Select language, opens an overlay


Volume One, Awakening

Book - 2016
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Set in an alternate world of art deco beauty and steampunk horror, Monstress tells the epic story of Maika Halfwolf, a teenage survivor of a cataclysmic war between humans and their hated enemies, the Arcanics. In the face of oppression and terrible danger, Maika is both hunter and hunted, searching for answers about her mysterious past as those who seek to use her remain just one step behind and all the while, the monster within begins to awaken.
Publisher: Berkeley, CA : Image Comics, Inc., [2016]
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9781632157096
Call Number: GN LIU 2016
Characteristics: 192 unnumbered pages : chiefly color illustrations ; 26 cm


From Library Staff

An intriguing graphic novel featuring a tormented heroine, cute cat people, and ornate, almost art nouveau illustration, all set against a backdrop of cosmic horror.

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Feb 08, 2019

A little touch of Venom to an archaic steampunk matriarch. Exciting imagination and certainly deserves all the rewards it got.

Jan 20, 2019

This graphic novel is lovely, dark, and deep- but not for the faint of heart. The story is a bit of political intrigue, a bit of dark mythos, a bit of racial intolerance warfare, and a bit of outright magic. The setting is fantastical with some steampunk elements. The art is gorgeous- rich colors, high level of detail, beautiful themes. And that also means the gory bits are super gory. And the disturbing stuff (which isn't visual so much as plot) is visceral.

It was a fast read for me, because I was so enthralled with the story and the totally unlikeable MC and the totally fantastic supporting cast. The mystery just gets deeper and deeper as you go. But there were times I had to step back and 'woah', because the evil is also very, very evil.

Overall, I recommend it for fans of graphic novels that are fantastical, but who don't mind straight up horror elements.

Dec 22, 2018

Nominated for so many awards I've lost count and ranked in almost all the best graphic novels of 2018 lists; this story about a young woman learning to control the (literal) inner demon inside her is very moving. The artwork in this is breathtaking and the story will draw you in, be ready to be devoured by the same Monstress that enthralls the protagonist of this story.

JessicaGma Sep 12, 2018

The art is flawless and the story is quite gripping. Good and evil in this world aren't polar opposites, but merely gradations from viewpoints....Maika is an arcanic who survived the war waged against them by the witches, and will likely cause great trouble for them in the future. It's beautiful, dangerous, lush fantasy.

Dec 23, 2017

The art in this book is so beautiful and breathtaking.

And the world the story occupies seems to be so big and beautiful that I cannot wait to read more about it.

CMLibrary_ecrites Nov 05, 2017

This is an awesome story that is beautifully presented. I love the asian steampunk setting, it is really lovely. I will definitely be reading more in this series.

May 28, 2017

This female-focused high-fantasy comic is set in a richly detailed world where humans are at war with a strange race of magical animal-human hybrids. The gorgeous full colour artwork is breathtaking and fits the books dark themes almost perfectly. I especially loved the illustrations of the cute little fox girl who hugs her big fluffy tail whenever she's frightened. Oh, the sarcastically pompous talking cats are all fantastic characters too.

TSCPL_Miranda Dec 14, 2016

Beautifully illustrated. Fantastic world building. Unique, unpredictable, and absolutely immersive. I finished this in one evening and can't wait for the next installment!

Sep 18, 2016

I have mixed feelings about this hyped graphic novel. On the one hand, the art is beautiful, the complex world intriguing, side characters interesting, and by the end I was curious what would happen next, and where biracial author Liu was going with her exploited biracial magical people metaphor.

But I found it hard to invest in the central premise--protagonist Maika discovers a monster living inside her and fights to retain autonomy--given that Maika treats everyone she meets (including friends and innocents) so horribly; there's not enough contrast between her monstrous side and the rest of her. And the first half--which consists of Maika meeting interesting characters and graphically killing them--was a slog; I got sick of the fetishistic violence against women and didn't understand why we were spending so much time on disposable characters. (Come to find out there's an unsatisfying plot device that brings people back to life.) Some bad dialogue also jolted me out of the fantasy setting.

Liu is invested in women being just as violent and racist as anybody else, and while I agree the idea feels really old-hat in 2016, especially in comics. It kept reminding me of other similar stories, despite the originality of the setting, and generally all the "dark and edgy" elements--like all the female relationship being undermined by betrayals--felt more cliche than revolutionary. But I'll read the next volume to see where the story and characters go.

Sep 07, 2016

I was really excited to try this after I found out it was available, but it was a major disappointment. I didn't like any of the characters, thus I didn't care about what happened to them. It was so boring it took several attempts for me to make it to the point where I just stopped reading, and I even skipped over some pages entirely. The story just fell flat. Also, I hated the artwork. Some of the pictures were quite beautiful, but I felt that the characters looked poorly rendered most of the time and there wasn't enough variation in the character designs to make the cast exciting on a visual level. So for me personally, this book failed on every level.


Add Age Suitability
Sep 12, 2017

SFaugno thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at MCL

To Top