out now.

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