Monstress, Vol. 3: Haven by Marjorie M. Liu

“What happened once, will happen again…but in a different form. To become a future-teller, one needs only to study history.”

4/5 stars.
ebook, 196 pages.
Read on July 12, 2020.

The cryptic saga continues in Monstress Vol. 3. I read this in one sitting but I slightly regret doing so and may place this volume on my re-read list. 

This particular volume focuses heavily on the Old Gods, which as we’ve learned from previous volumes is what the entity that lives within Maika and his name is Zinn. Zinn betrayed the Shaman Empress, of which Maika is believed to be connected to and much of the plot focuses on this lore. As a reader, you somewhat expect to get more information on what is starting to unfold but the you’re often left with more questions as some aspects of the the lore and plot are quite cryptic.

Further, the Cumea and the Dusk Court are both out looking for Maika because of her connections with the Old Gods, and an impending war between the two sides looms again.  Maika and Kippa finds themselves in a city called Pontus, in which we learn that the city managed to stay safe during the last war due to a piece of armor that shielded the city. Unfortunately it is broken and knowing that a war is likely occur soon, Maika gets recruited by the city to help repair it. Kippa leaves and goes her own way shortly after this occurrence leaving Maika wondering about her connections to the people around her and how she has lived in survival mode for so long. Maika also comes to learn that she is not the only one with an Old God inside of her…

There is a lot to take in with this volume, it’s almost overwhelming, even more so than the first two volumes. However, it’s hard to complain when the artwork is so stunning and details such a visceral picture. Even though the lore is expansive in this volume, as a reader you start to really piece all the histories together to get a firmer grasp on this story and setting. I am looking forward to what awaits in the next volume. 


The Dragon Head of Hong Kong by Ian Hamilton

Ava Lee displays some remarkable skills and feats that don’t go unnoticed by the leader of the people she is working with but who is this Dragon-Head leader?

4/5 stars.
ebook,  166 pages.
Read from August 4 to August 9, 2020.

I stumbled across this read while browsing the Kobo store one day and was intrigued by the title and description. I’ve been in living in Hong Kong for nearly five years now and I love to read and watch films that are set here, finding thrill at recognizing the cities landmarks and skyline. While I don’t read a lot of mystery or action based books, I really enjoyed the prequel to this series and anticipate reading the next volume.

Ava Lee is an ambitious forensic accountant that recently opened her own firm after struggling to work for someone else. It’s boring work but the work and the firm is her own and she can do things as she sees fit. Ava Lee is a Hong Kong born Canadian, raised by her mother in Canada with her wealthy businessman father remaining in Hong Kong. Ava Lee gets a strange proposition from a very desperate friend if the family who has found himself swindled out of a $1 million CAD. Reluctant to take the seemingly impossible job, Ava Lee agrees to it on her mother’s insistence as well as her own intrigue for adventure. After arriving in Hong Kong, Ava Lee quickly finds herself tracking this scammer across the border in Shenzhen where she meets some scrupulous characters to help her catch the fraud. Ava Lee displays some remarkable skills and feats that don’t go unnoticed by the leader of the people she is working with but who is this Dragon-Head leader? Unsure of whether or not her immediate alliance is to be trusted, Ava Lee still must capture the scammer and return the money to its rightful owner.

One of my favourite aspects of this book was the descriptions of Hong Kong, as it’s clear this is a place the author knows well. I could see and recognize the streets, smells and sounds of the streets as Ava Lee walked through them.  I also found myself quite captivated by Ava Lee’s character and enjoyed the author’s easy and visual writing style. I also captivating by the story build up and I am very interested to see where the next part of Ava’s story goes.

I’d recommend this book to anyone who loves mystery or action based novels or anyone familiar with or interested in the wonderful city of Hong Kong.

Monstress, Vol 2: The Blood by Marjorie M. Liu

I went head first into this volume with high expectations, thankfully I had no reason to be concerned.

4/5 stars.
ebook, 156 pages.
Read from July 10, 2020 to July 14, 2020.

After quickly devouring the first volume, I went head first into this volume with high expectations, thankfully I had no reason to be concerned.

After attempting to control the demon-being within her, Maika has sacrificed the remaining parts of her arm but without much luck. In the previous volume, Maika believes she has extracted revenge for the death of her mother and then decides to continue down the path to see what her mother knew about this demon that is living inside of her and the Arcanic symbol she bares. With the help of a relative and some new found pirate friends Maika is able to travel to the dangerous Isle of Bones. She comes to learn about the power a Shamanic Empress that had once terrified Arcanics and humans a like, a power which is still being sought…

For the first time, you start to get a glimpse past Maika’s hard and unmoving exterior and being to see the trauma that she has endured. You get brief glimpses in to Maika’s past and family life with the story slowly builds. It is difficult to watch how Maika treats the young Kippa, who is a gentle and giving character who started following Maika in the last volume after being rescued from slavery. Maika is cruel and in all appearances indifferent to Kippa, even though deep down she cares. Maika is likely mirroring the relationship with er mother and is afraid to make deep connections and friendships.

This volume is a slow burner that leaves you wanting to jump right into the next volume (which I did). The only issue I had with this volume was the same as the first volume, you’re literally drowning in lore. It’s great but it is difficult to take in at times.