Thursday, July 7, 2016

Monstress Volume 1: Awakening Part 4 of 6 by Marjorie Liu, Sana Takeda

Rating: WORTHY!

While the art work continues to be remarkable (which is why this gets a 'worthy read' appellation), the story has begun to fall off somewhat. Initially it was full of mystery and promise and adventure, and while some of the mystery is being exposed, the story has begun to develop a meandering quality like it doesn't quite no where to go. I'm committed to finishing these six parts of volume one, but I am not enjoying this as much as I had hoped and expected to based on the early parts.

It has become difficult for me to figure out who is who and what they're after, and while sometimes that's not a bad thing, I think as this point, the lay of the land ought to have had a lot more clarification in this case. We keep meeting people and they're not often introduced properly for my taste, so I feel left in the dark rather more than I ought to feel by this place in the story.

This is a problem with writing - you may have the plot all mapped out and be intimately familiar with the characters, but your readers are never automatically so well-informed. Without some help they're never going to get to know them like you, the writer, does. Naturally this doesn't mean larding up an elegant story with a massive info-dump, but this graphic novel is quite wordy, so it's not like the writer is shy about telling the story. I just wish it was more informative.

What it looks like to me is that grown-up versions of our main characters (Maika and Kippa) are hunting for them. At first I thought we had leaped forward in time and these characters actually were the grown-up versions of the young ones we first met, but it soon became clear they're not. We meet a bunch of new characters, including a monkey guy and more multi-tailed cats, and we see Maika once again wrestle with her monster, but the story itself hasn't really moved in a couple of parts now. Maika is still int eh dark about what's going on, as is the reader, and it's becoming annoying. I'm recommending this one only because of the art and the fact that it's necessary to read this to get to the next part! For the art, it's a worthy read. The art really is wonderful.

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