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Monstress Volume 2: The Blood Paperback – July 11, 2017
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Top customer reviews
Marjorie Liu has done an admirable job in building a beautiful fantasy world with a well thought out history, wondrous places, and many different factions. At the end of each volume is a map that one can (needs to) refer to in order to understand the locations and sides. The artwork is meticulously and lushly rendered. My only ding on this (from 5 to 4.5 stars) is that there are so many different factions within the various alliances that have been introduced quite quickly that one can't process all of it accurately and deeply during the first reading. That may be an unfair hit though, as many of the great fantasy worlds are great because multiple readings/viewings enhance and enrich the experience.
Liu's work is dominated by female characters, but it isn't a political or social commentary on life in the 21st century. It is just a wonderful story that happens to have strong female leads. This is most welcome. Marvel comics, in particular, has been accused by some as pushing diversity for sales/diversity sake. Having more diverse characters is a good thing, but even more important is having quality stories. I brought this up to Junot Diaz, a friend of Ms. Liu's (fellow current Bostonian and also winner of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize), at an event at a local college last year. Mr. Diaz replied to the effect (I'm paraphrasing), "Part of the privilege white people enjoy is the ability to produce crap and keep doing it. When minorities produce crap, they don't get a second chance. In order to have quality work, we need to sift through a lot of crap."
Ms. Liu's work is outstanding. Some will look at it as the work of a female or minority writer, while others will say it is the work of a comic writer. Regardless of your political/social leanings, you will probably find that you appreciate the dialogue, enjoy the well-rounded and complex characters, admire the art, and are kept interested in the intricate and progressive plot. This is probably the fictional comic of the moment, more so than other great contemporaries such as Saga, Injection or Manifest Destiny.
My first comment would be, if at all possible, read this as close to having finished volume one as possible. I had a couple of weeks between finishing each book and in that time a few details and names escaped me, which made the intricate structure of the world harder to sink back into.
Further comments would be about the information we learn as Maika travels with Kippa and Ren to the Isle of Bones, following the trail her mother made years ago in search of arcane knowledge. More is revealed about Maika's family, including her mother and her aunt, a member of one of the Courts that now hunt Maika because of the monster (see also: weapon) inside of her. A grandmother was even revealed: the Queen of Wolves, first introduced in volume one if memory serves. Now, however, we see just how precious Maika and her mother were to the Wolf Queen.
There's also some development in regards to the creature inside of Maika and how it came to be in this world and inhabit those of Maika's bloodline, all the way back to the Shaman Empress. It was interesting to see the memories of this creature because for the most part, we've been led to believe through its actions that it is evil. These flashbacks made me question whether what we've been shown so far is 100% true in terms of its moral polarity.
To sum up: the continuing journey of Maika Halfwolf let on some new information about old friends/foes/and otherwise. There's treachery running through her story and it's not always from who she thinks it is. There's a lot of room to continue, and hopefully solve, a lot of the problems Maika is facing in future volumes. Again, though, I would highly suggest reading the volumes as close together as possible, or even rereading the preceding volumes, in order to keep the characters and their respective grievances clear in your head.
I received a copy of Monstress: The Blood from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Image Comics allowed me to read this book for review (thank you). It has been published and you can get a copy now.
Sana Taleda did the artwork and that alone makes it worth the price of the book. The illustrations are luscious (even the graphic death scenes) and it adds to the story line.
Maika is determined to find out why she's part monster and just exactly who she is. What she finds out is that everyone is after her and none of them want her alive.
This is a fantasy story that goes beyond the earth. There are gods, creatures of the sea, witches, cat and fox people and more in the story. She visits a forbidden island and sees more people die. Yet she keeps searching. The worst part is the closer she gets to the answer, the more questions she has and the more danger she faces.
This is a haunting read that stays with you after you've finished the book...