Friday, August 5, 2016

Graphic Novel ARC Review: Awakening (Monstress, Vol. 1)

Author: Marjorie Liu
Artist: Sana Tekada
Edition: eGalley courtesy of Edelweiss
Release Date: July 19th, 2016
Rating: 3.5 Stars
I have been excited for this series ever since I saw the first issue released. I actually bought that first issue digitally, but I never got the chance to pounce on it, so I was even more excited when I saw this on Edelweiss.

I received Monstress Volume One from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!

Monstress is about a girl named Maika who has something she doesn't understand inside of her.  What she wants are answers- which means she has to get herself enslaved and into the middle of enemy territory.  Of course, she also needs to escape again...

When I started reading this I was swept off my feet!  The art is gorgeous (really, really wonderful stuff!) and the story starts by hurling you into a rich world with well defined characters and a unique story.  I was enchanted by everything, and even if I didn't know what half of it meant, I was enjoying the ride.

And then the ride got a tad too long.  The world is so full that every page had one new term or another, which is fine as long as there's something "normal" too touch base with, whether it's the art or another term that connects things.  Eventually there were small snippets that helped describe the world and the different races and the politics but for me they came too few too late and I was lost swimming in what felt like an ocean.  It really threw me off and made it hard to enjoy when I so confused for huge stretches of time.

Eventually I did figure it out (but it wasn't until the final two or three chapters) and I got back to enjoying the whole thing.  It really is an incredible story and, even better (at least for me) it focuses on female characters and depicts them super well!  As much as I love fantasy (and graphic novels) I have noticed how sometimes there just aren't enough women and while this has really been something that's been working on getting fixed lately (thank god for YA, which I credit for putting women back into literature and fantasy in particular) Monstress takes it into a whole other level.  Not only does it feature two pretty badass girls front and center but it's set in a matriarchal world which is such a great change.  Most of the characters, actually, are women and I love that so much!

This definitely isn't everyone's cup of tea but if you get the chance to pick it up I really do recommend it.  While it is confusing, I recommend skipping ahead (but don't worry, no spoilers) and checking out the pages that explain the world itself.  It will make the whole experience so much better and I promise you won't regret it!


  1. It seems like I've been seeing this one all over the place - I'll have to look for it!

    1. It's really dark but it's really really good and totally immersive (which does make it confusing...) I think you'll like it


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