Read Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening by Marjorie M. Liu Sana Takeda Rus Wooton Jennifer M. Smith Online


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 pSet 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. Collects MONSTRESS #1-6...

Title : Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781632157096
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 192 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening Reviews

  • Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ Rabid Reads
    2019-04-14 02:01

    12/29/17 - ON SALE for $3.99: review:*giggle snorts*Rereading is often a humbling experience . . . I've been forced to admit that my memory isn't what it once was, and never is that more apparent then after a reread. *kicks aluminum can*I won't bore you with all the things I'd forgotten, but there were a few things that made a bigger impact this time around:(view spoiler)[How does one bind a god to a person? And THIS:1. Who was the first Arcanic Lord?2. Who is the other potential host? ALSO, that other old god is after Maika b/c she's some kind of superior host, so does that mean every old god that slithers out of their cage is going to be after her as well?(hide spoiler)]9/28/17 - Still ON SALE for $3.99, my darlings (but who knows for how much longer, so GET IT: 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, Liu 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.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Anne
    2019-04-02 02:41

    If, prior to reading this, someone said to me, Wanna read a comic that's loosely classified as a Steampunk Fantasy?Well, I would have politely (and slowly) backed away from them while turning the offer down in no uncertain terms. I mean, is Steampunk even still a thing?I remember it was all the rage there for a while, and then it just seemed to peter out of vogue -kinda like sparkly vampires and shirtless werewolves.For those of you who may love and/or live this genre, please don't take offense by that. I only have the vaguest notion of what Steampunk is, anyway. Something, something, alternate timeline, something, something, steam powered stuff, something, something, big lacy tophats, something, something, gears cramed into every conceivable space, something, something...Now, add in some weird fantasy element and, in all likelihood, you're going to lose me forever.Unless it's a REALLY good story.And I thought this was a really good story. Sure, because of the whole Fant-Punk* element this thing has going on, there's gonna be some strange wooo-wooo style stuff in the storytelling. And there's going to be things that just don't make sense or aren't fully addressed in this volume.Brace yourself, normies. I feel your pain!There will be questions, there will not always be answers. But you have to admit, this shit is fucking awesome to look at! And if you scrape away all the 10-eyed, hairy tentacled, fox-faced, cyclops baby, 5 tailed talking cat stuff? Well, it's just a story about surviving in a dangerously prejudiced, war-torn environment.While trying to keep an immortal god from ripping out of your chest and eating everyone...So, yeah. Pretty typical stuff. Anyway. I was gifted a copy from a good friend, otherwise I never would have bothered to read this - which would have been a shame. This was neat-o.Definitely recommended!*(view spoiler)[Ok, not to toot my own horn - Fuck that...TOOT! TOOT! - but I'm totally claiming the word Fant-Punk from here on out! It needs to be a thing, am I right?!Right? It's cool! Right, guys?Guys...? Pfft. Whatever. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Petrik
    2019-04-21 03:49

    Gorgeous epic steampunk fantasy done in graphic novel form.I don’t usually post reviews for graphic novels unless I found something special; Monstress is definitely special. Both manga and graphic novel are a form of storytelling materials that required pictures, they may be similar in this regard but they’re actually very distinct from each other. I, as a huge devourer of manga for more than twenty years and counting, rarely impressed by graphic novels or comics, not that they’re inferior, just a matter of taste. There has been one exception: Elric adaptation by Julien Blondel, and now, Monstress by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda.Taking place in an Alternate Asia setting and filled with a great story that deals with racism and slavery, Monstress also didn’t neglect the characterizations. Maika Halfwolf, Kippa, and Ren are all fantastic characters. Have you ever wonder how epic steampunk fantasy novels you read would look like in graphic novel? This is as close as you get. If any of you has read the manga Naruto or Claymore, you’ll feel at home here because this seems like a combination of those two, with badass main female character and a monster that resides deep within her.“There's more hunger in the world than love.”However, the best part of the book for meis definitely Sana Takeda’s artwork. I am a huge fan of beautiful artworks; doesn’t matter if it’s a book cover, manga, I love all of them. I wish I can tell you how gorgeous the artwork in this book is, but it’s better for me to just show you one sample of how pleasantly detailed it is.This is truly a collaboration to watch out for and something that every fans of graphic novel or fantasy should try. Special thank you to my dear friend Melanie for recommending this piece of art to me.

  • Melanie
    2019-03-30 20:03

    Readalong for the BooktubeSFF Awards which is being hosted byAdriana 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, Samfrom 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

  • Melissa ♥ Dog Lover ♥ Martin
    2019-04-21 03:53

    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

  • Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘
    2019-04-08 04:08

    ▐ WINNER OF THE HUGO AWARDS 2017 for best Graphic Story▐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 : Other vector images (edited by myself): Free vector art via Vecteezy.comFor more of my reviews, please visit:

  • Bradley
    2019-04-11 00:47

    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. :)

  • Samantha
    2019-03-20 19:45

    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.

  • Carol (Bookaria)
    2019-03-31 01:56

    This is a graphic novel with elements of fantasy, feminism, violence, and diversity.The main character is a teenager named Maika searching for a past she doesn't remember. On her path she finds people, some are friends, some are enemies and she doesn't know who to trust. Maika is also struggling with a powerful and mysterious "thing" inside of her which threatens to take control. The art is beautiful and very detailed, just look at the image below, it's one of my favorites in the book.In the story, there are wise, talking cats, including one that is a Scholar, and honestly, imagine what cats would be like as characters! The cats were my favorite characters in the story.There were a lot of things going on in the first book and I was confused at times. However, I still recommend the book to those who like fantasy novels.FINAL NOTE:To date, my favorite graphic novels have been ✔ Maus, Vol. 1 & 2, ✔ The Complete Persepolis, and ✔ My Friend DahmerABOUT THE AUTHOR:the author's achievements are many and you can learn more about it here (Marjorie M. Liu), however, the one that impressed me the most is that she teaches comic book writing at MIT - how awesome is that?

  • Michael Finocchiaro
    2019-04-11 01:02

    With great graphics, interesting but somewhat confusing story, and lots of grrrrl power, Monstress packs a big punch. The story is kind of similar to Amulet and the monsters and such reminded me of Saga a bit while the cannibalism was sort of like The Walking Dead. I really enjoyed this volume and look forward to where they will tale the story in Vol 2.

  • Philip
    2019-03-30 20:10

    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.

  • Hannah
    2019-03-27 20:00

    Reread:The second time around this was even more brilliant. Which is why I have upped the rating.Original review: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.

  • LolaReviewer
    2019-03-26 02:52

    I would be curious to read this story in novel format. The comic is amazingly beautiful. I didn’t even know someone could make such otherworldly-beautiful illustrations. It’s a true feast to the eyes.But the reason why I’d wish to read a book adaptation is because there is so much substance in this comic. I’m aware that one is limited in terms of dialog and space when writing for a comic format, so I feel as though the worldbuilding and characters would be even more developed that way. (But I’m not saying this should have been a book series instead, just that it could definitely become one.)I couldn’t possibly summarize the story for you, because to be honest I’m still very confused. I know there was a war, which involved humans and arcanic and witches and other creatures, but now it’s ended and the witches rose in power. The main character was young at that time, but she was still involved in the war. It’s extremely complex. But it’s not complex in a way that is annoying either because nothing is clear or nothing makes sense. No, it’s actually usually easy to understand what is going, we just rarely know why this is happening. But I expect we’ll learn more in the future volumes. I love the story, even if it’s confusing at times. The characters are three-dimensional and… very intense. The whole thing is intense, from the characters to the atmosphere to the gory scenes to the story itself. Because everything’s so intense, it all feels so real. Like in some alternate world, this matriarchal society with witches and arcanic may truly exist. Very recommended. Just, you know, prepare to be confused. Blog | Youtube | Twitter | Instagram | Google+ | Bloglovin’

  • destiny ☠ howling libraries
    2019-04-09 02:01

    In an 18th century Asia AU, a seventeen-year-old girl must learn to use the demon inside of her to help her survive a war that's been ongoing for far too long. The war wages between humans and immortals; magic users and those who wish to eradicate magic from the earth. Meanwhile, Maika simply wants to keep herself out of harm's way while seeking out the truth of her mysterious past and deceased mother. If I were to rate Monstress just on artwork and character design, it would be off the charts. This is the singular most beautiful graphic novel I've ever seen in my life; in fact, I think it's probably the most beautiful graphic novel that exists. There's a wicked steampunk feel to the character designs and everyone is just so stunningly detailed and fantastic. There were panels in this book that I honestly just wanted to blow up into a poster-sized photo and decorate my entire walls in them, because damn.Unfortunately, I didn't love the story as much as I loved the artwork. There is just so much information being thrown at you right out of the gate, and I had a hard time immersing myself at times. I'm the type of reader who likes slow burns and world-building, so being dropped into a universe with so many systems in place and no explanations for any of them isn't a 5-star reading experience for me. If you don't mind that sort of thing, though, I think Monstress could be the perfect read for you!There are also some content warnings I need to throw out here, like child trafficking and abuse, that were hard to stomach in the context of such a gorgeously detailed graphic novel, so proceed with caution.All in all: did I enjoy the graphic novel? Yes and no. It was beautiful and creative, but I was sorely frustrated by the lack of world-building, so I'd call this a solid 3.5 for me (rounding up for Goodreads' sake). That said, I would highly recommend this to anyone who hates slow burns and wants an intriguing fantasy read.

  • Emma
    2019-03-27 03:46

    There's more hunger in the world than love.4.25 stars.Monstress is a harsh, gritty story set in a stunning Asian fantasy/steampunk world. It's honestly one of the best graphic novels I've ever read, and has some of the most beautiful art I've ever seen.I think I've mentioned in previous reviews that I tend to struggle with visual stories, since I find it harder to connect to/emotionally invest in them. That wasn't the case with Monstress, though—these pages are bursting with fantastic characters, action, and mystery. The main character, Maika Halfwolf, is a teenager caught up in a complex magical war between humans and Arcanics—a race of supernatural beings descended from the offspring of humans and immortal "Ancients". As an Arcanic, Maika faces harsh discrimination and cruelty. She and others of her kind are literally sold for parts, given to a cult of witches who take their limbs to extract a highly-coveted substance called lilium.It's a brutal world, and Maika is a ruthless and compelling heroine. Even as she struggles against captivity and discrimination, she also has a deeper internal conflict going on. There's an old, dark, hungry power inside her that she doesn't fully understand and has even less ability to control.A few other things I loved:▪️ there's a race of cats that are 100x smarter than everyone else and are basically done with everyone else's bullshit ▪️ a minor f/f relationship between two VERY morally gray ladies ▪️ Kippa, the cutest little fox child my eyes have ever SEENMy only real complaint was that the worldbuilding and plot felt a tad overwhelming/confusing at times—it's super complex, and difficult to convey quickly in this format. By the end of the novel, I felt like I was starting to get a grip on all the different factions and races, so hopefully this won't be as much of an issue in the second volume. Overall, this was beautiful and horrible and VERY exciting. I highly recommend it.Content warnings for graphic violence, human trafficking, slavery, and racism.This review was also posted on my blog.

  • ❄️Nani❄️
    2019-03-23 22:46

    3.75 ⭐️"To quote the poets... we're fucked."Welcome to the world of magic and mayhem with wondrous visuals.This dark and visually-stunning comics does not hold back on anything in its portrayal of wartime depravity. From slavery and torture to racism, cannibalism and coming to grips with postwar traumatic experiences. It took me a while to really get into the story but I instantly fell in love with two things - the breathtaking artwork and the sweet and adorable little muffin, Kippa. 😍Let's get back to the artwork, people! I'll be honest, I was more smitten with the visuals than the story itself. It was all just simply stunning - the detailed backdrops, the portrayal of expressive emotions of the characters, even the dusky colour schemes that stay true to the dark tone of the book All I can say is hats off to Sana Takeda for these truly phenomenal graphics.

  • Trina (Between Chapters)
    2019-04-15 03:42

    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!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!

  • karen
    2019-04-10 20:54

    congratulations! semifinalist in goodreads' best graphic novels & comics category 2016!ugh, i still need to review this one! dammit!

  • HFK
    2019-04-05 02:44

    Monstress is not a graphic you can casually flip through with your phone while enjoying your morning toilet experience, but you need to pay attention, and perhaps flip back and forth more than once to keep yourself focused on what is actually going on.This flipping is not unusual when you are facing a fantasy story that has an extremely rich world building. There is a lot of mythology and history you need to savor in order to be fully pulled inside a world that has strong fantasy elements, but also steady steampunk and horror ingredients in the mix. Monstress has a strong characterization within, there is no meaningless sidekicks but each individual has carefully build importance to the overall story. Having such a wide range of different personalities with different histories, it is not always easy to keep up with them. But the effort needing to put into this is very much worth it. Even when that effort doesn't make a total home-run when comes to understanding.The art here is stunning, and the art-deco is showing its best sides through the whole volume. This is a treat to your artsy side, even it often overshadows the crowded words that each page holds within.The setting being 1900's Asia, the cruelty and violence, the variety of characterization... I am not surprised why Monstress was met with such a huge positive reception. There is room for this sort of thing inside the mainstream vacuum, a work that will reach out to the ones that do not usually touch anything with pictures in it.Even I am not completely sure what is going on here, I will continue to seek much wanted answers and see where Monstress will take me. I hope to something good.

  • Book Riot Community
    2019-04-09 01:46

    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:

  • Fables&Wren
    2019-04-14 20:57

    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 | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram

  • j
    2019-04-01 03:00

    Gorgeous art. Strong women. Great cats.

  • Sandra [the fucking book fairy]
    2019-04-04 23:03

    I WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE PUBLISHED FOR THIS REVIEW COPY IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW.REACTION AFTER READING THE BOOKThis got me at the edge of my seat. It gripped me in the right ways and satisfied me when it ended.LONG STORY SHORTMaika, 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 LIKEI 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 THOUGHTSThere 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.

  • David Schaafsma
    2019-04-05 23:58

    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.

  • Caro M.
    2019-03-26 20:04

    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.

  • Sesana
    2019-03-28 00:56

    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.

  • Bentley ★
    2019-04-20 00:42

    What a vibrant, rich and fully-realized world. I've completely new to reading graphic novels, but if I can find more like this I'm going to become very invested, very quickly. Full review to come tomorrow!

  • Celeste
    2019-03-27 01:45

    Full review now posted!Original review can be found at Booknest.I’m not the biggest graphic novel reader, especially outside of the superhero genre. There are a few that I’ve read, like the Saga series which I didn’t love as much as I desperately wanted to, and one that I’ve really loved (*cough* V for Vendetta *cough*), but I’ve never really delved into the odd genre of literary graphic novels.That just changed. I picked up this graphic novel early last year, attracted by the beautiful artwork. But almost as soon as I opened it, I knew I had made a mistake. This was an incredibly dark story, and I wasn’t in the proper frame of mind to handle that level of darkness. Fast forward to yesterday. I decided I was in the mood to try Monstress one more time, and I consumed it. There is something about the balance of the exquisite art with the bleak story line that spoke to me and held me in its thrall until the final page, at which point I immediately sought out volume 2. I was blown away by the beauty of the artwork, and I was entranced by the dark plot and disturbing characters. The setting was lovely and scary at the same time, and I loved the hints of Eastern influence in the art.While I found it absolutely gorgeous, I can’t give the graphic novel 5 full stars. For me, some of the story was overpowered by the art, resulting in a weakened plot in certain areas. But its strengths far outweigh its weaknesses. The art reminded me a bit of the Miyazaki anime movie Princess Mononoke, which I’ve also found fascinating. The plot reminded me a bit of Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke & Bone series, which I absolutely love. And yet, Monstress stands out as a story completely unique and original, which I greatly appreciate. I will definitely be reading volume 2 of this story, as well as future volumes. It’s actually made me want to give other graphic novels another try. Should I finish the Saga series? Should I give Neil Gaiman’s Sandman another chance? I think the answer to both of those questions might be yes, thanks to Marjorie Liu.

  • Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
    2019-03-25 03:42

    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.

  • maymay ☕
    2019-04-05 03:51

    - Kippa is pure and needs to be wrapped in a blanket 25/7 - The book is fricken messed up- The art is so beautiful, I sometimes forgot the plot and just stare at the artwork - The images will haunt my nightmares forever - So much gore dud, im just a little baby- The plot is interesting, maybe if it didn’t progress into a twisted, disturbing plot, I would have enjoyed it more2.5 stars ?? idk