A dark fantasy that heralds the start of a thrilling new series, Monstress Vol. 1: Awakening by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda is a stunningly beautiful graphic novel that tells a heartrending and epic story. The story utilizes a mix of Asian mythologies and ancient Egyptian motifs to create a rich and layered world that Takeda’s art brings to beautiful life. The world is matriarchal and the bulk of the characters, heroes, villians, and those in between, are powerful and deadly women, often with rich and layered backstories. Monstress imagines a world that is at once completely different from our own, yet still hauntingly familiar. The power of this graphic novel is difficult to convey as both the story and artwork contain multitudes of layers that enrich the story and add complexity. Monstress is a tale of vengeance, redemption, horror, tragedy, friendship, shattered gods, magic, myth, and monsters all braided together into an exquisite graphic novel.
Set after a horrific war between humans and animal hybrids called Arcanics, Monstress begins with a simple quest for revenge, and expands page by page. The main character, Maika Halfwolf, survived the war, but was terribly injured. She poses as a prisoner to infiltrate a temple controlled by the Cumaea, a religious-magical order of humans that experiment on and extract powerful magical compounds from the bodies of Arcanics. Maika is no ordinary girl though, and possessed with a terrible power she gained in the war, she escapes her prison, frees as many prisoners as possible, and massacres the temple inhabitants. As she leaves, she steals a stone fragment that is far more than it appears and finds herself drawn deeper and deeper into a web of magic, self-discovery, forgotten gods, intrigue, and renewed war.
A vibrant and enthralling story that will bring readers back again and again as they mine more from each visit to Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda’s richly envisioned and enrapturing world. Suggested for mature readers, ages 14 and up.