Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening takes place in an alternate version of Asia, after a cataclysmic war between humans and their enemies the Arcanics. The Arcanics were defeated and the survivors were enslaved. The story follows Maika Halfwolf as she tries to discover what happened to her mother during the war, and struggles with her psychic link to a monster. This graphic novel has a fair amount of violence, so it’s not for the faint of heart.
The setting: The official description calls it steampunk, but that’s not obvious from the story, at least not yet. But so far it’s an interesting take on a complicated, war-torn society.
The pacing/plot: I thought it was a little too fast paced and it would have been improved by slowing down a bit. This volume throws a lot of stuff at the reader, so I would have liked a bit more explanation.
Characters: Maika is a vivid character and I would like to know more about her, but I am not that enthusiastic about the secondary cast yet. Maybe I will change my mind when I read the other volumes.
Art: I loved the intricate art! It’s perfect for this kind of setting. You can view some of it at Sana Takeda’s website.