Author: Marjorie M Liu
Illustrator: Sana Takeda
Genre: Graphic Novel/Comic Book
Release Date: December 9, 2015
Publisher: Image Comics
Steampunk meets Kaiju in this original fantasy epic for mature readers, as young Maika risks everything to control her psychic link with a monster of tremendous power, placing her in the center of a devastating war between human and otherworldly forces.
Monstress is the first graphic novel/comic book that I've ever read - let alone reviewed. I'm always looking to expand my reading horizons, so I was excited to finally give the genre a go. I had no idea what to expect, so I guess that's both a good and bad thing. The novel is the first in a series and follows Maika - a young human-looking monster who has just been sold to a notorious group of nuns that even the bad men stay away from. Maika possesses a lot of magic, which she uses in the story to save herself and some other fellow monsters from a horrific fate. We don't know very much about any of the characters - for example, Maika has only a partial left arm, but we aren't told what happened to her. The setting for the story is an intense fantasy/dystopian world that has recently been at war. Not sure what the war was over or who all was involved - more information left out of the story.
This being my first graphic novel, I wasn't sure what to expect or look for in the artwork (or the story, for that matter). It's very intricately done with tons of tiny details that make it come alive while you read it. There isn't much color throughout the novel - it sticks mostly to darker shades of gray, brown, green, black, etc. This matches up perfectly with the story and the world that it takes place in. Although it wasn't done in bright colors, the illustrations were beautiful in their own way. There's definitely some gory violence that goes on during the story and the language was pretty rough at times too. These things didn't phase me - probably because I had no idea what to expect - but other readers should definitely be aware of them before picking it up.
Even though the story was vague and left me with more questions than anything, and the illustrations were dreary but beautifully crafted - this was a strangely intense and enjoyable experience for me. I'm really interested in finding out more about everything - from the characters and their backstories to the world that the novel is set in, and where the story is going to go now. If I had to sum up my experience of reading this comic along with all of the aspects of it in one word, it would be UNIQUE (and I mean that in the best sort of way).