Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening by Marjorie M. Liu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Diamond Distributors
Publication Date: July 19th, 2016
Publisher: Image Comics
Recommended Age: 14+
Genres & Themes: Comics, Fantasy, War, Power, Magic, Adventure, Action
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.
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.
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