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Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening

(Monstress #1)

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  57,119 ratings  ·  6,532 reviews
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 p ...more
Paperback, 202 pages
Published July 19th 2016 by Image Comics
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Kara Jorgensen
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Average rating 3.96  · 
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 ·  57,119 ratings  ·  6,532 reviews

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Jesse (JesseTheReader)
The artwork in this series is UNREAL. The story over all was a bit hard to follow at times as there is so much going on both plot wise and with the world itself. You're kind of plopped into the story and left to put all the pieces together yourself so it's a good thing I enjoy a challenge like that! I'm excited to see where the story ends up in the next volume. ...more
Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁
5/3/18 - ON SALE for $3.99:

Updated review:


*giggle snorts*

Rereading is often a humbling experience . . . I've been forced to admit that my memory isn't what it once was, and never is that more apparent then after a reread. *kicks aluminum can*

I won't bore you with all the things I'd forgotten, but there were a few things that made a bigger impact this time around:

(view spoiler)
[2021 reread] i'm still so in love, still an all-time favorite.

[2017 first read] I loved absolutely everything about this graphic novel. To date, it is by far the best graphic novel I have ever read, and even surpasses my love for Saga. I am completely blown away, and will count down the days until Vol. 2 releases (June 6th, 2017).

This story follows a seventeen year old girl named Maika, whose story starts out where she is being sold as a slave. The reader will immediately notice that Maika has
Sep 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
If, prior to reading this, someone said to me, Wanna read a comic that's loosely classified as a Steampunk Fantasy?
Well, I would have politely (and slowly) backed away from them while turning the offer down in no uncertain terms. I mean, is Steampunk even still a thing?
I remember it was all the rage there for a while, and then it just seemed to peter out of vogue -kinda like sparkly vampires and shirtless werewolves.
For those of you who may love and/or live this genre, please d
Oct 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gorgeous epic steampunk fantasy done in graphic novel form.

I don’t usually post reviews for graphic novels unless I found something special; Monstress is definitely special. Both manga and graphic novel are a form of storytelling materials that required pictures, they may be similar in this regard but they’re actually very distinct from each other. I, as a huge devourer of manga for more than twenty years and counting, rarely impressed by graphic novels or comics, not that they’re inferior, just
Dec 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites-2016
Beautiful art, a unique world with gods, humans, and something in between, fearsome magic, political intrigue to rival any epic fantasy, a plethora of formidable female characters... oh.. and magical talking cats... what more could one possibly ask for?

This series is setting up to be an epic masterpiece. There is a lot going on in this first volume, so I can't wait to re-read it and discover even more.

2021: this still remains amazing on reread and I’m glad to be back in this world
Sean Barrs
The visuals in this comic are great; it’s dark and steam punk themed. It’s all rather cool and the action scenes are illustrated brilliantly. It even has a special race of fighting cats that are so ridiculously bad ass; yet, for all that, I found the whole thing quite confusing.

There’s a lot of history with this comic book, which is fine, but I don’t feel like its very well established. There are brief mentions of past events, but not enough details to establish their significance. I feel like
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
Okay I'm only going to put a few pictures because you can all scroll through the other reviewers and see more pictures. I don't like reviewing graphic novels because I never know exactly what to say.

This novel is about Maika Halfwolf and she has been trying to find her way for some time. She lost her mother and friends to a war. She lost one of her arms, but she has some kind of powers and she has a symbol on her chest that may or may not be the cause of this . . .

This novel is very dark but I
destiny ♡ howling libraries
Vol. 1: Awakening ★★★★★
Vol. 2: The Blood ★★★★★
Vol. 3: Haven ★★★★★

When I originally read Monstress, Vol. 1 a couple of years ago, I gave it 3.5 stars. I loved the artwork and the character designs, but had a hard time getting into the story, world-building, mythos, etc., and also really struggled through the tougher triggers (such as child trafficking, child abuse/torture/murder, assault, etc.). That said, this is the perfect example of why I update my reviews when I reread books: because, someti
Sean Gibson
Feb 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
After seeing the movie Con Air, I really needed to pee.

(What the f@#* does this have to do with Monstress?! Fair question, but calm down—I promise there’s a point to this.)

I walked out of the theater and, perhaps overcome by the emotion of Cameron Poe saving the day, stumbled into what I thought was the men’s room, only to be confused when I couldn’t find any urinals. I shrugged—this wacky theater, I thought—and walked into a stall, unzipped, and proceeded to divest myself of copious quantities
Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘

WINNER OF THE HUGO AWARDS 2017 for best Graphic Story

Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening was... weird, but dark and pretty good?

There's no hiding that the plot is convoluted... at best, and if there was such thing as a CONFUSING ALERT!, I would raise it instantly. Indeed Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening doesn't burden itself with simple details like chronological order and basic knowledge before throwing you in the meat of the (epic fantasy-like) action.

Keyword being : HUH?!

And then, there are these
Michael Finocchiaro
With great graphics, interesting but somewhat confusing story, and lots of grrrrl power, Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening packs a big punch. The story is kind of similar to The Stonekeeper and the monsters and such reminded me of Saga, Vol. 1 a bit while the cannibalism was sort of like The Walking Dead, Vol. 1: Days Gone Bye. I really enjoyed this volume and look forward to where they will tale the story in Monstress, Vol. 2: The Blood.

The story is essentially about how we make peace with our dark
Feb 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Here's something awesome for you. I'm a TOTAL pushover for great art, great nasty story, and MONSTERS INSIDE US.

I mean, I've read the whole Naruto series twice and that whole story arc of the kid with the nine-tailed demon fox living within him was all kinds of awesome. So why do I love Monstress?

The demon living inside her, of course. SOOOO COOL!

Really, though, the artwork is all kinds of amazing and the story kicks me in my bollocks. It's bloody, it's disturbing, it's setting us up for all kin
Jul 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Read this in one sitting. I do not usually read graphic novels but thought I would pick this one up... and it was amazing!
It had a great plot with lots of action and conflict, with a twist at the end (that was unexpected). The drawings of the characters were absolutely superb.

Little Fox (Kippa) was so cute!!! I loved her 💚
Caro (Bookaria)
This is a graphic novel with elements of fantasy, feminism, violence, and diversity.

The main character is a teenager named Maika searching for a past she doesn't remember. On her path she finds people, some are friends, some are enemies and she doesn't know who to trust. Maika is also struggling with a powerful and mysterious "thing" inside of her which threatens to take control.

The art is beautiful and very detailed, just look at the image below, it's one of my favorites in the book.

In the
3ish stars.

This is a good volume 1 with a cool, BA heroine (view spoiler) and some of the art, especially the issue covers and full-page panels, is pretty beautiful.

At first the story seems like your typical epic fantasy, race wars, magic, Chosen One. It ends up a lot stranger and creepier than that, which is a good thing. The heroine/monstress, Maika Halfwolf is super cool and not a typical heroine. Other interesting characters include cute little fox-girl Kip
Dec 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The second time around this was even more brilliant. Which is why I have upped the rating.

Original review:
That was pretty brilliant. I really enjoyed this book but it did take me while to find my bearing in the world created (and, to be perfectly honest, I think I will have to re-read this at some point to really get everything). The authors just trust their readers to stay with them and to be patient while the story unfolds, told partly in flashbacks and never completely.

The art by Sana
Whitney Atkinson
This is probably the most beautiful art I've seen in a graphic novel to date, but beautiful art does not make up for incomprehensible plot. I've officially decided that I can't read sci-fi graphic novels because they don't give you enough time to learn the world or characters, and this was exactly that case. I read on just to see if I would eventually get a grasp of the characters and plot and world, but by the end of this, I still couldn't tell you what the conflict was or who the characters ar ...more
Trina (Between Chapters)
Sometimes I can have a hard time getting into fantasy comics because they have a short page count to introduce you to big worlds, and that was definitely the case here. My interest was so lukewarm with this one that I do not plan to continue this series. The story and characters are NOT bad by any means, this story in this format just didn't work for me personally. I'd love to see it as a movie or something though!

What I liked:
-The art.

-The main character is fierce and I want to know more about
Elle (ellexamines)
Wow, this was a lot of fun. The story is a bit confusing, I have to admit, but the super pretty art makes up for that.

Monstress takes place in an alternate steampunk-style Asia, focusing around multiple characters. There's Maika, our morally grey heroine. Plus her cat Master Ren, her younger friend Kippa, and her friend / maybe girlfriend Tuya. On the other side, we have the power couple Sophia and Atena.

This comic is well-written, well-paced, and entertaining as all hell. Monstress also hits
Jul 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
congratulations! semifinalist in goodreads' best graphic novels & comics category 2016!

ugh, i still need to review this one! dammit!
Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)
Mar 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ks, graphic-novels
4.0 Stars
This is an absolutely beautiful graphic novel with stunning, full-colour artwork and a diverse group of characters. The story is quite dark, filled with violent, bloody, and visceral scenes. I personally really enjoyed these elements of dark fantasy and horror. The intricacies of the world and societies were quite complicated which made for a slow, enjoyable read.
3.75 ⭐️

"To quote the poets... we're fucked."

Welcome to the world of magic and mayhem with wondrous visuals.

This dark and visually-stunning comics does not hold back on anything in its portrayal of wartime depravity. From slavery and torture to racism, cannibalism and coming to grips with postwar traumatic experiences.

It took me a while to really get into the story but I instantly fell in love with two things - the breathtaking artwork and the sweet and adorable little muffin, Kippa. 😍

Let's get
Michael || TheNeverendingTBR
Mar 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed Monstress - Volume One, the artwork is stunning, it's also very rich in dialogue, it has an engaging plot which I'm looking forward to continuing and finding out more about Maika Halfwolf; she's a interesting character and there's lots of potential here. ...more
Dave Schaafsma
A 2016 Goodreads comic of the year nominee, and much deserved, I would say. A couple of my (possibly more comics-experienced) Goodreads friends (males of our species) had not liked this series, so I held back for awhile. And I’m not a huge fantasy reader, and this looks like historical fantasy, which I have even less experience with, though it does look it comes with a side of something like steampunk, which I like. . . and there’s some horror in it, okay, good, then many many other friends like ...more
Book Riot Community
Even if this wasn’t an incredible piece of storytelling, the art alone in this graphic novel would have put it at the top of my list. Takeda’s steampunk art deco graphics are mind-meltingly beautiful and amazing. But Liu’s story of a girl in an alternate 1900s matriarchal Asia is worthy of such beauty. Maika is fighting the forces of darkness and evil (holy cats, such EVIL – this book definitely earns its ‘M’ rating) while also struggling with an actual monster inside her, whose agenda she hasn’ ...more
Jul 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A breathtaking new series. Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda are firing on all cylinders with this series. Takeda has taken the best of Eastern and Western comics and created an original world with a somewhat steampunk look mixed with the lands of fairy. An uneasy truce exists between humans and Archons (basically fairies). Humans have discovered an Archon's essence can be distilled down to give humans magic. Those on both sides are hunting for a teenage girl trying to control the elder god hidden in ...more
Oct 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Dear Heaven! Words fail me. I was impressed by many books over the years, but never as completely as I am with this. I'm flabberghasted, I'm in love, I still can't believe this exists.

The only reason I knew about this, was Neil Gaiman. Once again, one of my favourite authors pointed me towards a book I wouldn't want to miss under any circumstances.

The story is set in a fantasy world where there aren't only humans but also Ancients, Arcadians (half human and half Ancient), Old Gods and other cre
Aug 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Going with 4 STARS on this first volume of Monstress!

The illustrations in Monstress were wonderful and beautiful! The layout of the story was very confusing for me and I struggled in the beginning to understand the plot and circumstances that were going on with Maika Halfwolf.
By the end of this first addition, it made more sense. I still felt this could have been better with a different layout in the beginning in regards to the story and world building.

Maika Halfwolf is a teenage girl that share
Jun 04, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, comics
Three stars almost entirely for the pretty, pretty art. What you see on the cover is what you get, and it's gorgeously and beautifully detailed. It's a very nice book to look at. The story, on the other hand, is not as pretty. The reader is thrown in the deep end with very little background information. Sometimes that can work, but here, I was mostly just confused. It takes three issues to get a clear definition of what an Arcanic is, for example. It makes the first few issues more difficult to ...more
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New York Times bestselling and award-winning writer Marjorie Liu is best known for her fiction and comic books. She teaches comic book writing at MIT, and she leads a class on Popular Fiction at the Voices of Our Nation (VONA) workshop.

Ms. Liu is a highly celebrated comic book writer. Her extensive work with Marvel includes the bestselling Dark Wolverine series, NYX: No Way Home, X-23, and Black

Other books in the series

Monstress (7 books)
  • Monstress, Vol. 2: The Blood
  • Monstress, Vol. 3: Haven
  • Monstress, Vol. 4: The Chosen
  • Monstress, Vol. 5: Warchild
  • Monstress, Vol. 6: The Vow
  • Monstress, Vol. 7: Devourer

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