Being sick for the last few weeks has allowed me to catch up on my reading. During that time, I finished a Justice League of America prose novel that I’ve had next to my bed for months. I even forgot to list it as a book I was reading on my Goodreads page, which was weird since I use that to keep track of my reading endeavors and goals. This time, the member center stage was the beautiful and inimitable Wonder Woman.
Wonder Woman: Mythos was released way back in 2003. Written by Carol Lay, it is part of a group of prose novels about the JLA. I had read two of the books in that series – Green Lantern’s Hero’s Quest, and the Flash’s Stop Motion. There are six books in all. With the first two books in the series, I was underwhelmed, especially with Hero’s Quest. That was a bit of a hot mess, which is why I gave it two stars. I hated to do it because I like Denny O’Neil. At least I liked his comic work. His prose work had much to be desired.
I was not expecting much with Wonder Woman: Mythos because the first two novels didn’t really cut the mustard for me. That lack of expectation allowed me to enjoy this one much more than the others.
Wonder Woman – The Setup
The basic gist of the story is that Wonder Woman finds herself investigating the disappearance of one half of a honeymoon couple down in the Bermuda Triangle. They were a pair of divers and the new husband gets separated from his wife and disappears. This is near Wonder Woman’s home of Themyscira (also known as Paradise Island). Wonder Woman goes home to get some insight and advice on how to pursue the case and is given a cryptic message from the Oracle.
The one thing I appreciated was how well researched Carol understood deep sea diving and marine environment. Methinks she has a bit of personal experience there. Though it was borderline of being an info dump at times, she would pull off and get back to the main story.
As I’ve said in other reviews, I’m a stickler for the active voice. It brings the action of the story front-and-center and keeps it moving. I’m used to changing things in my head to the active voice when I feel like it will enhance the scene and it was no different with this book. However, what was refreshing was that I didn’t have to edit that much. That made the entire reading experience more fluid and enjoyable.
I was also impressed with the proper use and controlled placement of adverbs. I hate their overuse and I kill them in my writing whenever possible, opting for rewriting the sentence if it makes sense. Copious use of adverbs is lazy, horrible writing. The writing is actually what kept me reading on this one. Lay did well here.
Wonder Woman – The Story
There didn’t seem to be any huge plot holes in the story. It is well-structured. Nothing appeared contrived. However, there seemed to be some dangling details that weren’t explained well.
For example, in one part of the story, the Green Lantern (Kyle Rayner, who I’m not a fan of) had his ring infected. This infection affected him negatively. Lay never explains why the ring could be infected, especially since they deal heavily in magic. The Green Lantern’s ring is not magic, but it could be affected by magic because … we don’t know. We are never told.
Is there a climax to the story? Ehh … not really. This is where I believe the proverbial ball got dropped. It’s a situation where the hero of the story ends up being someone you didn’t expect. Wonder Woman has a hand in it, but there are two characters who do far more than she does to save the day. That’s the Achilles heel of the novel.
Grant it … I didn’t expect a knockdown, drag out fight because it’s not Wonder Woman-esque. She’s a powerful Amazonian who is more comfortable being a diplomat, talking about love and peace than ready to mix it up at the drop of a hat. Lay got that part right. But her tameness isn’t presented as the strength that overcomes, though it could have been.
Though Wonder Woman is the principal focus of this story, the rest of the JLA are involved. Lay does a decent job going back and forth between them, keeping them distinct. The pacing is very good there.
This book was much better than Hero’s Quest (that’s not a hard feat to accomplish) and better than Stop Motion by a margin because it had better structure and pacing. Since I give letter grades here, I’m going to give this a B- and my Goodreads score will probably be 3-stars.
I can say this — each book gets better than the last one. So when I decide to revisit this series, I expect the next book to be decent.