Review: Monstress Volume 1: Awakening - Marjorie Liu

I got a copy of this graphic novel via Netgalley for free in an exchange for an honest review, so here's my review!
Thank you Diamond Book Distributors!

Title: Monstress Volume 1: Awakening (MONSTRESS #1-6)
Author: Marjorie Liu
Art by: Sana Takeda
Published by: Diamond Book Distributors
Pages: 192
ISBN: 9781632157096

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.

Monstress Volume 1: Awakening caught my eyes because of the sentence "Set in an alternate matriarchal 1900's Asia", and also because of the astonishing artwork that Sana Takeda did.
Sadly I didn't see a lot of historical references but I should had expected since it clearly says "alternate". Despite that, the artwork was beautiful and I couldn't love it more!

I am not the biggest fan of graphic novels because, in my opinion, they usually lack in the world building department and I never truly relate with the characters.
With that said, Monstress Vol.1 was a bit of a disappointment but also a good surprise.

Let's start with why it was a good surprise.
It's true that it took me some time to understand the world and the different concepts of it, but eventually I did and actually liked how the world was presented and the background of it. I only wish that it could had been better, and sooner, explained but it was still good.

The disappointing part were the characters. I could not connect with any of them, much less the main character, who was someone really dark and confusing.

I also think that there was too much violence and darkness in this graphic novel, which I wasn't expecting, and I didn't like it.

If I had to pick my favorite single issue it would have to be number 5, since it was the one that made me understand the world and the characters, and I only wish that number 5 had been number 1, so that my perspective of the story had been different right at the beginning of it.

I liked the ending and how everything turned out, but may I say that, in this graphic novel, the main character always saves everyone in a too-easy way? I wish there were more realistic parts.

To conclude, I liked Monstress Volume 1.
It was a great beginning of this story but there were a lot of things that could had been better developed: the characters, the explanation of the world and more realistic endings of the single issues. But the real problem I had with this graphic novel was that I didn't related with any of the characters or even the story itself... It's sad but I don't have any connection with Monstress.

Because of everything I just said, I decided to give Monstress Vol. 1: Awakening three stars on Goodreads, and I will probably not continue to read this series. I really don't care about what happens next.

Do I recommend this graphic novel?

Yes, but only if you like dark graphic novels with monsters and fantasy, and also if you don't mind violence.
This review was originally published on TheBooktarian in 27/07/2016.

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