Been meaning to do this for a while now. Picked up a copy at the BEA back in May, excited to read it, sailing along at an good pace... and then the shit pissed me off. Still haven't finished it yet, so this'll lead me into my review when it comes out next week. FYI: this isn't a tie-in with the DCU movies. It's a YA prequel in line with the classic comics version of Diana being shaped from clay and brought to life. Feel free to comment as you like.
Chapter 1: “You do not enter a race to lose”.
Pithy words of advice from Hippolyta to Diana just before the start of the big footrace during the Nemesian Games. Diana’s starting to come into her own; friends and rivals also are competing- you know the drill. Tekmessa, aka Tek, the queen’s right hand advisor, teases Diana by calling her Pyxis- a clay pot used to store makeup- as a reminder of Diana’s origins. Unlike the other Amazons, Di wasn’t granted immortality by calling out to the various goddesses upon her death and whisked away Valkyrie-style, but that she’s Hippolyta’s wish made real. Whatever… Di’s not gonna lose today- she’s got a plan! She and her BFF Maeve mapped out the course and even spied- well , not exactly spied… she’s scouted- the competition, and knows what she needs to do. Themiscyra has an unusual topography; a blend of different climes and terrains from all over the world, all the various places the women come from. The island seeks to please, it’s said. Diana knows it like the back of her hand. This time she’ll win!
Running along the coastline, Di spots a ship along the horizon, near the boundary- a schooner, maybe? So many different types of ships have developed through the years, hard to keep track of them all. She and Maeve had often tried to name all the ships and planes they saw, always keeping just clear of the island because their instruments and compasses would suddenly stop functioning properly.
The sound of an explosion reaches her and Di can see the schooner’s on fire! Shipwrecks were common enough along the rocks, helping to protect the secret of the island, a necessary evil… …until she hears the cry. It was a gull- yeah, that’s it. No, it’s not… but how could a human cry carry so far?
She’s got the lead, she’s ahead in the race- it’ll just be for a second, a quick look. No lifeboats or anything, doesn’t look like there’s even any survivors. Still got time; she can make it back to her route and still win the race. Turning around, she takes one more look back… And you know what they say about looking back. It’s the challenge, she tells herself. She wants to see if she could survive the dive off the cliff, like a true Amazon. Because even if there’s survivors, she knows she’s forbidden from helping them.
She feels the temperature of the water change, signaling the nearness of the boundary. She & Maeve always swam out here, testing themselves. Once a ship had seen them and Maeve joked they could be like sirens, luring sailors to their doom. Among the wreckage of the ship she sees a girl, bobbing facedown. The whole time swimming back to the shore her mind is screaming about the folly she’s committing. Better to just let go of the girl, let her slip beneath the waves…
On the beach, Di attempts CPR and almost doesn’t when the girl’s ribs bend on her first attempt! What are these mortals made of- balsa wood? Second attempt goes better; the girl lives. And she’s on the island. The girl asks about others- no, no one else survived. The human is brown skinned, with a mass of braids. Diana remembers they need to get out of sight; the mortal’s having some trouble even sitting upright. Diana tries to remember what her tutors taught her about mortals: body temperature, eating habits, war, pollution, bad grammar…
Di tells her to get on her back so she can take them up the cliffs. Soon as they take off the girl’s ready to vomit. Diana’s read about that. Not good. The cliffside is dotted with caves, including one Di & Maeve liked to hang out in and stocked with a few items- blankets, snacks, etc. The girl, Alia, is worried, wants to call the police, look for her friends. Diana discourages that line of thought. Diana knows she’ll be noticed missing; Alia doesn’t want her to leave, but Di promises to return. 17 pgs.