Two New Reviews From Our Local Book Reviewer

By Adventures in Obsessive Reading 

Monstress: Volume One Awakening
Author: Marjorie Liu
Illustrator: Sana Takeda
Page Count: 192
Rating: B
Keywords: Magic, Steampunk, Art Deco, Horror
Genre: Graphic Novel
Younger Readers: geared towards older readers, horror sequences, language, slight nudity

My favorite part about my birthday each year is getting new books. This was one such addition to my library. I’ve been eyeing this beauty for the past few months, hemming and hawing about whether or not I should buy it. Graphic novels are not a normal part of my reading. Curiosity paid off. My boyfriend snagged it off the shelf after watching me gazing at it longingly for a tad too long. 

Overall, I did enjoy this book far more than I expected. I tore through the 192 pages in a single evening. The mix of steampunk and art deco was absolutely gorgeous. There is plenty of art to keep your eyes satisfied in this one volume. Rich gold, shades of grey, rusty red, and dashes of dusky blue make up the main color scheme giving a clearly vintage feeling to the work. 

The storyline is mysterious and intriguing, leaving many questions unanswered at the end of this volume. Maika, the main character, is not immediately likable. She is more of a conflicted character. Oftentimes rude of her own free will and dangerous at the hands of the monster that resides within her. Kippa and Ren are my two favorite characters thus far, the curious fox child and watchful cat. They add a lightness much needed to contrast Maika’s unfailing seriousness. 

The excerpts at the end of each chapter from Professor Tam Tam, the multi-tailed cat, were a fun break from the heavy darkness of the main story and provided clear insight into the lore of this world. While the world building within the actual comic is interesting on its own, it may become too convoluted without these mini breaks.

Overall, I recommend checking this volume out. It is beautiful, intriguing, and mysterious. It was a strong first volume and I can’t wait to see where the story goes from here.

Author: Jay Kristoff
Page Count: 427
Keywords: Magic, Cats, Assassins, Love
Genre: Fantasy
Younger Readers: Not for young children. Sex, murder, and language all present

Taking a quick break from the never-ending struggle of trying to stay on top of grad school, I finished this book a couple of nights ago. IT WAS AMAZING. I literally called my fiance in the middle of the night screaming (as much as you can when a cold has stolen your voice) about how good this book was…he handled that phone call surprisingly well. 

I will admit that the first time I tried reading through this I just could not get into the style. Fiction with footnotes seems a bit odd and dense for a fun read. Especially when you’re trying to escape the reality of research methods and international relations theories…yay. However, this ended up being one of my all-time favorite reads. The writing was equal parts gorgeous descriptors and snarky humor. Characters were delightfully unpredictable and deep without dragging down the experience. Even when I hated a character, I still loved them. No parts of this book feel useless.

The world building was phenomenal. It felt as if Kristoff gave readers a taste of the world, leaving the edges blurry. One, this is great for the imagination. It was easy to fall into the world. Second, this leaves the series open for some massive developments. Which is why I immediately purchased book two in the series, Godsgrave.

If you are interested in fantasy, assassins, betrayal, and general sarcasm I highly recommend running out to pick up this book. If you’ve tried to read this in the past, maybe give it another go. It took me a year from purchasing this book to finish it. Why did I wait so long?!