Title: Monstress (Volume 1: The Awakening)
Author: Marjorie M. Liu (Illustrator: Sana Tadeka)
Genre: Graphic Novel, Fantasy
Edition: Kindle (192 pages)
Publisher: Image (July 13, 2016)
Date Read: 2/18/2017
Set in an alternate matriarchal 1900’s Asia, in a richly imagined world of art deco-inflected steam punk, MONSTRESS tells the story of a teenage girl who is struggling to survive the trauma of war, and who shares a mysterious psychic link with a monster of tremendous power, a connection that will transform them both and make them the target of both human and otherworldly powers.
*Warning: Graphic images ahead…
Wow! How have I been missing out on this awesomeness all this time? Having never before read a graphic novel, I was unsure what to expect from Monstress. Going in… I was hesitant. Coming out… I was in love. In love with graphic novels! Why did I wait so long, you may ask. Well, for whatever reason, I never really thought I could get into a graphic novel. I never knew what kind of amazing experience they could bring about. But I know now, and I’m super grateful I decided to pick this one up.
Monstress is a historical fantasy story set in Asia, with a bad ass Maika Halfwolf as our main character who is attempting to fight the connection she has with a powerful, evil being. That plot? Boy, that plot was intriguing. I found myself fully engrossed in the storyline. Liu definitely developed an imaginative creation that allows you to feel as though you’re a part of the story yourself.
The characters were all developed nicely, as well. I think the fact that this was a graphic novel helped with getting to know the characters on a personal level, as well as growing an emotional attachment to them. Being able to visualize and see them on the page, and watch their emotions and actions, was an incredible experience for me. There were so many characters that were just plain adorable… like Little Fox. I loved her cute little face! And I loved how Maika looked out for those around her. She was fierce and strong, but also soft and caring at the same time.
What I adored most about Monstress was the artwork. Absolutely phenomenal! As I said, the plot was amazing, but to me, the artwork is what made the story. The images were highly detailed and so vibrant, they seemed to jump right off the page. I have to give props to the talented artist who did such a wonderful job bringing this novel to life. I was enthralled… literally stopping to stare at the drawings for a while before being able to move on to the next page.
This was a very “graphic” novel. And when I say “graphic”, I mean not suitable for younger readers, or readers who are easily offended. The reason I say this is because there are many graphic and gory scenes, as well as profane language. This didn’t bother me, personally… but it may upset or bother someone else. So I just wanted to give a heads up on that aspect of the story. If this were a movie, it’d be rated R, for sure.
Monstress was without a doubt a five star read for me, and my absolute favorite read of February (possibly my favorite so far this year!) This was a brilliant start to the series, and I’m looking forward to continuing on with Volume 2. I’m sure it will be just as amazing as its predecessor. If you’re into graphic novels, or even if you aren’t!, I highly recommend this one. As long as you’re ok with the violence and language, grab a copy of this now!