Maika Halfwolf is on the run from a coalition of forces determined to control or destroy the powerful Monstrum that lives beneath her skin. But Maika still has a mission of her own: to discover the secrets of her late mother, Moriko.
Volume one introduced us to Maika Halfwolf, an Arcanic with a deadly monster living inside her who comes out to help with fights and feed when it needs to. After escaping a prison Maika and Kippa, a fox Arcanic, team together to figure out the mystery while on the run from those who want the monster inside her.
The book starts out with Maika returning to the place where she grew up, although she wouldn’t call it home. She and Kippa go through the house in search of anything that will answer the endless amount of questions building up. After threatening to lock Kippa in a room until she finds something, Kippa does point out an odd smell in the wall. Maika finds an old key with death upon it.
And that’s where this story kicks off. Maika goes in search of answers to the Isle of Bones from where the key comes.
I should also mention Maika’s been going out at night eating those in the town, meaning her control over the Monstrum is little to none.
Ripples in the Waves
Surprisingly, there are some in the world who are still on Maika’s side. The best way to get to an island is ask your Godfather Seizi, a sea captain and tiger Arcanic, for one of his ships. It’s been a while since they’ve been together and it’s relieving to see her break down even for a moment to someone who cares. Seizi isn’t the only family Maika has left either as we’re introduced to someone she may not even know.
Master Ren also comes back and not surprisingly, Maika is pissed he betrayed her. However, Ren made an oath to help Maika and he’s sticking to it.
On this journey Maika findsmore information on her mother and why she went to the Isle of Bones, a place few return from.
Saying Kippa is loyal is a far understatement. She follows Maika everyone and refuses to be seen as someone who can’t handle themselves. I have to say watching Kippa go from being scared of everything to mustering up some courage and becoming brave is perhaps my favorite development in the book. Even in the toughest of times Kippa is there to help Maika in all ways.
You can see the change in Maika when she’s around Kippa. Although that toughness is there, a part of her breaks away, and a caring side comes through. Even if it’s tough love, Maika cares.
Then there’s Master Ren who can be the most useful with his knowledge of the world, the Gods, and history. He’s able to pull Maika back before she tries something desperate, putting reason into her head, and making sure she thinks before she acts. Although this doesn’t always happen.
The crew sailing Maika to the Isle of Bones is a new set of characters we’re introduced to, but like many others their intentions are hazy. They have orders from Seizi to follow but feel Maika is a danger on board, and in a way, she is.
The Monstrum’s Past
We do discover how and why Maika has the Monstrum in her along with its past. When more information is given and even an old friend is brought forth, something makes you feel for it. As it looks further into Maika’s past, which isn’t nearly as great as you want to think, a part of the Monstrum we haven’t seen before, a sentimental side, tells its story.
Towards the end the two have to work together to survive a huge threat, but don’t assume the Monstrum changed. That may not be possible.
The Novel Itself
I can’t get enough of the artwork. It’s beautiful and I appreciate every detail that went into the design of the characters and their surroundings.
One of my personal favorite parts of these books is the lessons from Professor Tam Tam. Thankfully they’re still there and informing us about the information that would otherwise take away from Maika’s story.
Like the first novel there’s gore, swearing, and some nudity (although nothing is obscene.)
Questions are answered as Maika, Kippa, and Master Ren travel to an island they’re advised not to go to over and over again. Although outside forces are conspiring to take Maika down, and there are a few with their own agendas, she won’t go without a fight.
The ending creates a huge cliffhanger for the next book as we may find out who Maika’s father is.
Monstress is a journey I wasn’t expecting to get attached to, but I’m very much looking forward to the next book. There may be a lot of information to take in about the world, but it’s worth it when it gets more interesting. If you’re a fan of the first, I highly recommend this.