Five stars, read in September 2016.
Jesus. Where to start?? This book needs all the superlatives.
The artwork and the characters themselves are so beautiful it’s extravagant. The story is suspenseful and spectacularly violent. The protagonist is the most powerful, hardcore badass I’ve read in a long time; like Hannah from Rat Queens, only less friendly.
There’s a terrifying order of witch-nuns who seem to rule humanity. There is a tiny girl who is part fox, one of many who were the children of one human parent and an “ancient one”, and have become their own race. Interestingly, there are hardly any male characters in the book—where in the majority of books it seems women just don’t exist outside houses and inns, in this the reverse is true, and I love it. There’s no explanation given for that, no commentary, just a fully-stocked fantasy world with all the warriors, scientists, farmers, merchants, slave traders, soldiers, creatures, and monsters you could want.
Also, there are talking cats.
The world of Monstress is so well-constructed that I don’t want to leave it, no matter how horrifying it is at every turn (and it really, truly is. People are graphically enslaved, killed, dismembered, and eaten with regularity). I generally have trouble with this level of gore, so I’m not sure why I’m able to handle it where I couldn’t others—Pretty Deadly, for example, which I really wanted to read but couldn’t stomach. In any case, this volume is—blessedly—twice the size of most comic compilations, and I loved every page. I can’t wait for more to come.