Graphic Novel Review: Monstress, Vol. 1

Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening 
by Marjorie M. Liu (Writer), Sana Takeda (Artist), Rus Wooton (Letterer, Designer)

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

Source: Netgalley, Diamond Comic Distributors, Library (Expired galley)

Synopsis: Set in an alternate matriarchal 1900’s Asia, in a richly imagined world of art deco-inflected steampunk, 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.

My Review:

5 of 5 Stars

After reading this I regret having put it off for so long. One of the first things that stood out to me was the level of detail put into the artwork. I’ve found that a lot of graphic novels don’t feature a lot of intricate patterns, I assume because it can get cluttered quickly. Instead of feeling overwhelming the level of small and even intricate details meshed together to create an overall look. From an artistic perspective, I found myself wanting to stop reading to draw on numerous occasions. I was especially interested in the cross-hatched shading frequently used in the background.

As much as I found myself admiring the illustrations the story was equally fascinating. I found myself getting attached to characters quickly, even those I’d only seen briefly. Cass is the main character and while she’s incredible, my favorite was Kipp. I loved how both were portrayed both in the story and visually. The story itself is full of action and has a fairly quick pace. Like most graphic novels I’ve read it sort of dumped me into the middle of a world that I had to get used to fairly quickly. I didn’t feel lost for long however as many things are explained as the plot progresses.

Overall, I highly recommend this graphic novel even if you are only curious about the artwork. I know I’m going to be taking quite a bit of inspiration from some specific scenes as I explore my own creativity. That said, if you aren’t interested in being inspired artistically it’s still worth admiring both for art and a wonderful story. I’m looking forward to reading more as the rest of this series is released. Volume 2 is due to be released on July 6th according to GoodReads.


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