Once upon a time, it was the 1980s, and I was a He-Man/She-Ra fan. I’d turn on the TV when I got home from high school, and keep it on in the background as I did my homework, talked on the phone, and got on with my day. Years later, She-Ra relaunched on Netflix, and despite an initial redesign uproar, it’s gotten pretty rave feedback. I haven’t had a chance to watch it yet (my TBW – To Be Watched – list is almost as terrifying as my TBR), but I have to find a way to make that happen now that I’ve read the first chapter book in the new series, Origin of a Hero.
Not a mere relaunch, but a continuation of the original He-Man and She-Ra universe, Origin of a Hero introduces us to Adora and Catra, two girls being raised by a group known as The Horde. The Horde is at odds with The Rebellion, a group of princesses who are fighting to keep their world, Etheria, safe from The Horde. But Adora and Catra don’t hear that story: to them, The Horde is fighting the good fight against the evil, awful princesses. Adora and Catra are like frenemies, because Adora is the golden girl and the apple of the Shadow Weaver’s eye – the mother figure to both Adora and Catra – where Catra is jealous, but too fond of breaking rules and taking the easy way out to excel. Adora stumbles on an artifact – a sword – that gives her a vision of a warrior in white, and calls to her about honor, and she’s confused, but drawn to the sword. Meanwhile, a princess named Glimmer and her best friend, Bow, go searching for ancient artifacts and guess who they bump into? When the group is set upon by a giant robot insect, they seek shelter in an old ruin with the word “Eternia” written in runes that only Adora can read. Once inside the ruin, Adora finds that there’s more to the sword than just visions: it gives her the power to transform into the legendary She-Ra!
What a great beginning for a new generation of She-Ra fans! Adora has her nemesis origin up and running, because we all know Catra is bad news. She’s learned that Fake News has formed her life thus far; being raised to believe that the princesses are evil and The Horde is good, and being faced with the destruction and devastation wrought by The Horde when she meets Glimmer and Bow in the Whispering Woods. More of the original universe’s story is yet to be revealed, but with a second book, Island of Magical Creatures, already available and a third book, Song of the She-Witch, coming on November 5, I’m hooked and ready to commit to this series – and get my library kids in on it. And I’ll be pulling up She-Ra on Netflix to see if it lives up to the hype. The books are illustrated in two-color pink and white, with swords, stars, and runes decorating the borders of each page. This is an intermediate series to get in on now; the books are coming out pretty regularly and the series is starting its fourth season on November 5. Check out the trailer.