Monstress by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takada // Mini Review

This fast-paced graphic novel set in an alternate 1900s Asia will definitely have you on the edge of your seat. With nearly an entire cast of female characters, Monstress explores the world of a young woman who’s slowly realizing that her mother left her with a little gift. This novel is atmospheric. The illustrations were moody and dark with many gorey depictions. It’s kind of wild because in one scene, you’ll see this massive eye-filled monster devouring lives like they were Tic-Tacs, but then the next scene features a cute fox kid and so many cats. It was a nice balm to the more gruesome aspects of the novel.

I also really liked the Maiko. It was obvious from the story that she’s experienced some pretty tough times in her life only to head into more trouble and even more difficult times. I definitely felt her confusion and wanted to reach into the book and help her, which is always a good sign that I’m liking the character. It was also the main driving force of me reading the book.

While Monstress was a beautifully drawn world filled with wild monsters and super cute cats with a ton of tails, I wanted more. A lot of explanation kind of happened while you were reading, so there wasn’t much explanation on why things were happening or the importance and significance of those situations. There were interludes throughout the story that made room to explain, but even those were a lot of information at one time. While I’m not adverse to being dropped into a scene right at the beginning (I honestly thought I missed a prequel or something), I need the life substance of world building to really get me into the story.

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