With graphic novels, you can unashamedly say that you bought a book based entirely on its cover. What intrigued me about the cover of Monstress was the stunningly beautiful artwork juxtaposed with the title, which clearly implied something, well, monstrous. What’s inside is a beautifully written high fantasy story that blends Eastern and Western art and deals with issues like war, racism, and slavery and also features wonderfully complex female characters.
The story is centered around Maika Halfwolf an Arcanics. Arcanics are human-animal hybrids who are sold as slaves to Federation of Man or experimented on by the Cumea who mine their natural magic for strength. Maika allows herself to be sold to the Cumea so that she can take revenge for her dead mother. Naturally things don’t go exactly as planned and several major plot points are set in motion as various factions of the humans and the Arcanics feel the effects of Maika’s actions.
I said this in a prior interview regarding Code Name Verity, but the same thing applies to Monstress. If anyone ever tries to tell you that graphic novels aren’t real art, get a hardcover copy of this book and beat them about the head with it.