Review: Monstress Vol. 1: Awakening by Majorie M. Liu || How do I even describe this amazing thing that I just read?

Monstress Vol. 1: Awakening

Majorie M. Liu

Illustrator: Sana Takeda

book review 55

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. 

Publisher: Image Comics

Published: July 19th 2016



Trigger Warning





Child and Animal Slavery/Abuse, Blood, Gore, Mutilation, Unwilling Experimentation

I don’t even know how to describe this plot. A girl looking for answers? A monster is inside her? Missing memories? A war between two races? This is one you have to experience yourself. And I highly encourage it. I laughed, I was horrified, I was entertained.

This world was gory and brutal and dark. Yet the art style made it strangely beautiful? It was soft yet striking at the same time? (Okay, I’ll shut up now). But the portrayal of multiple sides of the war, seeing the different motivations of each sector involved, the length these people would go to, it was intense. 

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I won’t lie, for a while during reading, I was confused. So much was being introduced very quickly and it took a while to catch up. I was hit left and right with scenes that shocked the hell out of me. Mutilation, gore, child slavery and all of it was graphic. But damn it, I was into this story. It’s rare for everything as a whole to catch my interest and not just the characters.

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However, these characters were so very intriguing. The morally grey, the outright villainous, even the naive all kept my attention. They had me reading this volume at the pace of a snail just so I wouldn’t miss anything (as well as the art style, but we already talked about that). Maika as our disabled (she’s missing an arm) main character was someone who stayed ambiguous yet rootable at the same time. We’re learning with her and her morally grey actions had me supporting her. I was especially interested in her dynamic with the… thing that’s inside of her. I have high hopes that this will be a journey and the end will be full of respect and friendship (the friendship thing is kind of stretching, I won’t lie).

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And as much of a page stealer Maika was, all of the side characters were,too. We have queer side characters, bystanders, Kippa ❤ While I was writing my notes, they were full of me saying Kippa is so cute over and over again. Because she is. The cutest thing. Ever.

This is only the first volume, so I’m expecting to delve into these characters and this world more. Especially Rusak… I want him to be an ally… And a bit more in depth look into how things got to where they are now. But for now, I am here for this story and I want them to be happy—again, I’m reaching let me reach.

18 thoughts on “Review: Monstress Vol. 1: Awakening by Majorie M. Liu || How do I even describe this amazing thing that I just read?”

  1. I have heard so many amazing things about this graphic novel! I’m glad to see you enjoyed it as well. I definitely plan on picking it up in the future. 😀 Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ohhh I really really want to read Monstress! I’m glad you enjoyed it. I’m also glad that there’s some cuteness in the form of Kippa! (Not that I mind blood and gore, it can just get a little overwhelmingly GRIM sometimes!)

    Liked by 1 person

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