ARC Review: Monstress, Vol. 1

Monstress, Vol. 1
Monstress, Vol. 1 by Marjorie M. Liu
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Release date: July 19, 2016

The first thing that drew me to this book was the beautiful artwork – so detailed, brilliant color scheme, and that art deco style lush with gorgeous costumes, headgear and slight manga-like influences. The story revolves around Maika, who is an Archanic out to infiltrate the Cumean nuns of the human federation, who enslave and capture Archanics for their parts. She wants to find out the events of a decade ago, when a horrific battle had left both sides shocked and scrambling for a truce. She herself is afraid of the monster lurking within her, which has now awakened, and searching for answers is leading her into all sorts of danger.

More fantasy than alternate history or steampunk, the story unfolds in parts, which might be a bit confusing in the start when you don’t have knowledge of the world, but at mid-way point when the world structure falls into place, it is worth it. Maika’s struggles as a creature feared by everyone, but her own fearlessness about the ancient monster within her is something to watch. The world also is rendered in shades of reality – with bigotry, apartheid and propaganda playing a vital role in the progression of the plot. I would advise caution – though it has a teenage protagonist, there are scenes of gore, and brutality. Both sides of the collision have their own rules and their own evils, but there is also goodness in some. In conclusion, I am in awe of how this world and its characters were created and rendered.

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