Monstress, Vol. 1
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.

Monstress, Vol. 1 Details

TitleMonstress, Vol. 1
Author
FormatPaperback
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 19th, 2016
PublisherImage Comics
ISBN1632157098
ISBN-139781632157096
Number of pages202 pages
Rating
GenreComics, Fantasy, Graphic Novels, Graphic Novels Comics, Horror, Science Fiction, Sequential Art, Steampunk

Monstress, Vol. 1 Review

  • Melanie
    March 6, 2017
    Readalong for the BooktubeSFF Awards which is being hosted by Adriana from Perpetual Pages, Chelsea from TheReadingOutlaw, Samantha from Novels and Nonsense, Connor from Connor O'Brien, Elizabeth from Books and Pieces, Kaitlin from Kitty G, Sam from Thoughts on Tomes, Elena from Elena Reads Books, and Thomas from SFF180!I loved absolutely everything about this graphic novel. To date, it is by far the best graphic novel I have ever read, and even surpasses my love for Saga. I am completely blo Readalong for the BooktubeSFF Awards which is being hosted by Adriana from Perpetual Pages, Chelsea from TheReadingOutlaw, Samantha from Novels and Nonsense, Connor from Connor O'Brien, Elizabeth from Books and Pieces, Kaitlin from Kitty G, Sam from Thoughts on Tomes, Elena from Elena Reads Books, and Thomas from SFF180!I loved absolutely everything about this graphic novel. To date, it is by far the best graphic novel I have ever read, and even surpasses my love for Saga. I am completely blown away, and will count down the days until Vol. 2 releases (June 6th, 2017).This story follows a seventeen year old girl named Maika, whose story starts out where she is being sold as a slave. The reader will immediately notice that Maika has a very strange tattoo of an eye on her chest, and she is missing an arm. Yet, it becomes very clear very early that Maika is much stronger than what she seems. Maika is struggling to hold in her monster, while also trying to get answers from her past. With the help of an adorable little half-fox and a poet cat, Maika is on a journey to discover herself, her past, and what's truly inside of her, all while she carries a very mysterious and sought after item.In this world there are five races:➽Humans - Like you and me.➽Ancients - Immortal, animal-like rulers with an immense amount of power.➽Cats - Much like people, can speak and fight, but much more adorable. ➽Old Gods - Little to no knowledge of them. ➽Areanics - Half-breeds.Also in this world, there are factions at war:➽The Federation - Humans, who just hate magic users and refuse to let them live and breed. These humans will take Arcanics and make them slaves to do whatever terrible things they wish. ➽Arcanics - Magic users, who are sort of hybrids of the Ancients. Also, two powerful courts, the Dawn Court and the Dusk Court, have risen up to defend against the Cumaea.➽Cumaea - Witch-like people that use Arcanic's body parts to make Lillium.People in this world will use a drug like substance called Lillium for power, regeneration, and in some cases, resurrection. Between the war and the use of this magical substance, this world is also now aware of things much bigger than the Federation and Arcanics.This graphic novel is not only bigger than most bind-ups, but it has significantly more writing than most graphic novels, too! You receive a lot, and I do mean a lot, of information and very quickly. This really worked for me, because it became way more of an immersion, while also reading closer to a book. Yet, I can understand how this would be a different reading experience for some, so I felt the need to bring it up. The story is so brilliant and impactful. I can already tell I'm going to be thinking about this world for such a long time, because this is the type of story that just sticks with you, while festering in your heart. I truly love everything about this. The art was so magnificent and I found myself constantly just staring at some pages in disbelief that a human created it. This art also brought very many tears to my eyes very many times, constantly evoking so much pure emotion from me. On top of having an amazing story, it is the best art I've ever seen in a comic, ever.Trigger warnings for human trafficking, slavery, child brutality, and many other dark themes that are in the violence and gore vein. This is a dark story, and it doesn't shy away from that darkness or its brutality.I loved everything about this graphic novel: the story, the characters, the art, the representation, everything. I honestly cannot see any graphic work ever beating this. I am in awe and my thoughts probably aren't even coherent, but this is something unique and special. Please give this comic series a try if you haven't already. I swear to you with my entire soul, this is nothing short of a masterpiece. This is maybe even a once in a lifetime masterpiece. I never put graphic novels on my "best of the year" list, but I think this is the year I make an exception for Monstress.Blog | Twitter | Tumblr | Instagram | Youtube | Twitch
    more
  • Connor
    March 4, 2017
    Woah! I'm completely here for this series now. The artwork was incredible. The plot was compelling and interesting. I enjoyed the characters immensely. All around fantastic!
  • Amanda
    February 21, 2017
    4.5 stars. Great start to what I hope is a long series.
  • Brad
    February 21, 2017
    Here's something awesome for you. I'm a TOTAL pushover for great art, great nasty story, and MONSTERS INSIDE US.I mean, I've read the whole Naruto series twice and that whole story arc of the kid with the nine-tailed demon fox living within him was all kinds of awesome. So why do I love Monstress?The demon living inside her, of course. SOOOO COOL!Really, though, the artwork is all kinds of amazing and the story kicks me in my bollocks. It's bloody, it's disturbing, it's setting us up for all kin Here's something awesome for you. I'm a TOTAL pushover for great art, great nasty story, and MONSTERS INSIDE US.I mean, I've read the whole Naruto series twice and that whole story arc of the kid with the nine-tailed demon fox living within him was all kinds of awesome. So why do I love Monstress?The demon living inside her, of course. SOOOO COOL!Really, though, the artwork is all kinds of amazing and the story kicks me in my bollocks. It's bloody, it's disturbing, it's setting us up for all kinds of epic, and I'm completely hooked. It's kinda like Claymore and Berserk rolled into one, only the artwork is fully realized and colored on every page and it's just soooo gorgeous. And disturbing. :)I can't wait to see what kind of friendship they strike up. :)
    more
  • Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
    February 18, 2017
    What stunning artwork! A really short read, but I can't wait to see the next one. This part is like a short glimpse into a really mysterious and very different world, but so little is given, it leaves you wishing for more. You'll want to find out how this world works - why do these people look mostly like humans but are not? Why do the real humans dissect, torture and even eat these human-looking characters who talk? Why is the world almost solely made of women? What are the two-tailed talking c What stunning artwork! A really short read, but I can't wait to see the next one. This part is like a short glimpse into a really mysterious and very different world, but so little is given, it leaves you wishing for more. You'll want to find out how this world works - why do these people look mostly like humans but are not? Why do the real humans dissect, torture and even eat these human-looking characters who talk? Why is the world almost solely made of women? What are the two-tailed talking cats? So many questions, and quite little answers, so it just keeps you impatiently waiting for the next installment.There's also an interesting point in this story. The fact that they call these pseudo-humans animals and eat them makes you wonder - is this a lot different from how we eat animals? If it makes it so fundamentally wrong to eat them if they talk, is it so much less wrong to eat them when they, well, moo and oink? Where's that line between life and consciousness, our right to manipulate it? All good questions.
    more
  • Caro M.
    February 16, 2017
    3 stars rounded up to 4 for amazing graphics.Well, this was interesting. This graphic novel seems to be a bit of everything - somewhat manga, but not really, fantasy in general, but with a tad of history, generally YA in tone, but talking about serious issues such as racism, slavery and torture. Graphic side is beautiful and mind blowing - to the point I wasn't just reading the dialogues and getting through the story pretty fast, as it often happens with graphic novels, but I actually enjoyed lo 3 stars rounded up to 4 for amazing graphics.Well, this was interesting. This graphic novel seems to be a bit of everything - somewhat manga, but not really, fantasy in general, but with a tad of history, generally YA in tone, but talking about serious issues such as racism, slavery and torture. Graphic side is beautiful and mind blowing - to the point I wasn't just reading the dialogues and getting through the story pretty fast, as it often happens with graphic novels, but I actually enjoyed looking at characters and steampunk-deco style of art. Sana Takeda did awesomely great job!A bit of fangirling now... There's a talking cat in this story, you guys! A talking Nekomancer double tailed cat!!!! And he's adorable!!!!OK, I'm done fangirling.The story itself reminded me a bit of the Daughter of Smoke & Bone and a bit of the Berserk, Vol. 1 manga - first because of the chimeras and wings and tails and whatnot, second - because of the violence and fantasy world and, well, monsters. It's a bit hurried and messed up in the beginning, it's hard to understand what is going on, but once you get through, it gets much smoother, you just need some, well, patience. I was somewhat surprised by amount of f-bombs, I don't think it was necessary and sometimes it just looked forced.In general - I really like this series and I will be waiting for what happens next with the cat Maika and her friends.
    more
  • Philip
    February 2, 2017
    3ish stars. This is a good volume 1 with a cool, BA heroine (view spoiler)[(slash villain?) (hide spoiler)] and some of the art, especially the issue covers and full-page panels, is pretty beautiful. At first the story seems like your typical epic fantasy, race wars, magic, Chosen One. It ends up a lot stranger and creepier than that, which is a good thing. The heroine/monstress, Maika Halfwolf is super cool and not a typical heroine. Other interesting characters include cute little fox-girl Kip 3ish stars. This is a good volume 1 with a cool, BA heroine (view spoiler)[(slash villain?) (hide spoiler)] and some of the art, especially the issue covers and full-page panels, is pretty beautiful. At first the story seems like your typical epic fantasy, race wars, magic, Chosen One. It ends up a lot stranger and creepier than that, which is a good thing. The heroine/monstress, Maika Halfwolf is super cool and not a typical heroine. Other interesting characters include cute little fox-girl Kippa (I just want to take her home and keep her and pinch her cheeks and love her forever) and various talking cats. The setting professes to be "1900’s Asia, in a richly imagined world of art deco-inflected steampunk" which I think is misleading. The artist, Sana Takeda, definitely incorporates some art-deco inspired elements but I didn't get 1900s Asia or any steampunk. I didn't think the villains were that cool except for the monster-thing. Whatever's going on with that is crazy and disturbing and I love it. The art is mostly beautiful. Certain characters are especially well-drawn throughout and a lot of the architecture and indoor layouts are really impressive and highly detailed. I feel like the artwork gets a little sloppy as it goes on and impacts the storytelling especially because the plot itself gets confusing at times, but whenever there are large or full-page panels, they're stunning.Overall a solid first collection worth checking out.
    more
  • Trina (Between Chapters)
    January 15, 2017
    Sometimes I can have a hard time getting into fantasy comics because they have a short page count to introduce you to big worlds, and that was definitely the case here. My interest was so lukewarm with this one that I do not plan to continue this series. The story and characters are NOT bad by any means, this story in this format just didn't work for me personally. I'd love to see it as a movie or something though!Why you should consider picking this one up:-It's written by amazing POC women!-It Sometimes I can have a hard time getting into fantasy comics because they have a short page count to introduce you to big worlds, and that was definitely the case here. My interest was so lukewarm with this one that I do not plan to continue this series. The story and characters are NOT bad by any means, this story in this format just didn't work for me personally. I'd love to see it as a movie or something though!Why you should consider picking this one up:-It's written by amazing POC women!-It features amazing POC women!-It's sci-fi/fantasy that features a main character with a disability!-If you're looking for an original fantasy story in comics.-If you like cats.My more detailed, less organized thoughts...What I liked:-The art.-The main character is fierce and I want to know more about her past and whatever is happening to her currently.-Kippa's loyalty and insight about fear and friendship.-Who run the world? GIRLS!-CATS!What I didn't like:-I have no idea why anything is happening. What IS the mask? Why is it important? What's up with Maika's mom and background? Why are these races at war? Why is there a chart that says there are 5 known types of beings and yet I feel like we've seen at least 20? What are the motivations of anyone? What is happening? Instead of building curiosity, the storytelling just left me frustrated and confused.-The world building. So from above you can tell that I have a lot of questions about this world and story but I felt this needed to be a separate point. I read on the Image website that this story is set in an alternate version of Asia, but NOWHERE in the comic did I pick up on that. There is nothing about this story, other than the use of the word 'human' approximately 3 times and 2 scenes that looked like they were set in ancient Egypt, that hints at this being any version of Earth. If this is Earth, where did all these other beings come from? Where did the magic come from? What was the source of this war?-The storytelling / info dumps. We're thrown right into the thick of things and it's quite like if your first exposure to Marvel is a fight scene from Avengers 2, when you've never even heard of any of these characters before. Who's on what side? Why are they fighting? Why is that guy green? Why do they have powers? Beyond the chaotic introduction, one aspect that further baffled me was the info dumps between chapters. We'd get these one page spreads of a cat telling us the history of the world but this information seemed like too little too late (it explained things that would have been good to know chapters ago!) and it being told this way also felt very out of place, not integrated into the story so it was hard to take in without seeing it in action.-I'm personally not a fan of the type of violence included. It's a little too gross-out for me. (Like, people cutting off limbs of other people to eat them.)Eh, not for me. But it might be for you!
    more
  • Wren | WrensReads
    January 11, 2017
    WrensReads Review:Recommend by Caleb! This...Whole thing...Was BEAUTIFUL!Like, Sana Takeda.. I tip my hat to you. I found myself lost in the art than the story itself. Not that I didn't love Marjorie M. Liu's story telling and Rus Wooton designs, because I totally did, but the art just was wonderful.This is definitely a high high HIGH fantasy book. I am talking multiple-tailed cats, people who are half some-type of animal, and a different type of world entirely. Maika Halfwolf, our heroine, is s WrensReads Review:Recommend by Caleb! This...Whole thing...Was BEAUTIFUL!Like, Sana Takeda.. I tip my hat to you. I found myself lost in the art than the story itself. Not that I didn't love Marjorie M. Liu's story telling and Rus Wooton designs, because I totally did, but the art just was wonderful.This is definitely a high high HIGH fantasy book. I am talking multiple-tailed cats, people who are half some-type of animal, and a different type of world entirely. Maika Halfwolf, our heroine, is suffering from PTSD (she was in a big war and has the scars to prove it [she's missing an arm and I think that's kind of awesome the main girl has that]), and not to mention she has some type of dark energy talking to her and trying to take over her whole being because of some mask. You see, she is set on trying to figure out who she is and her past, including what happened to her mother. She meets a crazy lady, kills her, steals her mask, and then her life is pretty much doomed because of said mask.She runs into a really cute fox-kid (MY FAVORITE) named Kippa and then a two-tailed cat named Master Ren (not to be mistaken for me Wren.. I know it's easy to get us mixed up), and they end up being a big part of her journey.This is a very very morbid book . I mean, some beings eat other beings to get power from them. Like it is very morbid and sometimes has very-close-to-naked beings in it as well. So don't read if you are easily squeamish or, I mean, super young. I loved this. I can't wait for the next one.WrensReads | Twitter | Instagram
    more
  • Jenny (Reading Envy)
    January 2, 2017
    The thing about graphic novels that are part of a larger world and larger series is that the first volume is usually an introduction. So since this was new to me, I spent a bit of the time confused, but knew I would know more by the end. There is a lot to like - the art is gorgeous, the full-page pieces are worth spending a few moments with alone. There is a majority of female characters with a range of good/evil, strong/weak, old/young, human/not. This is not a typical situation! It is very vio The thing about graphic novels that are part of a larger world and larger series is that the first volume is usually an introduction. So since this was new to me, I spent a bit of the time confused, but knew I would know more by the end. There is a lot to like - the art is gorgeous, the full-page pieces are worth spending a few moments with alone. There is a majority of female characters with a range of good/evil, strong/weak, old/young, human/not. This is not a typical situation! It is very violent and may not be for everyone, and takes a few interludes to tell the history/backstory that I think would annoy me if it happened in every volume.
    more
  • Samantha
    December 31, 2016
    Beautiful art, a unique world with gods, humans, and something in between, fearsome magic, political intrigue to rival any epic fantasy, a plethora of formidable female characters... oh.. and magical talking cats... what more could one possibly ask for? This series is setting up to be an epic masterpiece. There is a lot going on in this first volume, so I can't wait to re-read it and discover even more.
    more
  • Hannah
    December 27, 2016
    That was pretty brilliant. I really enjoyed this book but it did take me while to find my bearing in the world created (and, to be perfectly honest, I think I will have to re-read this at some point to really get everything). The authors just trust their readers to stay with them and to be patient while the story unfolds, told partly in flashbacks and never completely. The art by Sana Takeda is absolutely stunning. While the colour palette is mostly muted (as is befitting for a story this dark) That was pretty brilliant. I really enjoyed this book but it did take me while to find my bearing in the world created (and, to be perfectly honest, I think I will have to re-read this at some point to really get everything). The authors just trust their readers to stay with them and to be patient while the story unfolds, told partly in flashbacks and never completely. The art by Sana Takeda is absolutely stunning. While the colour palette is mostly muted (as is befitting for a story this dark) there are flashes of colour that are really beautiful and impactful. It's style is different to most graphic novels I have read so far (only the Sandman series by Neil Gaiman is similar in places) and I really enjoyed seeing something so original.I really appreciate how female centric this whole book is. Most of the main characters (both protagonists and antagonists) are women and they all look and behave differently from each other and they are allowed to be flawed (and in some cases evil). I like how this wasn't commented on in-universe but still felt like a deliberate (and feminist!) creative choice. I am absolutely looking forward to reading the next volume and thus am a bit mad at myself for not having waited until closer to the release date of the follow-up. I cannot wait to see where Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda take this story next; especially because they are so willing to take risks.
    more
  • Matthew Quann
    December 5, 2016
    Pan-recommendation for fantasy & comic fans alike!Monstress is the best fantasy comic I've read since Gaiman's Sandman, and when Gaiman's opus gets tossed around you can be sure I'm not messing around. That's not to say that Monstress is the same type of book as Sandman, indeed, it is not. However, no other comic that I've read so meticulously crafts a believable fantasy world that will feel at home in hands that normally tote 600 page-plus fantasy tombs. I mean, the end-paper even has a wor Pan-recommendation for fantasy & comic fans alike!Monstress is the best fantasy comic I've read since Gaiman's Sandman, and when Gaiman's opus gets tossed around you can be sure I'm not messing around. That's not to say that Monstress is the same type of book as Sandman, indeed, it is not. However, no other comic that I've read so meticulously crafts a believable fantasy world that will feel at home in hands that normally tote 600 page-plus fantasy tombs. I mean, the end-paper even has a world map.WHAT MORE THAN A WORLD MAP COULD A FANTASY FAN DESIRE?How about superb characterization, a compelling plot, pitch perfect plotting, and some of the most gorgeously detailed artwork I've seen all year? Maika Halfwolf, our lead, joins a long list of fantastical female badasses that populate fantasy novels. She's driven by a suitably mysterious past that is appropriately tied to the great mysteries the book presents in this first volume. She's vicious in her quest for vengeance and knowledge, but she is often taken out of her quest by demonstrations of innocence. Part of the joy of this graphic novel is the other characters you meet along the way, so I won't bother spoiling their compelling arrivals. Okay, okay, there's a one-eyed, eye patch-wearing, sword-wielding, warrior cat. But you'll get no more from me.The plot here is fantastic and is laid out in perfect fashion. Maika is sold into slavery due to her arcanic heritage, but this is all a ruse to get her closer to her desired targets. This story moves quickly from place to place, from character to character, and never once stagnates. There are questions about the world, quest, and characters that I'm dying to know, but the few answers we do get here are immensely satisfying. For each plot point that is advanced a new question is asked, be it personal, plot-oriented, or tied to the mythology itself. It was also a few issues in before I realized that the cast is all-female. The matriarchal society in the world of Monstress makes it feel fresh. A lot of people have described the book as heavily feminist, though it doesn't wear that identity as heavily as, say, Bitch Planet. Instead, Monstress makes its lead and her supporting cast entirely independent, interesting, and ruthless. Who says you need a dude to be a monster? These terrifying female villains definitely make for formidable foes and interesting foes. So kudos for making some awesome female leads.What's more, I'm really, really interested in what's going on in this world. I never knew what was coming next and I was entirely captivated by Sana Takeda's absolutely stunning artwork. Combining what seems like anime/manga-inspired style with western comics and the fantastical make for a book that feels like it should never, ever be drawn by another artist. Each page is so rich in detail that I entirely buy the world that Takeda and Liu are building. I was reminded of Fiona Staples' work on Saga because she and Takeda share the ability to bring each character to life with stunning full-page spreads in a way that could be done by no imitator. The art doesn't falter throughout this entire first volume.Just like a great fantasy series, this feels like book one in an extended series. Though enough questions are answered, there's so much more left to be revealed. Moreover, there is a fantastic concluding action sequence that feels immensely satisfying. In that way, Monstress Vol. 1: Awakening feels like it was written for the trade and doesn't necessitate waiting for subsequent volumes before diving in. The only downside is that there will be a long wait until the next volume arrives, but Liu and Takeda more than make the case for sticking with this series.This is highly recommended to comic fans, fantasy fans, and anyone looking for something new. It would make the perfect holiday gift, after all, it's only $10! I can't wait for the next volume, it'll be a buy-on-sight purchase.
    more
  • Gianfranco Mancini
    November 28, 2016
    Well, first volume of Marjorie Liu's Monstress was a real blast of a reading for me, a great grimdark fantasy tale and an awesome mix of western comics and eastern manga traditions and styles.Sana Takeda's art is awesome, the world building was well developed and characters have depth, the story is good, action packed and full of twists, with explosions of gore and (not much hidden) anime references.It was like a steampunk horror version of Miyazaki's Princess Mononoke made by Madhouse anime stu Well, first volume of Marjorie Liu's Monstress was a real blast of a reading for me, a great grimdark fantasy tale and an awesome mix of western comics and eastern manga traditions and styles.Sana Takeda's art is awesome, the world building was well developed and characters have depth, the story is good, action packed and full of twists, with explosions of gore and (not much hidden) anime references.It was like a steampunk horror version of Miyazaki's Princess Mononoke made by Madhouse anime studios!In a few words, best graphic novel I've read this year.If you like badass heroines, fantasy dystopic worlds with dead Old Gods dreaming and talking cats this is the comic you need!And little fox kid Kippa is an awesome tribute reference to Rumiko Takahashi's Shippo from Inuyasha series! :D
    more
  • David Schaafsma
    November 15, 2016
    A 2016 Goodreads comic of the year nominee, and much deserved, I would say. A couple of my (possibly more comics-experienced) Goodreads friends (males of our species) had not liked this series, so I held back for awhile. And I’m not a huge fantasy reader, and this looks like historical fantasy, which I have even less experience with, though it does look it comes with a side of something like steampunk, which I like. . . and there’s some horror in it, okay, good, then many many other friends like A 2016 Goodreads comic of the year nominee, and much deserved, I would say. A couple of my (possibly more comics-experienced) Goodreads friends (males of our species) had not liked this series, so I held back for awhile. And I’m not a huge fantasy reader, and this looks like historical fantasy, which I have even less experience with, though it does look it comes with a side of something like steampunk, which I like. . . and there’s some horror in it, okay, good, then many many other friends liked it and I was in to read it. I can say that since this is the first volume they have privileged action and not backstory in the world-building. The action is pretty frenetic, so they’re hoping you will just go with it and just ignore what the hell Lilium is and so forth. Which I sort of did, though I was kind of confused a lot.What I gather is that there was recently or a while ago a war between humans and animal-hybrids, Arcanics, the surviving members of which are sold as slaves. Cumaea would seem to be the humans—and are they all witch-nuns?--who live off this aforementioned Lilium produced by Arcanics. Whatever that is. Sometimes you don't want to know. Maika is our main kick-ass woman, who has lost an arm. Others seem to have lost limbs, too. It’s pretty brutal, not kid stuff, this story, let me tell ya. Horror, I said. Maika has some dark past; she’s a killer, and dangerous. Is she a monster or monstress? Masks have power here, not exactly sure how yet, but they look cool. All the costumes and the dark intricate artwork from Takeda are great. The feel is a kind of blend of western and eastern (manga) art and sensibility. I think this is finally a great start. I's more violent than I imagined it would be, that's for sure, which is kind of a good thing.
    more
  • Trish
    October 31, 2016
    Dear Heaven! Words fail me. I was impressed by many books over the years, but never as completely as I am with this. I'm flabberghasted, I'm in love, I still can't believe this exists.The only reason I knew about this, was Neil Gaiman. Once again, one of my favourite authors pointed me towards a book I wouldn't want to miss under any circumstances. The story is set in a fantasy world where there aren't only humans but also Ancients, Arcadians (half human and half Ancient), Old Gods and other cre Dear Heaven! Words fail me. I was impressed by many books over the years, but never as completely as I am with this. I'm flabberghasted, I'm in love, I still can't believe this exists.The only reason I knew about this, was Neil Gaiman. Once again, one of my favourite authors pointed me towards a book I wouldn't want to miss under any circumstances. The story is set in a fantasy world where there aren't only humans but also Ancients, Arcadians (half human and half Ancient), Old Gods and other creatures. Maika Halfwolf survived a terrible war in which one single strike killed hundreds of thousands - with neither side knowing what really happened. She has severe memory problems and tries to figue out how she survived, what happened to her mother and what that voice inside of her is. While struggling with all that, she is hunted by both the humans (including some witch-nuns belonging to the Federation of Humans) and the Arcadians. And then, of course, there is some power much more troublesome than all of them.However, fortunately, Maika is not alone (although she often wished she was).The story is intriguing, thrilling, intelligent, moving, sometimes funny even and deserving of all the compliments I could possibly give.Moreover, the exceptional story would be incomplete without the stunning art. Although I am in no way an expert in comicbook or graphic novel art, I recognize brilliance when I see it and this is hands down the best art I have ever seen. Nothing even comes close! Just look:(The quality of these images is not as the quality in the book itself I need to add.)I cannot emphasize enough what a treasure this is. If you read one more book this year, make it this one! If I could, I would give it so many more than 5 stars.
    more
  • Tori (InToriLex)
    October 17, 2016
    Find this and other Reviews at In Tori LexThis comic appealed to me on every level possible. Strong Female protagonist check, Cats as a race check, Strong World Building check, non-white characters check, Fearsome Villain check, Witches check, Humor Check,  Action check and Fantastic Fantasy elements check. This comic rocks because it's unique storytelling reaches in, engages you and doesn't let you go. Maika Halfwolf is a force to be reckoned with, she manages to be fearless, reflective, violen Find this and other Reviews at In Tori LexThis comic appealed to me on every level possible. Strong Female protagonist check, Cats as a race check, Strong World Building check, non-white characters check, Fearsome Villain check, Witches check, Humor Check,  Action check and Fantastic Fantasy elements check. This comic rocks because it's unique storytelling reaches in, engages you and doesn't let you go. Maika Halfwolf is a force to be reckoned with, she manages to be fearless, reflective, violent, and admirable through this whole volume. Maika sets off on a mission to discover who she is and why, a teenager who refuses to give up until she finds answers. Along the way we learn about this fantasy world, that is cruel, unforgiving and filled with entity's who are after her.  Maika is a Monstress because a being has latched on to her, one she doesn't understand but which could have serious implications for the world around her.  Maika is Arcanic which is a race created by human and Ancient's mating. Arcanics don't usually look human, but are invaluable for humans who use them as slaves and worse. The Cats are wise beings, who can talk, are not to be trusted, and multi-tailed characters I grew to love. There is also so much quality humor that this could also be labeled as a dark comedy. In the midst of being introduced to amazing characters, the author was able to weave in significant amounts of world-building that was presented flawlessly. The main characters are powerful women, who's powers are unmatched, and caused me to swoon. This reads like a fantasy love letter to all the wonderful women characters who have too often been left out of fiction.  This is one of my new favorite comics, and I will happily re-read it before I dive into Volume 2, because there is so much subtle wonderfulness to unpack. The artwork was dark, beautiful, and minimized enough to never become distracting. I felt privileged to find such quality writing, and I fell in love with all of the multi-layered well developed characters. The ending hints at future adventures full of surprises, and sure not to disappoint. I would recommend this to every adult reader, who enjoys fantasy, well thought out world building, and fantastic characters.
    more
  • Book Riot Community
    September 1, 2016
    Even if this wasn’t an incredible piece of storytelling, the art alone in this graphic novel would have put it at the top of my list. Takeda’s steampunk art deco graphics are mind-meltingly beautiful and amazing. But Liu’s story of a girl in an alternate 1900s matriarchal Asia is worthy of such beauty. Maika is fighting the forces of darkness and evil (holy cats, such EVIL – this book definitely earns its ‘M’ rating) while also struggling with an actual monster inside her, whose agenda she hasn’ Even if this wasn’t an incredible piece of storytelling, the art alone in this graphic novel would have put it at the top of my list. Takeda’s steampunk art deco graphics are mind-meltingly beautiful and amazing. But Liu’s story of a girl in an alternate 1900s matriarchal Asia is worthy of such beauty. Maika is fighting the forces of darkness and evil (holy cats, such EVIL – this book definitely earns its ‘M’ rating) while also struggling with an actual monster inside her, whose agenda she hasn’t quite figured out. It’s bananapants. This is like Saga meets Buffy meets The Girl with All the Gifts meets the aesthetics of 1980s sci-fi movies like Solar Babies and Time Bandits, and then they all have a key party at Pinhead from Hellraiser’s place. More like this, please.— Liberty Hardyfrom The Best Books We Read In July 2016: http://bookriot.com/2016/08/01/riot-r...
    more
  • Melissa ♥ Dog Lover ♥ Martin
    August 23, 2016
    Okay I'm only going to put a few pictures because you can all scroll through the other reviewers and see more pictures. I don't like reviewing graphic novels because I never know exactly what to say. This novel is about Maika Halfwolf and she has been trying to find her way for some time. She lost her mother and friends to a war. She lost one of her arms, but she has some kind of powers and she has a symbol on her chest that may or may not be the cause of this . . . This novel is very dark but I Okay I'm only going to put a few pictures because you can all scroll through the other reviewers and see more pictures. I don't like reviewing graphic novels because I never know exactly what to say. This novel is about Maika Halfwolf and she has been trying to find her way for some time. She lost her mother and friends to a war. She lost one of her arms, but she has some kind of powers and she has a symbol on her chest that may or may not be the cause of this . . . This novel is very dark but I still loved it. I mean you have all these people things eating other people things and chopping people things up. There is this one dude that I think is hot in the novel. His name is Corvin D'Oro and I'm not going to show you a picture. Lol So, Maika poses as a slave to get to this one person and then some of the kid/things she is with gets tortured and eaten etc. Maika goes postal and kills a bunch of people, supposedly it only happens when she gets really mad. Then she finds some crazy woman that knew her mother and she kills her and takes a mask that lady has <--- big mistake because, said mask, turns into some demon thing in her stump arm. Yeah, I know, it's cray but it happens. It's totally cool. Well, maybe not because it makes her eat people/things. And she has an ongoing conversation with it at times. Okay, so they argue because she wants it out of her. Meanwhile, the novel goes back and forth from Maika's past to the present. We find out some things and get confused in other things. There are also unicorn horses that you ride. I would love that. There are talking cats with more than one tail! I liked Master Ren that was going around with Maika and the little fox girl named Kippa! Anyway, I thought the story was great, morbid yes, but great! I am looking forward to these novels. And I love Marjorie Liu, I have read some of her books from back in the day! MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List
    more
  • Stephen
    August 12, 2016
    In a alternate steampunk Asia there is a war going on between humans and the Arcanic a race of beings which seem like human animal hybrids. Without giving away too much of the story Maika Halfwolf the main character finds herself in the middle of this. The story opens with her being sold into slavery with other Arcanic's, she is taken into the fortress of a order called the Cumaea. The humans capture these Arcanics to harvest them and create lilium, a potion that is able to resurrect anyone back In a alternate steampunk Asia there is a war going on between humans and the Arcanic a race of beings which seem like human animal hybrids. Without giving away too much of the story Maika Halfwolf the main character finds herself in the middle of this. The story opens with her being sold into slavery with other Arcanic's, she is taken into the fortress of a order called the Cumaea. The humans capture these Arcanics to harvest them and create lilium, a potion that is able to resurrect anyone back from the grave. When Maika escapes the fortress with a strange mask piece, things get even crazier as she finds out a few things about her past.The tone of the novel is very dark, bloody and very brutal and the fighting scenes in this comic are epic as hell. The writer touches upon many things which also exist in our society, such as prejudice against different a race, war and the hunger for power and control.I would definitely recommend this to those who can handle dark-themed books.Writing: A-Artwork: APlot: A
    more
  • j
    August 3, 2016
    Gorgeous art. Strong women. Great cats.
  • Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘ (of badger and SNAKE)
    July 29, 2016
    3.5 stars. Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening was... weird, but dark and pretty good? There's no hiding that the plot is convoluted... at best, and if there was such thing as a CONFUSING ALERT!, I would raise it instantly. Indeed Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening doesn't burden itself with simple details like chronological order and basic knowledge before throwing you in the meat of the (epic fantasy-like) action. Keyword being : HUH?! And then, there are these cat-ish info-dump pages at the end of every c 3.5 stars. Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening was... weird, but dark and pretty good? There's no hiding that the plot is convoluted... at best, and if there was such thing as a CONFUSING ALERT!, I would raise it instantly. Indeed Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening doesn't burden itself with simple details like chronological order and basic knowledge before throwing you in the meat of the (epic fantasy-like) action. Keyword being : HUH?! And then, there are these cat-ish info-dump pages at the end of every chapter (issue) : Oh my GOSH. MY EYES. Too long, too tiny, too much. However, despite the general confusion and slowness, in the end I'm eager to know where the story will go... especially after THAT. BIG. CLIFF. DAMMIT. Overall, the characters are very interesting and pretty fun to follow : First a kickass heroine... ... teamed-up with an adorable fox girl... Awww <3... a talking cat... ... also, a monster... ... and many complex villains. What more could we want?! See above. Mix everything. You've got your world.Want more details, do you? Alright. What you need to know is that the world is separated into two parts (so far), the Human World (with witches) and the Arcanic World (with old gods, animal-head people). Because differences and greed always win, once upon a time there was a war (of course there was). Finally, because those in power are often morons, they built a wall (of course they did). Oh, and the talking cats somehow achieved the status of wise entities at some point during the History. Don't ask me when, though (info-dumping cat pages, remember?) They even go so far as calling themselves Masters *snorts*As the plot, the world is interesting and complex, yet so very confusing at first.Remarkable. Stunning. I loved it to pieces, okay? Sources : - Flower doodle : http://www.vecteezy.com/flourishes-sw...- Other vector images (edited by myself): Free vector art via Vecteezy.com
    more
  • Daniella
    July 23, 2016
    ***this rating is not reflective of the content of this book, only my enjoyment***I've come to the conclusion that I can't understand fantasy or sci fi graphic novels. Out of the two other ones I've read I couldnt repeat the plots or character names back to you, and it was even worse with this one. (Probably only 10% of the story was retained). Again, this isn't the fault of the story or the author, it's mine.Probably won't buy any more graphic novels from now on.
    more
  • Ashley
    July 20, 2016
    I'm still just in awe at how gorgeous this art is.
  • Sarah
    July 15, 2016
    Monstress is a dark fantasy comic with a steampunk feel to it and the artwork is absolutely stunning. There are pages I could happily stare at all day long and this is definitely a book I'd be happy to reread because you spot new things every time you look at it.Maika is a young girl caught in the crossfire of the ongoing war between humans and Arcanics. The Arcanics are a race with access to magic, some who can pass for human and others who look more like animals or are a cross between the two. Monstress is a dark fantasy comic with a steampunk feel to it and the artwork is absolutely stunning. There are pages I could happily stare at all day long and this is definitely a book I'd be happy to reread because you spot new things every time you look at it.Maika is a young girl caught in the crossfire of the ongoing war between humans and Arcanics. The Arcanics are a race with access to magic, some who can pass for human and others who look more like animals or are a cross between the two. Humans seem to be jealous and scared of the Arcanics so they set out to do what humans do best and destroy their perceived enemies. Maika is an Arcanic who looks human, she is missing an arm and has been branded with a magical marking but she plans to use her looks to infiltrate her enemy and get her revenge. There are a third group involved in the war, the Cumaea, who are allied with the humans but have magical abilities and they have been using the war as an excuse to carry out all kinds of experiments on the Arcanics. Maika ends up captured by the Cumaea but what originally looks like a trap may well have been her goal all along when she turns the situation to her advantage.I don't want to say too much more about the plot but there is a lot going on in this graphic novel. It has a dark tone and there are some serious issues entwined throughout the story but it's an interesting world and I can't wait to see where Maika's journey takes her. I'm not going to say this was perfect, there were times when I found myself confused and wishing for more world building and then there were others where important details were given in a bit of an info dump that could be overwhelming. I actually read the book a second time and found myself catching lots little things I'd missed the first time around which made it much easier to follow.In spite of my issues I still found it very easy to become invested in Maika's story and I particularly fell in love with young Kippa, a fox-girl Maika rescues along the way. The artwork is nothing short of beautiful and I have high hopes for the story now that I'm more familiar with the world and have started to get to grips with exactly what is going on. I'm definitely going to be purchasing the second volume when it releases.I'll leave you with a few images of some of the characters so you'll be able to get a feel for the artwork: Maika with her friend Tuya Maika with the adorable young fox-girl Kippa Who doesn't love a story with talking, multi-tailed cats? Sophia, a member of the CumaeaSource: Received from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review__________________________Thoughts immediately after reading:Full review coming soon but in the meantime here's my ratingArtwork = 5 stars (some gory images & dark themes but there is no denying the illustrations are stunning!)World building = 3 stars (mainly down to the confusing way things are introduced & unnecessary info dumping)Characters = 4 stars
    more
  • Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ Rabid Reads
    July 12, 2016
    12/19/16 - ON SALE for $3.99: http://amzn.to/2i6sMwyReviewed by: Rabid Reads4.5 starsOne of the things I'm discovering that I love about graphic novels is the way they hit the ground running. The creators don't toy with you the way writers of traditional books sometimes do--they don't have the time to draw out anything beyond the most important Secrets.MONSTRESS, for example, opens with a slave auction, and the inquiries made about Lot 819 reveal the specific brand of prejudice that governs this 12/19/16 - ON SALE for $3.99: http://amzn.to/2i6sMwyReviewed by: Rabid Reads4.5 starsOne of the things I'm discovering that I love about graphic novels is the way they hit the ground running. The creators don't toy with you the way writers of traditional books sometimes do--they don't have the time to draw out anything beyond the most important Secrets.MONSTRESS, for example, opens with a slave auction, and the inquiries made about Lot 819 reveal the specific brand of prejudice that governs this world. You learn of a war that seems to have ended, while the thriving slave trade continues to fan the flames of hate.There's no guesswork, and any confusion about terminology resolves itself quickly.I friggin' LOVE it.Our heroine, Maika Halfwolf, is the girl currently up for bid, but (once again) it quickly becomes obvious that she's only there b/c she wants to be.YEP. You read that correctly: dollface WANTS to be auctioned off like livestock. And not only that, she's banking on the Cumaea, a witchy faction of humans, crashing the shindig and claiming the Arcanics, a race of beings with natural magic, for themselves.Dun dun dunnnnnn . . . For research purposes . . . o.OJust b/c graphic novels tend to be more straightforward than their picture-free counterparts, doesn't mean they aren't twisty.Maika, you see, is looking for information. Before the war ended, something happened (was done?) to her . . . Something that has recently begun to affect her in ways she can't control. It's made her dangerous, and she's desperate for answers.Along the way, she picks up a two-tailed sasshole of a cat, a girl child with a fox tail, and an angry dialogue with the thing that plagues her.Every aspect of MONSTRESS drew me in--the characters, the world-building, the plot, ALL of it. Everything else became a distraction to be ignored. I didn't give any thought to the why of it, as I tore through the beautifully illustrated pages, but at the end of the first volume, Lui wrote a letter about her intent when she began this series: . . . The root of my desire . . . was to tell a story about what it means to be a survivor. A survivor, not just of a cataclysmic war, but of racial conflict and its antecedent: hatred. And to confront the question: how does one whom history has made a monster, escape her monstrosity? How does one overcome the monstrousness of others without succumbing to a rising monstrousness within? All I can say is, well done, lady. Well. Done. MONSTRESS by Marjorie M. Liu is the first collection (volumes 1 - 6) of her new graphic novel series that is part steampunk, part fantasy, and ALL awesome. Maika's struggle to control the monster inside her is inspiring to watch, b/c that's what it was: a struggle. But surrender is a concept she threatens to rip out of herself every time it whispers about the easier path, and as she slowly gains the upper hand, you can't help but sing "All I do is Win" under your breath, b/c she'd rather die than quit. Highly recommended.
    more
  • BlueLilyxLilyBlue
    July 6, 2016
    I WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE PUBLISHED FOR THIS REVIEW COPY IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW. REACTION AFTER READING THE BOOK This got me at the edge of my seat. It gripped me in the right ways and satisfied me when it ended. LONG STORY SHORT Maika, girl with one arm and a mark in her chest, was sold at an auction.She was branded as an archaic.Cumeans ate archaics because of the benefits that it gives them.Maika hates them.Maika needed answers.She was able to breach their city and spread chaos.But I WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE PUBLISHED FOR THIS REVIEW COPY IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW. REACTION AFTER READING THE BOOK This got me at the edge of my seat. It gripped me in the right ways and satisfied me when it ended. LONG STORY SHORT Maika, girl with one arm and a mark in her chest, was sold at an auction.She was branded as an archaic.Cumeans ate archaics because of the benefits that it gives them.Maika hates them.Maika needed answers.She was able to breach their city and spread chaos.But the answers she seek only lead to more questions.Who was she? What was she? MEET THE CHARACTERS ◆ Maika: It's not always that you see a character who was so damaged, not only internally, but also physically. Something happened to her arm. It was one of the things that I was so curious to find out. I wanted to know why and how it happened.One thing you should know about Maika was, she doesn't really know who those things either. As we read through the story, we find out things about her, and her past as well.She could come across as a rude at times and untrusting, which she got a good reason too because almost everyone in this story has an agenda. You can feel her pain and her confusion. It really made her a relatable character, in some way. THINGS WORTH MENTIONING ◆ It was set in an alternative version of AsiaHow often does it happen that a YA book is set in Asia? Not often.◆ Fantastic female heroineMaika really kicked some serious ass in this one. What I really liked about her was she wasn't one to take crap from anyone. She's completely confused about who she is and what she could do, but that doesn't stop her from being a complete badass.◆ The world was rich and uniqueThe world the author creates was pretty believable. Although, I will have to say, the exposition of this world was not my thing. I'd rather understand it through conversations, rather than a cat lecturing kittens every now and then about the events that was happening.◆ The illustrations were so beautifulThe drawings were beautiful. It really looked so good I often get distracted by looking at them instead of reading. The drawings reminded me of animes or mangas.◆ At times, it could get confusingThis graphic novel has shitloads of action. And sometimes, it forgets to explain things. When it does try to explain, it does it in a hurried way, that's when it gets confusing. It dumps so much information in your face in one go, it twists my brain into a pretzel.◆ Diversity of charactersYou get to see different skin colored humans, then there are the monsters, the half-breeds, the ancient ones. There were so many cool and interesting characters.◆ It was bloody.It was definitely a brutal graphic novel. Heads gets smashed and sliced of their bodies. Some of them were pretty unnecessary, but in the end i realized, wars like these are never peaceful.◆It was relevant to our current societyThis graphic novel shows how brutal wars are and how differences often spark these types of events. I know this book is a work of fiction, and in the real world, we don't have people who have wings or fox tails and ears, but the plot of it, the one where each camp tries to overpower each other, is exactly what is happening right now. Wings or no wings, these things happen in the real world. Bombings. Killings. Terrorism attacks. Wars. They are happening right here, right now, and it's terrifying.◆ The endingI actually really liked how volume one ended. It ended in a sort of a cliffhanger, which i usually hate but, it actually worked in this case. IF YOU LIKED THIS, YOU'LL PROBABLY LIKE I think these two graphic novels share the same theme. Different races fighting for what each side believes in, even if it meant killing and destroying. Saga is a bit more lighthearted though than Monstress. Monstress dealt more about the darker side of war. FINAL THOUGHTS There were a lot of things to like about this book, although personally, it just wasn't for me. I like action, and sometimes, a little bit brutality and gore, this one, had a little bit too much of those. And at times, it feels unnecessary.For me, the uniqueness of the world and the magnificent illustrations were this graphic novel's strength.
    more
  • karen
    July 6, 2016
    congratulations! semifinalist in goodreads' best graphic novels & comics category 2016!ugh, i still need to review this one! dammit!
  • Sesana
    June 4, 2016
    Three stars almost entirely for the pretty, pretty art. What you see on the cover is what you get, and it's gorgeously and beautifully detailed. It's a very nice book to look at. The story, on the other hand, is not as pretty. The reader is thrown in the deep end with very little background information. Sometimes that can work, but here, I was mostly just confused. It takes three issues to get a clear definition of what an Arcanic is, for example. It makes the first few issues more difficult to Three stars almost entirely for the pretty, pretty art. What you see on the cover is what you get, and it's gorgeously and beautifully detailed. It's a very nice book to look at. The story, on the other hand, is not as pretty. The reader is thrown in the deep end with very little background information. Sometimes that can work, but here, I was mostly just confused. It takes three issues to get a clear definition of what an Arcanic is, for example. It makes the first few issues more difficult to get through than they could have been. I also felt like the story was moving too slowly for my tastes. Ultimately, though the art is spectacular, I just couldn't get into the story or the world enough to read more. But the art is well worth a look, and I'd recommend it at least checking it out from the library for that alone.
    more
  • The Holy Terror
    May 4, 2016
    Individual issue reviews: #1 | #2 | #3 | #4 | #5 | #6Total review score: 4Gonna be lame and just paste my comments on the last issue: Beautiful artwork, fascinating story, and fantastic characters.I need issue #7 like ... yesterday.
Write a review